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President Susan Rundell Singer on strategic planning


Since January, students have been receiving monthly emails titled “Strategic Planning Team Updates.” The emails contain information informing students on the planning being done to improve student experiences on the Hill in regards to preparing students for success in and out of their undergraduate years. On Feb. 29, The Olaf Messenger sat down with President Susan Rundell Singer to learn more about the importance of strategic planning. 


In the fall, several emails were sent out to the campus community asking for voluntary partnership from faculty, staff and students to serve on one of their core teams — Sustainable, Agile, Thrive, and Integration — or rapid response teams. The latter serve as a support system to the four main teams by synthesizing the work of the other teams and mapping out how the strategic planning goals will be implemented. This is the first time that strategic planning has all-campus engagement. 


Through community conversations, the Presidential Team discovered that students are deeply concerned with social justice and current events, which is why this year’s strategic planning is focusing heavily on ways to best support students to be “empowered solution seekers” through further community engagement and integration of the various campus resources within student lives. 


“We want to help all students find a path through St. Olaf that takes advantage of what they learn in and out of the classroom,” President Rundell Singer said.


Another focus of strategic planning is financial sustainability and support for students. As higher education becomes less affordable, the college is looking at ways to make affordability less of a barrier for current and future students.


Throughout the semester, the various plans will continue to be developed and refined with feedback from the Board of Regents. In May, the strategic planning committee hopes to get an endorsement from the Board for their plans to be implemented.