Building on Our Strengths

A new institution-wide strategic plan maps our path to 2020 and beyond.

“When people ask me what our new strategic plan is all about,” says Rob Kugler, Paul S. Wright Professor of Christian Studies and director of strategic initiatives, “I have one thing to say: Student success. It’s that simple. And always focusing on what’s best for our students ensures that we’ll implement the plan.”

Last October the Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the institution-wide strategic plan as part of a process designed, said President Barry Glassner, “to expand our impact and influence regionally, nationally, and globally over the decade.”

Read the Full Plan

Visit the Strategic Plan website to download a PDF of the plan or request that a printed copy be mailed to you. You can also obtain a copy by calling the president’s office at 503-768-7686. Your involvement in the implementation will ensure the best possible future for Lewis & Clark. Thanks for joining us on our journey forward.

“Our community thrives with intelligence and imagination, with the capacity to see beyond present circumstances,” the president said. “Now is our time to build on Lewis & Clark’s great strengths so that we truly become one of the best and most highly regarded institutions of higher learning in the nation. This plan leads the way.”

Getting to the Starting Point

The path to The Journey Forward: A Lewis & Clark Strategic Plan for 2020 formally began in May 2011 when President Glassner appointed Kugler—who graduated from the college in 1979 and has taught here since 2002—to coordinate the planning process.

The president then convened an 11-member task force of faculty, trustees, alumni, students, and staff representing all three schools. This core group identified cross-school strengths that could be focused into areas of national distinction. Their work coalesced into strategic priorities that guided the next phase of the process.

Starting in November 2011, more than 70 people, selected from Lewis & Clark’s many constituencies, formed working groups to establish achievable goals. The president charged the working groups to reach out to a wide portion of the community, including alumni, to gather additional insights.

And he encouraged full and robust participation in the process, telling an assembly of faculty and staff, “Share your thoughts and ideas, your hopes and aspirations. Each of you has a voice, and I learned early that on this campus, people are not reluctant to speak their minds. That’s also one of our underlying and enduring strengths.”

Amelia Wilcox BA ’81, assistant professor with term in the psychology department and president of the Board of Alumni from 2009 through 2011, served on the initial planning task force as well as one of the working groups. She said, “There is nothing like collaborating with members of this community. From the first meeting, our focus has been on our students—what we offer them that is unique to Lewis & Clark, and what we can do to help them move forward successfully.”

The working groups delivered their reports on April 28, 2012. Kugler worked with committee members and conveners from each group throughout the summer to write the strategic plan.

In September the on-campus community received a draft, and additional comments were gathered before the final plan was approved by the Board of Trustees on October 26.

Highlights of the Plan

Although the plan is comprehensive in scope, Rob Kugler summarized its key priorities as follows:

  1. To educate people for life and leadership in an interdependent international and environmental context.
  2. To be an institution to which people across the nation look for distinctive quality in higher education.
  3. To make Lewis & Clark known to an ever-expanding circle of supporters and prospective students and their families.

The plan also identifies specific actions that Lewis & Clark will take to achieve its goals. Examples include the following:

  1. To deepen the capacity of students in the College of Arts and Sciences for leadership, innovation, risk taking, adaptation, and teamwork, we will launch a program in entrepreneurship.
  2. To strengthen all three schools, we will develop productive faculty and student collaborations across our schools and expedited pathways for students between the degree programs of the three schools.
  3. To best reflect the world in which our graduates live and work and the social environment we want forourselves and for our students, we will increase the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff.

Wilcox noted, “The strategic plan is informed by the core strengths of the liberal arts, and it provides a platform for addressing the demands of a changing world. The emerging entrepreneurship program is a great example of this. It will enable students to collaborate and innovate with faculty and alumni. It will help our students experience the practical power of their liberal arts education.”

From Aspiration to Action

President Glassner made it clear from the start that the planning process was not designed to produce a wish list of unrealistic and unattainable goals. Following its approval, he said, “We will all play a part in ensuring that we meet the priorities of our plan.”

A newly established Strategic Planning Council, directed by Kugler and working with stakeholder groups across Lewis & Clark, will guide the plan’s implementation. The council will identify short-term and long-term goals and determine the specific resources, actions, timelines, and assessment measures required to meet each goal.

Said President Glassner, “We are now ready to advance into the upper reaches of higher education, and we have a plan to match our ambitions. With the support of our worldwide community, we will establish Lewis & Clark as ever more relevant and influential in the decades ahead. Now is the time to focus our strengths and marshal resources. The journey forward is ours to make.”

Strategic Plan website