SLRP II weeks away from complete

Recently, the Strategic Long-Range Plan (SLRP) subcommittee held an open forum in the Founders Gallery to discuss directions for the SLRP II plan.SLRP I had many initiatives, such as principled problem solving and the development of the Diversity Plan, but focused largely on institutional financial stewardship.

SLRP II, however, focuses on institutional goals and strategic outcomes for students.

Students and faculty sat in chairs forming a circle while SLRP II co-chair Jack Zerbe, professor of theater studies, and Jeff Favolise, assistant to the president for planning and management, explained the progress of the developing plan and the importance of full community participation.

Zerbe and Favolise explained the purpose of these forums was to engage the Guilford community in order to share and exchange ideas with students and faculty. They explained that this plan is still very fluid.

Zerbe said the anticipated strategic outcomes for students would be “to think critically, know globally, communicate effectively, create insightfully, engage responsibly, learn experientially, achieve personal and career goals, while respecting diversity.”

Some academic initiatives included in the plan are strengthening internships and study abroad programs, an advanced career center, a January term, and a stronger Center for Principled Problem Solving.

Favolise said that all the programs, especially the Center for Principled Problem Solving, highlight core values at Guilford. The Center for Principled Problem Solving applies Quaker core values to the world. SLRP II focuses on making values Guilford holds, like applying Quaker core values to working in world, more integrated into the college.

Patchouli Oerther, student committee member of the SLRP II, said another primary goal is to make the Guilford education more applicable to life outside of Guilford once students graduate.

Student representatives are chosen by the student body and the student governments. Some other student members of the committee and subcommittees are Trevor Corning, Nancy Klosteridis, and Victor Vincent.

Oerther noted a recent New York Times article that said college students often do not take jobs in the fields they studied while attending college.

“We want to put as much real-life focus into a Guilford education as we can,” Oerther said. “We want to prepare students for a lifetime of learning, for service, and for personal success, however graduates define that. he Quaker and liberal arts tradition is to focus on the whole person as well as all things practical.”

Ty Buckner, associate vice president for communications and marketing, said that SLRP is a road map that will guide Guilford well into the next decade.

“All other plans support the goals of the strategic plan,” said Buckner. “This includes the integrated marketing plan, which is designed to promote Guilford’s distinctiveness and raise the profile of the college in the eyes of prospective students, alumni and other supporters and constituent groups.”

Favolise said that once this plan is implemented, it will strengthen the college’s position in the marketplace, making Guilford a more competitive institution that would be more often a first-choice school. He said that placing emphasis on studying abroad and January terms would help attain that goal.

Some attending the forum, like Teresa Sanford, director of user services, wondered where funding for the plan would come from.

Favolise said the SLRP II was initially forming their plans without consideration of funding, which will be an important later concentration.

Those taking part in the forum also questioned how much consideration SLRP II gave to CCE students.

“I’m wondering if the needs of CCE students are being taken into consideration,” said Sanford.

Others at the forum voiced other needs of CCE students, like Gracie Harris, CCE outreach coordinator, who said CCE students are very interested in affordable campus housing either on campus grounds or within close walking distance.

“This will allow CCE students to (convert) travel time into study and research time,” Harris said, “as well as allowing convenience in accessibility to the many resources and activities on campus.”

The forums on SLRP II will continue through the spring and drafts will be provided to the community. The passage of SLRP II is tentatively slated for October 2010.

Open to all students and faculty, the final forum is on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. in the Founders Gallery.