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March 2013 Strategic Plan Update

Linfield’s 2012-18 Strategic Plan calls for integrating learning experiences, investing in faculty and academic programs, and improving access and affordability for students from all backgrounds. The college began to develop and implement initiatives last summer, and the process has continued in recent months with these initiatives, among others.

Increased support for student learning and faculty development

Linfield has long been a leader in providing opportunities for students to conduct publishable research with faculty, and the Strategic Plan calls for increasing the number of such projects.

Much of our current collaborative research is funded by external endowments that target specific disciplines. A $40,000 increase in the collaborative research budget will allow more flexibility and also allow more students to be involved.

More faculty and students will be able to participate in fieldwork and professional conferences thanks to an additional $50,000 in the 2013-14 faculty travel fund and $20,000 in the student travel fund, pending approval.

A $150,000 addition to the endowment has increased support for faculty development by 10 percent. This fund supports faculty in their positions as teacher-scholars through research and travel.

In addition to new endowed faculty positions in English and political science, new faculty positions in education and economics are anticipated, and other hires are being considered as well.

The Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE) was implemented this year, and will continue to be funded in the 2013-14 academic year. The project integrates learning through a campus-wide theme and shapes the development of classes, lectures, film series, service projects and other activities.

Commitment to sustainability strengthened

The college recently hired Duncan Reid ’10 to serve as environmental stewardship and sustainability assistant. Reid will support a culture of sustainability on campus. He will engage students in targeted green initiatives, provide assistance to faculty who seek to incorporate sustainability principles in the classroom and work with facilities personnel to help ensure that campus operations are aligned with sustainability practices.

Reid reports to John McKeegan, advisor to President Thomas L. Hellie and co-chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment and Sustainability (ACES). In 2011, President Hellie signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and Reid will work to ensure that we continue to move toward the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality. His position is a three-year appointment.

Reid graduated from Linfield with a degree in environmental policy. As a student, he played an integral role in the school’s sustainability effort, founding the student group Greenfield, the campus bike co-op and the student garden. Reid helped establish the sustainability grant fund and was appointed to ACES.

Facilities committee to develop strategic guidelines

A newly appointed Facilities Review Committee will help align campus planning with the Strategic Plan. Members will assess opportunities on both the McMinnville and Portland Campuses, and create a Strategic Facilities Guide that outlines recommendations for the physical infrastructure, provides the framework for capital planning, and helps articulate our aspirations. This guiding document is expected to serve a 6-10 year horizon.

The Strategic Plan calls for an increase in student enrollment and faculty on the McMinnville Campus, which may trigger the need for more office and residential space or a reorganization of existing spaces. Increased enrollment may also necessitate changes to offices that deliver services to students, as well as increased space for academic programs. Increasing needs for adequate classroom, lab and office spaces on the Portland Campus will be evaluated, and we anticipate a new science building on the McMinnville Campus at some point.

Our physical environment contributes to the recruitment and retention of students, and efforts are being made to enhance the campus environment. Fred Meyer Lounge was renovated this winter, to be followed by the bookstore this spring. Dillin Hall and Jazzman’s, which will become Starbucks, will both be renovated over the summer and reopen in the fall. Student Health Services, Counseling Services and the Student Wellness Center were realigned and combined into one physical location this winter. 

The committee, under the direction of Vice President for Finance and Administration Glenn Ford, has begun its work with a series of workshops.

First-year experience to be enhanced

A committee of faculty, administrators and a student has been formed to lay the groundwork for an enhanced first-year experience for Linfield students. The committee will take an open-ended look at all aspects of the freshman experience. Members seek to enhance, and perhaps reinvent, the first-year experience, developing a program that weaves together classroom and out-of-classroom activities in a seamless manner.

The committee will assess the effectiveness of existing programs, including Orientation, Colloquium, Inquiry Seminars, Jan Term for freshmen, and the popular “Take a Professor to Lunch” program, where first-year students take someone other than their primary advisor to coffee or lunch.

Several committee members attended an institute last summer about high impact education, with a focus on the first-year experience, and the formal committee will meet this month. This spring they will set goals, create potential models, and hold open forums for review and discussion. During the summer the group will finalize their recommendations and develop a timetable. The revised first-year experience will be offered to students as early as the fall of 2014.

Philanthropy working groups provide strategies to strengthen funding

Since approving the Strategic Plan in May 2012, the Board of Trustees has discussed which initiatives might best be achieved through increased philanthropic support, and President Hellie has appointed working groups in four different areas.   

Enhancing Access to a Linfield Education.

While Linfield provides significant scholarship support to students, many qualified students do not enroll for financial reasons. Colleges across the country are seeing significant changes in ethnic and racial demographics. This trend is transforming enrollment patterns at Linfield as well, with more first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students enrolling.

Trustees Michelle Giguere ’78 and Dick Withnell ’64 chair the committee that will seek new scholarship support for current and future Linfield students.

Supporting Outstanding Teacher-Scholars.

The college recognizes the relationship between effective teaching and professional development. Our global knowledge base is expanding at an exponential rate, we face ongoing advances in technology, and interdisciplinary collaborations are becoming standard. Our faculty must continually renew themselves to remain current, and this requires support.

The Strategic Plan calls for Linfield to increase support for students and faculty who undertake advanced scholarly work. Funds are sought for student-faculty collaborative research projects, student and faculty travel to professional conferences, and curriculum development. To attract and retain the best faculty, the college seeks to endow both existing and new positions in a variety of academic departments. The faculty support committee serves under the leadership of Trustee Dave Baca ’78.

Supporting Off-Campus Opportunities.

The Strategic Plan calls for an expansion of off-campus activities that nurture academic and personal growth and prepare students for professional opportunities.

During the past five years, almost 700 students completed internships off campus, many in the industry of their choice, and the college hopes to expand the number of opportunities, including some in other countries. A pilot project this year matches first-year students with alumni, who can serve as mentors and offer insights about college and life after college.

Trustee Tony Uphoff chairs the committee on experiential education and off-campus opportunities. Members have explored partnerships with local businesses and nonprofit organizations, and hope to attract stronger investment from alumni, parents and other supporters.

Enhancing the Sciences.

A 2012 report estimates that the U.S. will need to increase professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields by a third in order to fill available positions. At the same time, traditional boundaries within the sciences are breaking down, as our most pressing social and environmental problems require collaboration.

Linfield is uniquely situated to address these challenges and opportunities. We already have a culture of research-driven education, and some faculty have begun to model seamless interdisciplinary science.

Under the leadership of Trustee Kerry Carmody ’73, Linfield administrators and faculty in the sciences, technology and mathematics have been meeting since November and attended a day-long faculty retreat in February. Several curricular projects are in the early design phase.