This issue of The Scene encompasses my annual report to Willamette’s community of alumni and friends, and I am pleased to say that, although global economic challenges persist, there is still plenty of good news to share.
For example, the number, variety and quality of student, faculty and institutional achievements this year — and recognition of those achievements — seems greater and more impressive than ever. These highlights are further evidence that planning, preparation and hard work pay off.
For Willamette, 2009–10 also was a year characterized by transition, planning and preparation for the future.
“Although global economic challenges persist, there is still plenty of good news to share.”
To wit: For more than a year, a campus-wide Strategic Planning Task Force engaged the university community in discussions regarding Willamette’s continuous and sustained improvement. The result of that effort is a new strategic plan that charts a course for Willamette’s future.
As applied across all academic units of the university, the new plan is in harmony with our mission, is institutionally sustainable, and prepares our graduates for meaningful lives of personal and professional achievement and civic contribution.
In light of this new plan, as well as other campus changes and initiatives, the next few years may be viewed as the beginning of a new and important phase in Willamette’s history. The campus community will embark on the implementation of our new strategic plan, the aspirations of which include increased support for research-rich, high-impact pedagogy across the curriculum and in all four colleges, as well as strategic investments in the sciences at the College of Liberal Arts. The university’s strategic plan also will inform the case for support that serves as the basis for the next capital campaign.
I believe that a liberal arts education at Willamette prepares our students — and prepares them well — for lives of meaning and hope. I am proud to say that, during these difficult economic times, we did not retreat from our investments in our core business: the education, by talented faculty committed to scholarship and teaching, of women and men of great promise. To my mind, there are few endeavors more worthy of our time and attention.
M. Lee Pelton
While affirming long-held commitments to outstanding teaching, academic excellence and rigor, liberal learning, and scholarship, Willamette’s new strategic plan provides a framework for the Board of Trustees, faculties and administrators to use in setting priorities, implementing strategies, and making decisions that advance the university’s mission. It takes into account external changes, most notably the significant demographic shifts already underway in the United States, an increasingly global economy, and a growing need to nurture our planet’s life-sustaining natural environment.
The university motto, Non Nobis Solum Nati Sumus (“Not Unto Ourselves Alone Are We Born”), historically an integral part of Willamette’s institutional identity, emerged naturally as the central principle around which the plan is organized. Core values inherent in our motto inform the plan’s five strategic goals, which seek to foster innovation and make Willamette even more distinctive:
The world economy seems to have survived the financial shock of late 2008 through early 2009. We are growing out of a recession, but by all accounts, recovery will be slow. During the 2009–10 academic year, Willamette’s endowment fell to $187 million, but it has been making a steady recovery and currently exceeds $210 million.
Like many other colleges and universities, our fundraising strategies were necessarily adjusted due to current economic conditions. As an essential means of support for university operations, the Willamette Fund remains a high priority.
Also, in May, the Board of Trustees approved a new integrated marketing plan for the College of Liberal Arts.
Applications for admission to the College of Liberal Arts for fall 2010 reached 8,000, a record high and a 34 percent increase over 2009. The CLA admitted just 40 percent of its applicants (compared to 59 percent in 2009) putting it among an elite group of colleges nationwide that admit under half of applicants.
Applications to the College of Law continue to be quite strong, resulting in an acceptance rate of less than 37 percent and a robust class of first-year students. Atkinson Graduate School of Management received a record number of applications this year, an increase of over 100 percent since 2006, and exceeded its enrollment goals. Applications to the Graduate School of Education are down slightly overall, though the school welcomed a strong cohort to its new Master of Education program.