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Academic Strategic Plan for 2022-2024

A Bold Path Forward

MMC’s Academic Strategic Plan for 2022-2024

Contents

PART ONE
Introduction
Inspirations and Influences
Strategic Planning Process
President’s Charge to the Educational Planning Working Group
Membership of the Educational Planning Working Group
Implementation of the Academic Strategic Plan

PART TWO
Goals and Strategies

PART ONE

INTRODUCTION

A Bold Path Forward: MMC’s Academic Strategic Plan for 2022 - 2024 offers a vision for Marymount Manhattan College to enhance the value and distinctiveness of an MMC education in order to prepare students to meet today’s challenges. These challenges are numerous: a global pandemic, institutions and industries transforming to respond to social justice movements, a climate in crisis, growing disparity in wealth, rapidly changing technology and communication, significant changes in higher education, and questions about the value of a college degree. During these difficult times, institutions of higher education will succeed and flourish by meeting student needs to be engaged and enthusiastic about their learning, by preparing them for careers that address the challenges of the day, and by offering students an education experience that embeds and showcases the distinctive strengths of the institution.

MMC can achieve this success by offering educational experiences that are forward thinking and embed our institution’s distinctive strengths:

  • A commitment to social justice throughout our history;
  • A reputation for the Performing Arts that can be used to enhance, develop, and promote programs in the visual and creative arts, as well as programs that integrate research and creative practice;
  • Pedagogy that incorporates: 
    • Trans-disciplinary learning
    • Student-faculty collaboration and research across all departments, including in business, the sciences, and humanities
    • Experiential learning across disciplines
  • New York City as a resource for curricular and co-curricular educational experiences that prepare students for fulfilling careers and civic lives.

From its founding in 1936, the Faculty of Marymount Manhattan College have responded to their unique times by evolving the curriculum to provide students with a valuable education and professional preparation. An MMC education produces alumni who are performing artists, creative practitioners, critical thinkers, knowledge producers, scientific researchers, health professionals, and socially engaged advocates who impact their fields and the world. To thrive in the current landscape of higher education, MMC will distinguish its educational offering to make clear the transformative value of an MMC education to future students. We will answer the challenges of today with a dynamic curriculum that delivers foundational literacies and builds on our distinctive strengths.

Doing so will enable the College to continue to fulfill its mission, to meet current challenges, and to prepare for future ones.

 

INSPIRATIONS AND INFLUENCES

This Academic Strategic Plan has been shaped by many inspirations and influences, including the following:

  • The College’s Mission: “…to educate a socially and economically diverse student body by fostering intellectual achievement and personal growth and by providing opportunities for career development. Inherent in this mission is the intent to develop an awareness of social, political, cultural, and ethical issues in the belief that this awareness will lead to concern for, participation in, and improvement of society.”
  • The College’s Inclusivity Statement, which articulates its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and the need to further develop and offer curriculum, pedagogy, and practices that are anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-colonial, and inclusive of all identities: race, gender, LGBTQIA+, age, body and physical appearance, ability, ethnic and national origin, religion, or additional identities, as well as commitment to an institutional culture that is ethical and equitable.
  • The urgency of the current global pandemic, which is significantly impacting higher education, faculty, and students, requiring support of the health and wellness of faculty, staff, and students.
  • The need to balance and grow enrollment at the College given the significant changes that are occurring in higher education with the sharply increasing competition for students and the steadily decreasing population of high school graduates.

 

STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS

After months of preparation, the strategic planning process was formally initiated on October 6, 2020, when the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to adopt a strategic planning approach that would be integrated with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) reaccreditation process, and that would result in (1) a three-year Strategic Plan, to launch on January 1, 2022 and complete on December 31, 2024, and (2) a Self-Study Report, to be submitted to MSCHE for evaluation in Spring 2022 in conjunction with an evaluation visit. To lead these intertwined efforts, President Kerry Walk appointed Peter Naccarato, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, to co-chair these two processes—strategic planning with co-chair Sarah Nelson Wright, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Arts and Director of the Theresa Lang Center for Producing, and Middle States reaccreditation, with co-chair Nava Silton, Professor of Psychology and President of the Faculty Council.

From the beginning, the Strategic Plan was envisioned as focusing first and foremost on the College’s educational offering, which is composed of the curriculum and the co-curriculum (i.e., educational programming that takes place outside of coursework). The educational offering is at the heart of the MMC experience and necessarily shapes the many other strategies we employ to achieve the College’s mission. The centrality of the educational offering to institutions of higher learning is also why it is at the heart of MSCHE reaccreditation. There was wide recognition that strategic planning and the MSCHE reaccreditation process provided the College with a unique opportunity to reflect on the educational offering and reimagine it for a new generation of students, who require a complex set of skills, abilities, and knowledge to meet the daunting challenges of a constantly evolving global society. It was also widely recognized that, to thrive in the most competitive higher education market in U.S. history, MMC must enhance the value and distinctiveness of MMC’s educational offering. Only by doing this would the College be able to achieve and maintain a strong market position.

In Fall 2020, despite the pandemic that had swept the nation and the world, the College continued to make excellent progress on the 2017 –2022 Strategic Plan, Contemporary and Compelling: Envisioning MMC’s Future. At the same time, the MSCHE Reaccreditation Steering Committee led efforts to develop the Self-Study Design, which was formally accepted by MSCHE on October 28, 2020. In Spring 2021, with preparation of the extensive Self-Study Report well underway, the stage was set for launching the strategic planning process, which centered on formation of the Educational Planning Working Group.

On February 22, 2021, the Faculty Council elected three members to serve on the Educational Planning Working Group: Bradley Herling, Associate Professor of Religious Studies; David Mold, Professor of Theatre Arts; and Nava Silton, Professor of Psychology. Professors Wright and Mold agreed to co-chair the group, and several additional faculty and staff members were appointed. President Walk gave the Educational Planning Working Group its charge on May 6, 2021 (see below). The group then launched into its work, which included gathering and reviewing relevant documents, conducting research, and developing a framework for the plan. Strategic planning efforts in other areas were also underway.

At the same time, the administrative Divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Success and Engagement, Finance and Administration, and Institutional Advancement each made progress on the development of plans in such areas as

  • Enrollment and Student Success
  • Co-Curriculum and Student Engagement
  • Finance
  • Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention
  • Stakeholder Services
  • Facilities
  • Technology
  • Fundraising and Development
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Organizational Structure

The intention was to finalize these plans after the vanguard plan—which came to be known as the 2022 –2024 Academic Strategic Plan—was formally adopted. In late Spring 2021 and throughout Fall 2021, the Educational Planning Working Group conducted surveys, workshops, presentations, town halls, and other gatherings to give members of the College community abundant opportunities to discuss and provide feedback on the initial concepts, emerging framework, and successive drafts of the Academic Strategic Plan. For example:

  • May 25 –June 15, 2021: Surveys completed by faculty members in response to initial strategic plan ideas as part of Spring Faculty Development Day
  • August 7 –16, 2021: Additional surveys completed by faculty members
  • August 25, 2021: Workshops conducted by the Educational Planning Working Group at the Fall Faculty Development Day
  • September 13, October 18, November 15, and December 6, 2021: Faculty feedback on draft plan solicited at Academic Division meetings
  • September 23, 2021: Update on Academic Strategic Planning presented to the Educational Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees
  • October 5, 2021: Plenary Session and Mini-Classes on Academic Strategic Planning at the Board of Trustees Retreat
  • October 12, October 13, November 1, and November 22, 2021: Faculty Town Halls held to receive and discuss comments and feedback
  • December 8, 2021: Educational Planning Working Group Co-Chairs meet with student leaders for input on draft plan
  • December 9, 2021: Staff Town Hall to receive and discuss comments and feedback on draft Strategic Plan

Throughout this period, the Educational Planning Working Group continued to revise and refine the draft in response to each round of verbal and written feedback and submitted the final version of the plan for approval by the various bodies of shared governance at the College.

In mid-December 2021, A Bold Path Forward: MMC’s Academic Strategic Plan for 2022 – 2024 went through the following approval process:

  • On December 13, 2021, the plan was endorsed by the Faculty Council, which passed a resolution recommending the plan to the President. 
  • On December 14, 2021, with the full support of her senior leadership team, President Walk formally approved the Faculty Council’s resolution and recommended the plan to the Educational Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Educational Planning Committee unanimously agreed to join President Walk in bringing forward a proposed resolution recommending the plan to the Board of Trustees for consideration.
  • On December 15, 2021, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved this resolution.

On January 1, 2022, A Bold Path Forward: MMC’s Academic Strategic Plan for 2022 – 2024 will officially launch. The plan was also incorporated into the Self-Study Report for MSCHE reaccreditation.

 

PRESIDENT’S CHARGE TO THE EDUCATIONAL PLANNING WORKING GROUP

May 5, 2021

The foremost goal of the 2008 – 2013 Strategic Plan was to prepare students for personal and professional lives in an increasingly complex world. The two plans that follows—for 2013 – 2017 and the current Strategic Plan, for 2017 – 2021—went beyond envisioning an MMC education as beneficial; these plans, in very different ways, also sought to differentiate an MMC education in a crowded, competitive higher education marketplace. The chief aim of the 2013 – 2017 plan is to Articulate Our Identity, and Goal I of the 2017 – 2021 plan is to Craft a Singular MMC Experience—“a contemporary, cross-disciplinary, and cutting-edge curriculum that is integrated with vibrant co-curricular programming and embedded in New York City in order to motivate students to enroll in MMC, thrive at the College through graduation, and participate in the MMC community as alumni.”

Over the past four years, the College has laid the ground work for strengthening MMC’s value proposition as the nation’s premier destination for students seeking a small-college experience focused on critical inquiry, creative practice, and social justice, and immersed in the rich educational and professional landscape of one of the world’s greatest cities. The further defining and strengthening of the College’s value proposition, through a deep consideration of the curricular and co-curricular programs, which, together, constitute an MMC education, will continue to be the centerpiece of our strategic planning efforts.

The Working Group on Educational Planning is a group of individuals from Academic Affairs, Student Success and Engagement, and the Office of the President who are called together to advance the work of differentiating the College’s educational offering writ large. Here are some of the ways the Working Group will fulfill its charge:

  1. Reviewing the report of the Presidential Task Force for Academic Strategic Planning, formed in Fall 2019, and updating its guiding principles and recommendations based on such factors as the College’s current and potential curricular and co-curricular programs; recent and potential changes in the curriculum; and the current higher education landscape and its possible future direction;
  2. Through a highly participatory process, developing an action plan for focusing the College’s curricular and co-curricular programs as informed by these guiding principles and recommendations;
  3. Identifying opportunities for intentional linkages between the College’s curricular and co-curricular programs that further distinguish the MMC educational offering.

 

MEMBERSHIP OF THE EDUCATIONAL PLANNING WORKING GROUP

  • Sarah Nelson Wright (Co-Chair), Associate Professor of Communication and Media Arts; Director, Theresa Lang Center for Producing
  • David Mold (Co-Chair), Professor of Theatre Arts (elected)
  • Erin Greenwell, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Arts
  • Bradley Herling, Associate Professor of Religious Studies (elected)
  • Katie LeBesco, Interim Vice President for Student Success and Engagement
  • Robin Nackman, Executive Director of Career Services
  • Erin O’Connor, Associate Professor of Sociology; Chair, Department of Politics and Human Rights
  • Michael Salmon, Assistant Vice President/Dean of Academic Excellence; Senior Advisor to the President
  • Nava Silton, Professor of Psychology (elected)

 

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACADEMIC STRATEGIC PLAN

The 2022 –2024 Academic Strategic Plan will launch on January 1, 2022, and its implementation will require continual collaboration among faculty, administrators, staff, and students. The first step in this process will be for teams in functional areas across the College to align ongoing strategic planning work with the goals of the 2022 –2024 Academic Strategic Plan. Supporting strategic plans will be formalized in the following areas:

Enrollment and Student Success
Co-Curriculum and Student Engagement
Finance
Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention
Stakeholder Services
Facilities
Technology
Fundraising and Development
Marketing and Communications
Organizational Structure

Enrollment and Student Success Plan

The vision that inspires this plan aims to balance and grow enrollments across academic programs. The goals and strategies that will be included in this plan will be guided by this vision and as we work to realize them, we will develop a multi-year enrollment plan that is informed by them and that establishes targets for measuring progress.

Co-Curriculum and Student Engagement Plan

A core component of the vision that will be articulated in this plan is enhancing the intentional linkages between the curriculum and co-curriculum as a distinctive feature of the MMC educational experience. While the Academic Strategic Plan focuses primarily on academic programs, it also indicates areas for unique collaborations and synergies with the co-curriculum.

Financial Plan

The College’s ability to realize the bold vision set forth in the Academic Strategic Plan depends on having financial resources to do so. Therefore, a crucial step in its implementation will be developing of a multi-year financial plan with clearly stated processes for the allocation of funds, and the establishment of budgets, timelines, and benchmarks for progress. This includes: 1) expanding the faculty with the goal of returning to at least 95 full-time faculty by the close of the Academic Strategic Plan; 2) re-committing to the multi-year faculty salary plan; 3) providing funds required to revise current academic programs and develop new ones; 3) compensating faculty for the labor required to implement the plan (course re-assignments; workload reductions; streamlined workflows for reporting and submitting documents); 4) supporting faculty and staff professional development and training; 5) expanding staff in key areas that support the educational vision articulated in this plan.

Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention Plan

As noted above, an essential element for successfully implementing the Academic Strategic Plan will be expanding the full-time faculty and adding staff members in key areas that support its educational vision.

Stakeholder Services Plan

As the Academic Strategic Plan focuses on students’ educational experience, we must also enhance all other aspects of the MMC experience, for all stakeholders (including guests and prospective students). Doing so will require a comprehensive plan for streamlining operations and maximizing efficiencies. It also involves providing students with the academic support they need and the out-of-classroom experiences they deserve.

Facilities Plan

As the College anticipates completion of the Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts, it will move forward with developing a multi-year plan to align current and future facilities (including on-campus spaces and off-campus leased spaces) with the goals of the Academic Strategic Plan. The Facilities Plan will necessarily intersect with the Financial Plan to ensure the financial resources required for renovating and maintaining these facilities.

Technology Plan

Continuing to enhance our technology, including both instructional technology and other technologies that support operations across the College, will be crucial for the successful implementation of the Academic Strategic Plan. A technology plan will outline the priorities and timeline for doing so and intersect with the financial plan to ensure the resources required for achieving these goals.

Fundraising and Development Plan

Raising resources through donor contributions, and “raising friends” who will contribute to the vibrancy of the campus community, will be more critical than ever. Central to the Fundraising and Development Plan is to solidify Advancement services and built out the essential components of an effective operation, including major gifts and planning giving, annual giving, corporate and foundation relations, and alumni and family engagement.

Marketing and Communications Plan

As we realize the vision of the Academic Strategic Plan, we must tell stories of our success both internally and externally. This is essential for enhancing new student recruitment, student persistence and completion, and alumni relations. It is also a key component for building and maintaining relationships with external constituents and supporting the work of the Office of Institutional Advancement to bring vital resources to the College.

Organizational Structure Plan

Another important aspect of improving operations across the College will be ensuring that all departments and offices are organized in ways that support and promote the vision of the Academic Strategic Plan. Doing so will support the faculty collaborations that are an essential component of this plan and improve the student experience as we optimize opportunities for collaboration and mutual support across all offices and departments.


PART TWO

GOALS AND STRATEGIES

 

Goal One

Integrate the College’s foundational commitment to social justice as a core feature of students’ educational experience.

Goal Two

Support the College’s programs in the performing arts and build on their strengths to enhance and develop programs in the visual and creative arts and programs that integrate research and creative practice.

Goal Three

Differentiate MMC’s educational experience by expanding on our pedagogical strengths: trans-disciplinary learning, student-faculty collaboration and research, and experiential learning.

Goal Four

Embed the College’s distinctive location in New York City across students’ educational experiences and pre-professional preparation.

Strategy 1

Revise Current Programs and Create New Programs

· Embed social justice across MMC’s current and potential new academic programs.

· Focus relevant current programs and potential new ones to emphasize visual arts, creative arts, and/or integration of creative practice and research, including in business, the sciences, and humanities.

· Focus relevant current programs and potential new ones to emphasize trans-disciplinary learning, student-faculty collaboration and research across all departments, including business, the sciences, and humanities, and experiential learning across disciplines.

· Enhance current and potential new academic programs’ engagement with New York City.

Strategy 2

Highlight MMC’s Pedagogical Strengths

· Center pedagogical practices that promote social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

· Center pedagogical practices that integrate visual arts, creative arts, and/or research and creative practice.

· Center pedagogical practices that embed trans-disciplinary learning, student-faculty collaboration and research, and experiential learning.

· Leverage New York City to further distinguish MMC’s pedagogical practices and approach to experiential and place-based learning.

Strategy 3

Redesign the Current General Education to Differentiate the MMC Learning Experience

· Infuse social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into a new, shared, signature MMC experience.

· Embed the integration of research and creative practice into a new, shared, signature MMC experience.

· Replace the current general education model with a signature, shared MMC experience that showcases the College’s distinctive strengths and prioritizes trans-disciplinary learning that integrates foundational literacies (including quantitative, scientific, written, visual, and cultural literacies) throughout.

· Embed New York City into a new, shared, signature MMC experience, including a first year experience that builds on the success of the NYC Seminar Program.

Strategy 4

Increase Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the College

· Provide formal training by external facilitators for faculty, staff, and students in equity, diversity, and inclusion (such as transformative justice).

· Recruit and retain a diverse faculty including faculty from under-represented groups at the College.

· Build on the Theatre Department’s transformative justice work as a model to increase inclusion in the educational experience.

· Ensure an equitable and accessible education for all students, including those from under-represented and under-served groups, and develop innovative pedagogies for doing so.

· Provide opportunities for students to engage with communities across the five boroughs of New York City through exchange with institutions, venues, and community groups.

Strategy 5

Improve Student Persistence

· Recruit and retain a diverse student body including those from under-represented groups at the College.

· Incorporate visual arts, creative arts, and integration of research and creative practice across students’ educational experiences, and work towards providing opportunities in the performing arts for all students.

A. Continue to improve persistence and degree completion by strengthening all areas of student support, including Disability Services, Center for Academic Support and Tutoring, Academic Advising, HEOP, Center for Student Services and financial aid, and re-establishing the LINK Program.

· Research accelerated undergraduate programs.

· Extend and structure students’ engagement with New York City, both curricular and co-curricular, including opportunities in research, internships, and career preparation throughout their undergraduate experience.

Strategy 6

Create Alliances that Support Cross-Departmental Collaboration and Make Visible MMC’s strengths

· Embed MMC’s commitment to social justice in all alliances and connect to direct action.

· To create alliances that showcase MMC’s strengths, build upon current cross-departmental collaborations that highlight the integration of the arts with research and / or academic content (for example, the annual Stand Up, Speak Out Program that connects MMC students between 71st Street and Bedford Hills; Spring 2021 Suffrage Academy; the Fall 2021 11+20 Series: The City Since).

· Produce thematic programming through alliances that provides opportunities for trans-disciplinary learning, student-faculty collaboration and research, and experiential learning.

· Engage alliances with New York City, including partnering with organizations and individuals to connect alliances to New York City.

Strategy 7

Integrate Curricular and Co-curricular Programming

· Use transformative justice to align curricular and co-curricular programming that supports equity, diversity, and inclusion, and promotes social justice.

· Further incorporate performing arts, visual arts, creative arts, and/or integration of research and creative practice to link curricular and co-curricular programming.

· Strengthen engagement with co-curricular programming to further increase trans-disciplinary learning, student-faculty collaboration and research, and experiential learning.

· Leverage engagement with New York City to integrate curricular and co-curricular programming.

Strategy 8

Further Enhance Opportunities for Career Preparation

· Support equity of career preparation, including access to internships.

· Research the development of linked undergraduate-graduate programs, and post-undergraduate programs that integrate research and creative practice.

· Enhance support of existing post-baccalaureate programs and research the development of linked undergraduate-graduate programs and post-undergraduate programs, including new post-baccalaureate programs, certificate programs, and Master’s degree programs that build upon the College’s pedagogical strengths.

· Strengthen student engagement with New York City as a distinctive component of their career preparation, including opportunities for internships and professional development.

Strategy 9

Connect Bedford Hills College Program (BHCP), Taconic College Program (TCP), and 71 st Street Campus

· Examine the relations among mass incarceration and higher education, particularly as pertains to MMC.

· Increase the inclusion of BHCP and TCP students in annual traditions based at 71 st Street (e.g. Honors Day, the Carson Review, etc.)

· Increase opportunities for trans-disciplinary collaboration between students at BHCP, TCP, and 71 st Street campus, including course links and co-curricular programming.

· Build partnerships with organizations in New York City that engage justice-impacted individuals.

 

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