Colgate University Strategic Planning Updates
Colgate appoints faculty leaders for new residential learning communities
The hallmark of a Colgate education has always been the close and lasting connections that are formed between faculty and students — not only in the classroom, but also during faculty-led travel, research, and other co-curricular activities. Those connections are about to become even more ingrained in Colgate’s culture, with the introduction of a new system of faculty-led residential learning communities.
This comprehensive residential shift is the cornerstone of Colgate’s 2014–2019 Strategic Plan. Under the new system, by 2018 all first- and second-year students — as well as some upper-level students — will live in the halls on campus and in the annexes on Broad Street that are associated with the learning communities. The first community will launch next fall in Curtis and Drake halls, for 200 members each of the Classes of 2018 and 2019.
As planning continues in earnest, Colgate today named the initial faculty director teams, showing strong support across the curriculum for the new program. The announcement was made by Douglas Hicks, provost and dean of the faculty, and Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean of the college.
Professor Rebecca Shiner (psychology) and University Chaplain Mark Shiner will lead the first community. Appointed to help develop the venture and lead future communities are: Antonio Barrera (history and African and Latin American studies) and Pilar Meija Barrera (romance languages); Jeff Bary (physics and astronomy) and Mary Simonson (film and media studies and women’s studies); and Frank Frey (biology and environmental studies) and Brenda Frey (researcher in the Office of Institutional Advancement). The four pairs of faculty directors together will play a key role in designing the rollout and implementation of the program.
Rebecca and Mark Shiner, respectively, bring expertise in human development and well being, and a history of creating vibrant co-curricular programs at Colgate. We have “idealism about the power of living together well,” said Rebecca. Mark, who for his part had the “transformative experience of life in a well-ordered, purpose-driven college residence,” said he hopes to “help new students feel welcome and returning students feel part of something meaningful.”
Antonio and Pilar Barrera are drawn to the program because, they said, it fosters a creative response to college life. “For us this represents an opportunity to infuse with purpose, to inform and guide, a student centered Liberal Arts experience,” said Pilar. “We hope to be able to connect the right people, at the right time, in the right place, to create projects that promote a great Colgate experience.”
Together, the Barreras have led study groups to London and San Francisco. Antonio said, “From those experiences, we know how powerfully sharing a residential and academic space can shape the experience of students and faculty together.”
Bary volunteered to direct a future community because “By fostering interactions between faculty and students outside of the classroom, residential learning communities will blur the lines between the classroom and traditional living spaces,” he said. “As a result, I believe that they will strengthen the intellectual community at Colgate as a whole and help us to even better realize the goals of a liberal arts college.”
Simonson’s interest ties to her belief that Colgate has the need for more “open, accepting spaces.” She said, “I'm lucky to have an office in the Center for Women's Studies, where students and faculty regularly have casual conversations and get to know one another, debate about issues, brainstorm, and plan events. Some of my favorite events — and some of the most successful — are ones in which students have been integral in the planning process. As a leader of a community, I look forward to having more opportunities to support students in creating events that are exciting for the entire campus.”
Brenda and Frank Frey have co-led groups of students on academic programs on three continents. Having traveled to Uganda, Australia, and Wales, Brenda said, “I have witnessed students with vastly different backgrounds and interests connecting on a new level through a shared experience. The opportunity to foster this experiential connection within the larger Colgate community is exciting and adds to the unique experience of a liberal arts institution.”
Frank has worked with students in his research lab and the field, and also advised athletic programs and other student organizations. Most recently, he serves as the director for the Office of Undergraduate Studies. “My Colgate experience has been shaped by fostering academic communities outside of the traditional classroom,” he said. “Our shared classroom is everywhere, and the community we will build together will strengthen the Colgate experience for all.”
October 2014 Update
The Advisory and Planning Committee (APC) is concerned with institution-wide planning at Colgate. It is made up of appointed and elected members of the faculty and senior administrators staff and is chaired by the president. Last year, the APC wrote the framing document of the strategic plan that was approved by the faculty in November 2013 and by the Board of Trustees in January 2014. As work continues on the strategic plan, APC has committed itself to providing regular updates to the Colgate community on progress to date. Important information on the strategic plan may also be found at the strategic planning web site.
The following update follows the structure of the strategic plan framing document after a brief discussion of Colgate for All. APC welcome your questions and comments. Any communications to the committee may be sent to Ms. Claudia Caraher (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will respond as quickly as possible.
Colgate for All
Increased financial aid and other initiatives in the strategic plan seek to further diversify the campus and promote a robust and and inclusive student life. The steps agreed to at the conclusion of the student demonstration on September 26th (found at the new Colgate for All site) will enhance many of the strategic plan initiatives and provide new opportunities for Colgate to create an inclusive and healthy campus climate.
1 - A Need-Blind Admissions Policy
Colgate was able to add 15 budgeted financial aid slots when recruiting the class of 2018. The additional offers were one of the primary reasons why that class has the highest academic profile of any in Colgate's history. The average GPA is a 3.67, slightly better than last year's average of 3.66, a new record for an entering class. Our average enrolling SAT is 1371, easily a new record for Colgate and up 20 points from the final "move-in day" level last fall. Using the one through nine (one is the best) classifications developed by the Admission office, the average academic enrolling student is a 3.5. Last year it was 3.7, the year prior 3.8, and the year before that it was also 3.8. The increase in financial aid has helped promote our profile. As Colgate has increased the number of aid recipients over the last four years, the average GPA for that group rose from 3.6 to 3.67; the middle 50% on the GPA rose from 3.39--3.87 to 3.48--3.91. The average SAT rose from 1347 to 1371. The average academic rating decreased (which is favorable) from 4 to 3.5.
Partially again due to the increased financial aid offers, this class will be the most diverse in Colgate's history. Forty-five percent of the class is receiving aid, an all-time high percentage for Colgate. 29.7% identify as coming from a multicultural background, compared to the previous high of 27.4% in the Class of 2017.
A significant amount of analytic work is currently being undertaken to estimate the full cost of need-blind admissions under a variety of different economic scenarios. Efforts are also underway to assess future fund-raising possibilities for financial aid. The budgetary implications of increasing financial aid will be reviewed in the regular process of the Budget and Financial Planning Committee. The Board of Trustees will, as it noted in its January resolution approving the framing document of the strategic plan, make the final determination of when Colgate can declare itself need-blind.
Colgate has always recognized that need-blind will require the garnering of very significant resources and any eventual commitment will take time. However, in the meantime, the additional financial aid dollars that the school is able to raise provide opportunities for individual students who would not otherwise be able to come to Colgate and improve the academic profile of the class while raising diversity.
2 - A Dynamic Curriculum
Significant progress on implementation has been made on all four elements of the dynamic curriculum outlined in the strategic plan framing document.
Planning is on target towards a summer 2015 creation of a Center for International Programs, to be constructed in renovated space on the first floor of McGregory Hall. The CIP will house Off-Campus Study and the Lampert Institute and be a space for students planning for or returning from study abroad, as well as for any students interested in international or civic issues. Colgate is hosting the New York Six program coordinator of a $1.25 million internationalization grant from the Mellon Foundation. Associate Dean for International Initiatives Nicole Simpson is coordinating efforts toward the global partnerships made possible by the Lampert Endowment. Faculty in languages and literatures will continue working with Mary Ann Calo, Nicole Simpson, and others to discuss the place of languages in our curriculum. Following on the recommendation of the Learning and Teaching working group and the framing document, the AAB approved in principle a pilot policy regarding online transfer credit, within our current transfer policy; discussion of this pilot will go to the faculty as a whole and then back to the AAB for possible action this fall.
After consultation with the Faculty Affairs Committee, an ad hoc committee on edX to last no more than twenty-four months was formed in the spring, chaired by Doug Johnson. Dean/Provost Hicks accepted the committee's recommendation that Scott Kraly and Robert Garland will produce Colgate's first open-access, non-credit courses in the coming year. Other senior faculty offered strong proposals that may be developed into other non-credit courses and modules. Living Writers is live on the ColgateX platform this fall. The 'Gate Way modules on academic success at Colgate, for incoming students, are live on ColgateX. Colgate received a grant (approx. $100,000) from the Mellon Foundation for our partnership with Hamilton College, in collaboration with Davidson College and Wellesley College, in our experimentation in online technology. This will fund discussions among interested faculty at all four institutions, in support of our development of a consortial approach to integrating online resources into our residential liberal arts educational model.
The Upstate Institute and the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE) have launched course development grants for community-based learning modules. In addition, Chris Henke has been appointed the new faculty director of the Upstate Institute, to begin in summer 2015, with the encouragement to expand coordination efforts among Upstate, COVE, Sustainability, and other community outreach.
Doug Johnson is serving as faculty director of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research (CLTR). He has already set out to build a new team and expand support for faculty in teaching. Colgate has also hired a learning assessment coordinator to be housed in the CLTR, a new director of Academic Technologies in ITS, and a director of the Keck Center for the Humanities. This team will expand our support of and experimentation in new technologies and pedagogies.
3 - A Residential Liberal Arts Education
In the next decade, Colgate will create faculty-led Residential Learning Communities (RLCs), in which all first- and second-year students will live on the hill along with upper-level peer mentors. By instituting the RLC program, Colgate will offer increased residence-based opportunities for advising, seminar instruction, community service activities, recreational and social events, and cultural and intellectual programming. Such opportunities will be beneficial to our students, especially in their formative first and second years. A significant amount of work must be done to design the program and structure of the RLCs. The Student Affairs Board will be the main governing body reviewing the evolution of the RLC program. The Campus Planning and and Physical Resource Committee (CPPRC) will be consulted with regard to physical planning.
In moving this plan forward, Colgate hired King and King Architects in the spring of 2014 to undertake a facility assessment and feasibility study for creating four or five RLCs — each to be affiliated with an “annex” on Broad Street. As a result of this study, APC has learned that the program can be accommodated in four RLCs on the hill.
The four-RLC option is the Advisory and Planning Committee’s strong preference as it allows all first- and second-year students to live in close proximity to each other near the academic quad, which is a fundamental goal highlighted in the Campus Master Plan and the Living the Liberal Arts working group report. In the four-RLC model, Colgate will build 336 new beds on the hill, renovate existing residential halls, and demolish Gate House and Cutten complex.
Prior to a decision to move forward on the four-RLC plan, Colgate will undertake a more thorough facility assessment of Cutten to understand the pros and cons of demolishing that building or keeping it as a fifth RLC and building fewer new beds on the hill.
The first RLC will open in 2015, with a new community opening each subsequent year. By 2019, the goal is to have the RLC program fully implemented. In addition, new parking, circulation, and site work will be developed to create a more pedestrian-friendly campus, to accommodate the RLC program, and to offer staff and faculty more parking spaces.
A call for faculty director nominations went out in the spring of 2014. Colgate plans to appoint all four faculty directors in September 2014, and that group will play a leading role in designing the RLC program.
4 - A Campus for Colgate’s Third Century
Residential Learning Communities (RLC)
Costing, sequencing and prioritization continue in coordination with the parking and circulation project. Initial costs for new construction, excluding site preparation and utilities relocation, are $45.9M and $31.4M for critical maintenance and renovations of existing residential spaces. The focus has been on program needs and siting/configuration options for the construction of approximately 336 new beds and renovation of the existing eight residence halls on the hill as well as the annexes associated with each of the RLCs. The renovation work on RLC1 (Curtis and Drake) is scheduled to be finished in the summer of 2015, and a resolution will likely be brought forward to the Board of Trustees for approval in January 2015.
New Athletic Facility (NAF)
The schematic design has been finalized. Further improvements have been made to the design including the exterior finishes and the addition of storm water management systems. Studies are also underway to see how to modify the parking at Andy Kerr Stadium. This project will require separate funding, and this request will be brought to the Board in January.
Center for Art and Culture (CAC)
Work continues with Adjaye Associates in the development of schematic designs for a $21 million all-inclusive budget. Fundraising efforts include the development of a proposal through the New York State’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) process. Our proposal has made great progress, as a recommendation for $1.35M was moved forward as a “Priority Project” for the Central NY region.
New Career Services Building
A building committee for the new career center has been formed and four architectural firms recently made presentations to that committee on campus. An architectural firm has been selected,and they will serve as a consultant to the building committee and career center staff to host several workshops/fora on campus this fall to facilitate discussion and collect feedback on possible siting, size and program. After examining several different locations, the site where La Casa currently sits is the most likely new site for a new career center but no final decision has been made. There are several reasons this site is attractive. First, it was one of the sites defined in the master campus planning committee as a site for future construction. Second, the site already provides parking and access that would be necessary for a new career center. Finally, in consultation with students, several potential homes for La Casa have been identified that are of interest to students currently in the building because those structures are larger, have more beds and are embedded more intentionally among other student residences on Broad Street.
The new career center is projected to be a $10 million facility and is currently 95% funded. This project was discussed by the CPPRC in April and there was further discussion by that committee in September.
Parking and Circulation
Colgate reviewed a design proposal from Klepper, Hahn, and Hyatt including design options and cost estimates for roadways, parking, storm water management, and utilities relocations. Initial costs are approximately $12.7 million, with a significant amount of the costs being for the utilities relocation. This project will also be reviewed by CPPRC.This is the first phase of the overall project and it does not include the required work for the “inner campus” pathways, signage and controls to create a pedestrian friendly campus. Once complete access will still be available as needed for ADA, special events, deliveries etc to all buildings.
Integrated Facilities Plan
Colgate has engaged with Sightlines LLC to create a facilities condition assessment to assist in the development of a multi-year Integrated Facilities Plan (IFP). This work is tied to the work already completed through the Campus Master Plan. From the comprehensive facilities assessment, a project inventory will be developed that includes repair issues, facility modernization, space alteration, infrastructure, and campus expansion plans. This analysis will be used to establish priorities and budgets for 2015-16 and beyond.
Task Force on the Performing Arts. Professor Padma Kaimal is now leading a task force on the performing arts that will report periodically to APC. The task force will release its final report in the spring.
5 - Financing
In the last few months, senior staff have continued to research, cost and gather data of the key components of the plan and are ready to re-engage the Colgate community to prioritize, resource and implement priority items. In developing costing and funding of the priorities--beyond our analysis of financial aid and the goal of need-blind admissions, which will require significant fundraising--the area that will require the largest commitment is our residence halls, apartments, townhouses, and Broad Street properties. It appears that $90 million will be required to complete the much needed renovations of our residence halls and annexes as well as to address the parking and circulation issues identified in the strategic plan. It is likely that Colgate will borrow around $55 million to partially cover these costs, which will require $3.4 million in additional debt service annually. In addition, the annual expense to operate the new facilities is estimated at $1.7M. The funding requirements for the priority items to support a dynamic curriculum and the programing for Living the Liberal Arts is estimated to cost an additional $1.3 million.
Thus, total annual expenses associated with the strategic plan is close to $7 million (exclusive of efforts to advance financial aid or to achieve need-blind status). While this is a significant amount of money, it should be viewed within the context of Colgate’s annual budget of approximately $170 million and the phasing in over four or five years of these initiatives. The additional expenses for these vital priorities will require us to be creative and strategic. APC will need to engage the broad Colgate community to understand the compelling vision and to make critical decisions. The on-campus Budget and Financial Planning committee will oversee campus-wide discussions among budget managers, faculty, staff, and the broader community about prioritization and reallocation of resources in order to achieve the goals of the strategic plan.