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Strategic plans proposed

January 18 2018
The Wheaton College Strategic Plan Group proposed initiatives for the future of Wheaton College in two all-campus presentations Tuesday evening in Coray Gym. Twelve core committees of faculty, staff and student leadership participated in this ongoing project. The proposals that the committees presented will be submitted to the Trustees for approval in February after final revisions within the faculty council.
The presentations of the 12 committees can be grouped into five main priorities: experiential learning, graduate school programs, a teaching and learning collaborative, new facilities and enrollment.
Experiential Learning
The humanities, sciences, arts and vocational preparation initiatives centered around the goal of increasing “experiential learning,” which they defined as “learning through reflection on doing.” Interim Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies Lynn Cohick introduced an initiative for the creation of a Center for Liberal Arts Leadership located in Blanchard that would centralize support for the Christ at the Core curriculum. She also proposed that the modern and classical languages department should move to Blanchard to be closer to the rest of the humanities.
Professor of psychology Ray Phinney proposed creating a permanent facility for Global and Experiential Learning (GEL) and hiring a director for Experiential Learning, while students in various arts department explained how experiential learning within the arts had impacted their lives, and asked for an expansion of current experiential learning programs.
Dee Pierce, director of the Center for Vocation and Career (CVC), proposed increased access to internship platforms for students and a 200,00 fund for unpaid/underpaid internship scholarships.
Graduate School Programs
In response to growing demand for low-residency graduate school programs, Professor of Intercultural Studies Scott Moreau proposed the Graduate School Incubator Fund. The proposed 22 million dollar fund includes eight initiatives that enable the launch of new programs, international collaboration, two-way partnerships, active learning classrooms and other opportunities for students.
Teaching and Learning Collaborative
Education Professors Jill Lederhouse from the Academic Success Planning Committee and  Jonathan Eckert from the Faculty Development Committee presented the Teaching and Learning Collaborative initiative. Their plan is to align student learning with teaching in a centralized location that combines all-campus student and faculty support services. It would allow the services already offered to students, such as the writing center and linguistic assistance for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, to be combined into one center. It also provides space for faculty services such as places for research and resources for innovative teaching.
New Facilities
Several committees presented initiatives proposing new facilities and reorganization of spaces within Wheaton.
VP of Student Development Paul Chelsen presented the Athletics committee’s recommendation for an update in the Chrouser Sports Center locker rooms, the renovation of washrooms in Bean and McCully stadiums, an expansion of the athletic training room for injury treatment and recovery and a new project to create a visiting football team locker room.
Students and faculty showed a powerpoint with examples of recently built libraries at other college campuses, advocating for an updated library to be built at Wheaton. They compared Buswell’s low ceilings and cramped spaces to larger and more modern rooms.
Associate Professor of History Matthew Lundin presented for the At Large Facilities and Technology Committee. He proposed the modernization of classroom space by creating flexible classrooms with rolling furniture. He said that a different classroom set-up would better support collaboration compared to current, less versatile classrooms. He also pushed for the introduction of new technology to assist professors using innovative teaching methods with the latest technology available.
The enrollment committee initiative, presented by Associate Professor of Math Darcie Delzell, focused on two proposals: increased merit awards and a new recruitment strategy. They aim to award an additional five million dollars in annual scholarships through a 100 million dollar fund of endowed scholarships. In addition, they want to aggressively recruit more students in order to expand the number of qualified prospective students applying to Wheaton.
Both the scholarships and recruitment strategy will target a few types of desired students; they are searching for students who are academically gifted, from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, live internationally, are artistically gifted and in select graduate programs.
In response to these proposals, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to submit feedback and questions through the Wheaton online portal. They are due by Jan. 18.

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