May 01, 2006

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Board of Trustees unanimously approved The Plan for Bucknell at its annual meeting in April.

The Plan builds upon five strategies enumerated by Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell at his inauguration last April to set the direction of the University for the next seven to ten years.

"For more than 14 months, the total Bucknell community - faculty and staff, students and parents, alumni and trustees - has contributed to The Plan, and I thank everyone who has been involved," said Mitchell.

"We now have five guiding strategies that will enable us to achieve the vision articulated in The Plan: `to provide students with the premier undergraduate experience in American higher education,'" he said.

The five strategies are: strengthen the academic core, deepen the residential learning experience, enhance diversity, build bridges, and secure the University's financial strength.


1) The first strategy, "strengthen the academic core," establishes the vitality of the student learning experience as the foundation of The Plan, contains initiatives to augment Bucknell's academic reputation; cultivate academic excellence; and support the faculty in improving pedagogy, technology, scholarship, and student engagement.

2) The second strategy, "deepen the residential learning," supports the academic program, providing an integrated environment for student learning and growth.

3) The "enhance diversity" strategy embodies a comprehensive method to enhance diversity in all its forms and among all campus constituencies in an environment of respect and open exchange. This strategy addresses issues of recruitment, including retention, campus climate, and innovative partnerships, such as the initiative Bucknell has undertaken to recruit transfer students from community colleges under the auspices of a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

4) The "build bridges" strategy seeks to expand the university's external connections, from the local to the global level, i.e., "to bring the world to Bucknell and Bucknell to the world."

5) The fifth and final strategy, "secure our financial future," attends to the fiscal foundation of the University. Its initiatives include a strong endowment target to help constrain tuition costs, provide funding for recruitment and diversity goals, guarantee the quality and effectiveness of student learning, withstand any future downturns in financial markets, and uphold the excellence of campus physical resources that support the educational mission. It provides an accounting of what will be necessary for Bucknell's success, including plans for the next comprehensive campaign.

"This is a pivotal time for Bucknell, a time we decide how we become exceptional," said Provost Mary DeCredico. "The budget is good, endowment has rebounded, we have stable leadership. When you say Bucknell, people know what it is and where it is.

"By design, the five themes of The Plan are flexible. From the overall strategies, the university will develop concrete tactics and will be able to constantly assess its progress. This is a plan that will never be stuck on a shelf gathering dust," she said.

The Plan was endorsed unanimously by the Bucknell faculty March 7, and by the Bucknell Student Government March 26.

Bucknell will begin the process of implementing The Plan immediately. Mitchell has appointed Mark Dillard as director of the Office of Strategy Implementation to assist faculty, staff, and students in developing, prioritizing, and implementing tactics associated with The Plan.

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Story posted May 1, 2006


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