Siena College Launches New Strategic Plan

Jodi Ackerman Frank Around the Province

Earlier this fall, just days after the feast of St. Francis, Siena College launched its 2011-2016 strategic plan. Called “Living Our Tradition,” it has four themes, or planks: engagement, resources, diversity and athletics. According to the Strategic Plan page of Siena’s website, the plan, the result of months of work by members of the Siena community, is “based on Siena’s mission as a Catholic, Franciscan and liberal arts college. This four-planked plan will allow us to develop further as a community that is committed to intellectual development, service spirituality and respect for all people.”

The article below will appear in the fall 2011 issue of the college’s Siena News magazine.

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — In October, Siena faculty, trustees, benefactors, students, administrators, and staff rallied in the Marcelle Athletic Complex to celebrate the launch of the college’s new strategic plan, Living Our Tradition.

“This strategic plan is a milestone in the history of the college,” said Kevin Mullen, OFM, ‘75, president of Siena College. “It will help propel Siena into this century and establish us as a principal player for our students.”

The strategic plan will build on the Academic Excellence Plan, which includes the recruitment and retention of quality faculty and students. Living Our Tradition will also place a greater emphasis on student engagement and research opportunities. It will strengthen the financial, human resources, and physical space of the college. These actions will be the focus of Siena’s upcoming comprehensive campaign, which has the goal of raising $50 million.

Under Living Our Tradition, the college will work to increase the diversity in faculty and staff as well as on Siena’s Board of Trustees, while graduating a more diverse student body. The college will also work to expand and leverage investment in Division 1 athletics to promote the reputation of the college and enhance student engagement.

“This has been a community effort by faculty, administrators, and students,” said Linda Richardson, vice president for academic affairs. “People are vested in the strategic plan, and are very enthusiastic about it. We’ve come together as a community.”

About 350 people attended the celebration, which included four live performances conceived by Siena community members, and multimedia presentations to illustrate the plan’s four planks: engagement, resources, diversity and athletics.

Bill McGoldrick, ‘68, one of the many performers on stage, illustrated the diversity plank by saying, “I’m one of 30,000 living alumni. I really appreciate all that Siena has done for me. My wife and I support Siena because the education I received made such a difference in my life, and the friendships I’ve made here have lasted a lifetime.”

The signature piece for the evening was the world premiere of a 10-minute movie, “The Education of a Lifetime,” a story about the journey of a young woman named Clare before, during, and after her Siena College experience. The event ended with the signing of a 37-foot green-and-gold banner emblazoned with the college’s new tagline, “The Education of a Lifetime.”

“It was a symbolic way to show solidarity and support for the future of Siena College by all in attendance,” Kevin said.

“I think the plan is exactly what we need,” said Susan Law Dake, Siena Board of Trustees secretary, and president of the Stewart’s Foundation. “It will be challenging, but I think we can achieve it,” she added, referring to the upcoming comprehensive campaign that will be used to fund the plan’s initiatives.

Living Our Traditions encompasses four initiatives: 1) build upon the success of the Academic Excellence Plan by focusing on student engagement; 2) steward and strengthen the college’s financial resources, human resources, and physical space; 3) create a culture of diversity; 4) expand and leverage investment in Division I athletics to promote the reputation of the college and enhance student engagement.

These initiatives are supported by four overriding planks, or priorities, which will benchmark our success: engagement, resources, diversity and athletics.

“One of the great responses heard over and over about this plan from our faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, trustees, and benefactors is that this is about the students. This is about making this college fully engaged with its student body,” Fr. Kevin said.

Alison Sifflet, ‘12, a gifted vocalist who treated the audience to one of her original songs as part of plank 3 at the event, agreed: “Siena is where all my talents and interests can flourish.”

— Jodi Ackerman Frank is a staff member of the Siena College Communications Office.