The College leadership and the BoT monitored the progress monthly and with specific reviews on key strategic objectives at each Board meeting in 2021 and 2022. At the Board meeting in May 2022, the Board approved an ad hoc Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) be formed to: (1) Review the results of the 2021 Plan and (2) Consider improvements to the Plan and provide recommendations to the BoT for the next three years (FY2024 – FY2026).
The SPSC was established with committee members from the BoT, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i and the Wells College Chief Financial Officer as an advisor. The committee reviewed the current outcomes from the 2021 Plan and the following issues emerged from the review:
- Many of the strategic initiatives intersect making it difficult to complete the financial analysis and the forecasts may result in overestimating outcomes (e.g., admissions and/or retention especially), and
- Some initiatives included work related to outcomes such as retention, while others are very tactical actions without clear outcomes.
The SPSC concluded the strategic plan refresh focus on three critical outcomes: Enrollment (Admissions plus Retention), Fundraising, and Diversified Revenue.
The SPSC also conducted focus groups with key stakeholders including students, faculty, staff and alumnae/i. Several overarching themes appeared across all stakeholder groups:
- We consistently heard that relationships, community, and connection to others was an important factor related to our inquiry topics of retention, engagement, belonging, and giving.
- When the groups identified challenges or tensions that negatively impact their retention, engagement, belonging, or giving, these were frequently related to shortcomings or inconsistencies in communication, or to lack of structure.
- The flexibility and absence of “red tape” that characterize the way Wells operates are appealing and differentiating qualities for faculty and staff.
2022 Wells College Strategic Plan Update
The 2022 Wells College Strategic Plan Update builds on our mission, purpose, and vision.
The Wells College mission continues to be relevant and remains unchanged. Our mission is to educate students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives.
The purpose of Wells College is to provide a uniquely personal, residential undergraduate high-quality offering characterized by small size, rural location, and a liberal arts curriculum.
The College’s vision is that Wells will be a strong and thriving residential undergraduate liberal arts college for generations to come, supported by revenues from a diverse portfolio of educational programs that respond to changing educational trends and are consistent with Wells’ mission and purpose.
Building on this mission, purpose, and vision, our overall strategy is therefore to strengthen Wells College’s core residential undergraduate liberal arts offering while at the same time to diversify its revenue portfolio to support the prosperity of this core residential undergraduate liberal arts offering. The Strategic Plan includes priorities that build on our mission and purpose and transforms our economic model for future prosperity. Strategic growth building blocks include:
- Enrollment growth through increased admissions and improved student retention
- Diversified revenue generation
In addition, the College must focus on foundational improvements to continue to improve our capabilities, attract and retain the best students, faculty, and staff and remain relevant for the future. These foundational improvement building blocks that span across all operations and growth strategies include:
- Create a Workplace of Choice
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
- Strategic Campus Property Master Plan
- Improved Integrated Technology/Data Capability
- Enhanced Communications and Marketing
- Village of Aurora Engagement
The Board of Trustees approved the following strategic objectives and focus areas of growth for FY2024 – FY2026. The Board and the Wells College Leadership team regularly review the progress for each objective and determine if any additions or revisions provide improved outcomes.