Last month, we shared an initial draft of the Integrated Strategic Plan (“ISP”) with the Board of Trustees.

Dear Oxy Community,

Last month, I had the opportunity to share an initial draft of the Integrated Strategic Plan (“ISP”) with the Board of Trustees. It was exciting to share our bold vision for Occidental College, and as we near the end of our 18-month process, I am eager to share some updates with you. 

As you know, we launched the integrated strategic planning process in October 2021, naming a Steering Committee and conducting an environmental scan that included internal data reviews, assessment of broader trends in higher education, and numerous community input sessions. Over 600 students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents offered important perspectives through group fora (in person and virtual) and online submissions. In Spring 2022, with the Steering Committee’s input on priorities generated by the environmental scan, I charged five working groups, each composed of faculty, staff and students, to delve deeper into priority areas and propose strategies to address critical challenges and achieve ambitious goals. We established a timeline with the Board of Trustees to present an initial draft of the plan at the quarterly board meeting in January for initial feedback, and to return in April with a final draft of the plan to seek the Board’s endorsement.

The working groups presented important, innovative recommendations in late November 2022. Finishing their charges within the scheduled timeline proved challenging and a great deal of work for all involved. Still, the working groups’ timely completion of their assignment made it possible for us to deliver on schedule a draft version of the plan to the Trustees. I am extremely grateful to all the working groups and their co-chairs for their efforts.

 Due in no small part to the working group members’ input and ideas, the Trustees responded very positively to the draft plan. The Trustees expressed their excitement about key principles and raised important questions for further consideration. You may view a copy of the draft plan’s Executive Summary.

When you review the plan, you will note that it coheres around three “promises”:  

  • The Promise of Ensuring Academic Excellence 
  • The Promise of Forging Unique and Mutually Beneficial Partnerships with Los Angeles
  • The Promise of Educating the Whole Student and Renewing Campus Community

Two additional commitments—advancing equity and justice and developing a plan for campus sustainability, because of their importance in everything we do as a college, infuse each of the other three promises and are present throughout the document. 

While it was not possible to include every one of the initiatives proposed by the working groups, the direction and principles I have put forward in this plan aim to express a collaborative vision that reflects the aspirations and concerns of the Occidental community as a whole.

Now we will begin a process of revision, including incorporating feedback from ongoing discussions with the Trustees. During the time leading up to the April Board meeting, we will continue to hone our financial analysis for the plan’s strategies and initiatives, develop initial assessment plans, and meet with faculty and staff, individually and in groups, to learn what about the Occidental Promise resonates with them and why. 

I am most grateful to all of you who have participated in this collaborative process. By providing your thoughts during Fall 2021 community input sessions or by participating in the working groups to propose innovative initiatives to address our greatest needs and opportunities you have made a difference and helped to shape Occidental’s future.

All the best,

President Elam