Update on Strategic Planning

Provost AA Letterhead

December 8, 2011

Dear RISD Community,

Last evening, the Full and Part Time Faculty voted to endorse the RISD Strategic Plan for 2012-2017 at the Faculty Meeting with 83 for, 17 against and 8 abstentions. Through this vote, the faculty expressed their collective sentiment about the strategic future of the College.  An earlier draft of the Plan received an endorsement, in principal, from the RISD Board of Trustees at their February 2010 meeting and will be officially voted on by the RISD Board of Trustees at their February 2012 meeting.

This Strategic Planning process, spanning more than a two-year period, has been the most inclusive in RISD’s history. In the winter and spring of 2010, 70 faculty, staff, and student members met in a variety of topic-based groups approximately 8 times to work on the Strategic Plan.  In the summer of 2010, planning continued with 23 members of the Summer Working Group made up of representatives of the faculty, staff and student body.  This fall, the Strategic Plan Working Group, consisting of the interim Associate Provost, five deans, four faculty members and myself– worked collaboratively to bring the plan to this point.

The plan honors RISD’s commitment to deep-disciplinary immersive education, and builds on this foundation to guide us in how we can advance RISD to embrace the opportunities and challenges of the future. What will result is a RISD that will be more nimble, and clearer in its emphasis on teaching and learning, research, critical making, student services, and strong institutional systems. It is of paramount importance that as we look forward, we continue to remain true to the values that distinguish RISD, as these are the essential components that create our unique environment for rigorous education in art, design, and the liberal arts.

The path to today has been arduous in many ways. There has been much debate, compromise, and revision. However, the result of our efforts is one that we can all be quite proud of—one that offers tremendous opportunity for RISD moving ahead and represents the thoughtfulness and deep felt beliefs of this diverse community.

I want to particularly thank interim Associate Provost Patricia Phillips, along with the team of interim Deans and Deans who dedicated so much to this process, Barbara VonEckardt, Joanne Stryker, Anais Missakian, Bill Newkirk, and Brian Goldberg. I am enormously grateful for their dedication, intelligence, hard work, and commitment to collaboration and good communication that made last night possible. I would also like to thank the faculty members of the Strategic Planning Working Group, Mairead Byrne, Ken Horii, Fritz Drury and Todd Moore who provided valuable input and helped us to finalize the plan. Additionally I would like to thank Scott Cook and Anne Tate for their role in organizing the faculty congress that informed much of our final version. Jean Eddy, Bill Decatur, Candace Baer and Eric Graage all contributed to areas that defined the parts of the plan where their expertise was vital. And finally, thanks to President Maeda for his confidence in situating the plan completion with our academic leadership so that it could best represent the core reason that RISD exists, to best educate students in art and design.

The next step of the process is for the Board of Trustees to vote on whether to officially adopt the plan. We look forward to the results of this vote at their February meeting.


Rosanne Somerson

Strategic Planning

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