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College begins revising existing strategic plan

By Alyssa Sanford
Staff Writer

Members of the College’s Strategic Planning and Resource Committee (SPARC) met with Student Government to evaluate the College’s mission statement and update it for the future at the general body meeting on Wednesday, March 25.

SPARC seeks to revise the existing strategic plan from two and a half years ago and present the new plan to the Board of Trustees in February 2016 for their vote of approval.

The new plan, if approved, will be implemented in fall 2016 and extend through 2021.

Jacqueline Taylor, co-chair of SPARC and provost of Academic Affairs, said that this plan is “the first, at least in a long time, articulated strategic plan that the College has had.”

“This is not to say that … we weren’t planning,” Taylor added. “We weren’t putting (the strategic plan) out in that way.”

Co-chair and psychology professor Shaun Wiley talked with SG members about what SPARC is looking for in the new mission, vision and core value statements before splitting the room into groups to brainstorm ideas and edits.

“We’re describing our institution (to) communicate (our values) outside the College,” Wiley said. The statements are meant to convey “who we are as a college… (and) who we are as TCNJ.”

The mission statement describes in “pretty high-level” terminology what the College offers as an institution, Wiley said. For instance, the College “challenges a diverse community of learners through a personalized, collaborative and rigorous education,” according to the statement as of Thursday, Feb. 19.

As for the vision statement, which Wiley said is more “future-oriented,” SPARC wants it to provide a sense of what the College will become.

Finally, Wiley asked SG members to brainstorm core values for the College. The Wednesday, March 4, draft includes words like “excellence,” “engagement,” “community,” “integrity” and “diversity,” for instance.

General body members worked intently on revisions for a significant portion of the meeting, discussing the rhetoric and accuracy of the statement’s language.

Taylor mentioned that the current plan was created “to get us through the Middle States review,” which was a success several weeks ago when the representatives came to the College from Monday, March 9, to Wednesday, March 11, for their “once-every-10-years accreditation visit.”

“They are lovin’ on us,” Taylor said of the Middle States commission with a grin. “We’re pretty proud.”

However, there is always room for improvement when it comes to refining the College’s goals and values. That’s why SPARC has reached out to faculty, staff and students through a series of meetings and open forums for contributions to the revision process.

SPARC is scheduled to hold an open forum on Wednesday, April 1, in room 212 of the Education Building from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to discuss the strategic plan with the campus community.

Following the presentation, President Matthew Wells called the general body meeting to order.

Vice President of Advancement Sarah Drozd announced a bake sale that will be held from Wednesday, April 8, to Friday, April 10. Proceeds will go toward the SG scholarship fund, which has reached 100 percent involvement among SG members and is within $4,000 of its fundraising goal.

The senior class council informed the general body that registration for Senior Week is live online and will remain open until Friday, April 3. Due to high demand, the senior class is capping registration at 600 students.

The sophomore class is hosting Mr. 2017 in the Brower Student Center at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1. Tickets are $3 leading up to the event and $5 at the door.

Additionally, freshman class President Ryan Cleary announced that Freshman Formal will be held on Saturday, April 18. Tickets cost $15 each, and there are only 250 tickets are available.

The freshman class is also selling ‘Peep-grams’ in the Brower Student Center. For a small fee, anyone can buy a box of Peeps and have them delivered to a friend on campus in the days leading up to the Easter and Passover holiday weekend. Sales end on Friday, April 3.

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