91社区

Announcements and Communications

Email communications sent to the campus community will be archived here.

This page will be updated with communications from the Implementation Task Force on a regular basis. Additionally, the campus community is encouraged to provide feedback and ideas to the Implementation Task Force, either regarding recent communications or in general. Please don't hesistate to email itf@lakeforest.edu or individual members of the Task Force at any time. 

Our Forester Future 鈥 Monthly Executive Summary, 5/6/24

Dear Foresters,

As Year One of the Implementation Task Force (ITF) ends, we want to summarize and celebrate our remarkable progress achieved. The Strategic Framework will hereafter be referred to exclusively as, “Our Forester Future.” Foresters, Resources, and Partnerships continue to serve as the guiding pillars of Our Forester Future, the paradigm under which all college activities operate. To the faculty, staff, and students who contributed to a work stream or a priority, thank you for your hard work throughout the year.

This Executive Summary Report details the progress achieved in Year One of Our Forester Future and outlines the roadmap for Year Two. In the January 2024 Executive Summary, the ITF identified deliverables for Spring 2024. We are happy to report significant progress across the four priorities.

Year One Accomplishments

Priority 1: Identify and strengthen the distinctive components between our curriculum, co-curricular engagement, career preparation initiatives, and advising structures that catalyze and define the transformational experience.

Priority #1 was our top priority for Year One as we developed a description of the Transformational Student Experience (TSE); all other priorities must support and uphold the transformational student experience. The TSE is our promise to our students - It describes the kind of student who will flourish at 91社区 as a result of the education we deliver. The TSE will also serve as a tool to recruit prospective students, faculty, and staff who are aligned with our mission, educational construct, and desired outcomes. Additionally, it anchors marketing and fundraising efforts. Lastly, it will help us to make informed and value-based decisions about how we allocate our resources.

To arrive at the promise we make to our students we studied who we are now and who we aspire to be. We approached this issue by engaging as many of our constituents as possible in multiple ways. We first brainstormed the concept of a TSE with the ITF in several iterative discussions. These ideas were shared with a group of students and the full ITF twice. Based on feedback, three versions of the TSE were distributed to the College community for additional feedback. The ITF engaged in a “roadshow,” where members of the community were given the chance to provide real-time feedback which was integrated and subsequently revised into a single clear and inspiring TSE, vetted by the entire ITF (which includes the senior leadership team), and will be presented to the Board of Trustees in May.

Priority 2: Establish a culture of strategic decision-making using data and optimized systems

The “data culture” group was tasked with improving our decision making culture at 91社区. Through discussion with many stakeholders, we affirmed that data was actively being used when making decisions and asserted that the best way to improve our decision-making was to instill a culture of values driven decision making. We want Foresters to be empowered to make decisions while trusting that those decisions will be in the best interest of the College, so we created a guide which facilitates decision-making that upholds our mission and safeguards the longevity of the institution while accounting for the people in our community. The guide was tested by the entire ITF, revised, and edited multiple times. We believe the current version of the guide is clear, easy to use, and helpful. We will pilot the guide in Year Two. Foresters are encouraged to use the guide and offer feedback throughout the 2024-2025 school year. Please see the attached appendix which has both the guide and form for feedback. Any and all thoughts are appreciated.

The “data audit” group worked through multiple priorities that included an inventory of how functional areas of the College collect data, the types of data collected, the flow of data between systems, identification of data critical to college operations, and establishing how to create alignment across departments to ensure that data is used collaboratively and effectively across units to best inform decision-making. The group developed a data dictionary that will serve as a key component of the new data governance policy. This guide provides the following:

  • Key fields and terms to be used and defined in datasets across campus to ensure that departments at the College are consistent in data reporting and decision making.
  • Identifying the primary data source of record by population (ex. Jenzabar is the primary data source of record for current student data; Slate is the primary data source of record for prospective student data).
  • Access to the Enterprise Architecture and RACI Matrix. RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. A RACI Matrix identifies each enterprise system, how each enterprise system is used, who (department) is responsible, and identifies the functional areas that utilize each system. This matrix was split to provide information by department and a campus-wide chart.
  • The flow of data between systems in the Enterprise Architecture to understand how systems work with each other.
  • Outside sources of data to which the institution reports and receives reporting.

The guide also provides ongoing recommendations and priorities for Year Two that include the following:

  • Developing Data Champions in each department who are responsible for leading and managing data efforts in their department. This responsibility would be built into the job description of the position and serve on the Enterprise Application Advisory Group (EAAG) which will lead the collaborative data efforts between departments. EAAG will effectively become a workstream within the Strategic Framework with the data champions continuing to work through components and priorities around data priorities.
  • The data dictionary will be reviewed annually by ITS to ensure it’s maintained and kept up to date as policies and data evolve each year
  • A focus on employee-level data: optimized systems, key fields, source of record, and reporting.
  • Develop a data lake (A data lake is a centralized repository that allows to store of all structured and unstructured data at any scale) for data analysis purposes. A data lake would allow the College to take the key data points that are most often used in critical decision making and run analytics to inform decisions. The data lake concept would remove the need for multiple departments to build redundant datasets (reducing the potential error in not including a key department or key data points) while also being more cost-effective than a data warehouse.

Priority #3: Ensure maximal support of college operations and key stakeholder relationships.

In Fall 2024, Priority #3 will be a major focus area. The definition of the TSE and Signature Programs were critical building blocks toward work on Priority #3. The ITF will review the 2021-22 Planning Group Report identifying actionable items, continue to inventory Partnerships and Stakeholders, and begin to tackle the following three priorities:

  • Develop a comprehensive strategy for interaction with key partners and stakeholders
  • Enhance connectedness with local and regional business communities
  • Increase engagement from the Board of Trustees

Priority 4: Establish a process for continuous quality improvement of institutional policies, procedures, and handbooks

The policies and procedures working group began collecting all the policies from across the campus. Every department will identify the policies they operate under and the procedure for reviewing, modifying, or sunsetting each policy. Having a complete set of institutional policies is a critical step in establishing a process for continuous quality improvement. Many departments were able to complete this work during the school year (thanks to all of you) and a few requested that they be allowed to finish during the summer. We believe that this activity will be completed before school resumes in August.

In Year Two, we will have four work streams which focus on reviews and updates of the following important anchoring documents:

  • The college catalogue
  • The faculty handbook
  • The student handbook
  • The staff handbook that will become an “employee handbook” to include student workers.

The Student Life Committee started their review of the Student Handbook this year, and the College Catalogue workstream met during the Spring semester with plans to work over the summer. FPPC will be assigning faculty to the Faculty Handbook revision and the Employee Handbook workstreams so that those groups can begin in August.

Priority 5: Maximize and leverage our competitive edge and distinguished signature programs.

The group worked in earnest on the definition of Signature Programs that fit within Our Forester Future to ensure that as we moved forward with specific programs, these efforts were anchored within the Foresters, Resources, and Partnerships pillars. The following characteristics were identified as important elements:

  • Distinct to the College
  • Connected to the College’s mission and the Transformational Student Experience
  • Accessible to all students attending the College
  • Structured into the fabric of the College’s four-year experience
  • Contributing to measurable outcomes of the College.

Ultimately, Signature Programs are uniquely 91社区 experiences that provide students with opportunities that are specific to the education we offer and provide the College with a competitive advantage in the higher education market. The group recommends a steering committee model as Signature Programs are identified and developed to ensure that these efforts are integrated across campus and incorporate the various stakeholders needed for these programs to be successful.

The focus in Year One was on the Center for Chicago Programs (CCP). The group reflected on the importance of CCP being part of the four-year model for all students and developed a model that engages students from the prospective student phase, through orientation (Chicago Day), and into the “In The Loop” or “Activate” Programs. Treating “In the Loop” or “Activate” more as capstone experiences, the group worked to identify a four-year model through the reinforcement of existing structures as well as potential opportunities for building out additional activities in Chicago.

Efforts to date have been uneven or not fully coordinated across the broader campus. As such, the Signature Programs group built a 4-year model that takes the existing structure and seeks to create stronger engagement between Chicago Day and the “In the Loop”/“Activate” Year Two activity will focus on tiering the “In the Loop” and “Activate” Program into tracked internships through key internship partners and paid opportunities for students, developing a full-scale marketing plan for the Chicago Program that continually engages students, and identifying proper budget alignment for Chicago efforts to properly resource the program. To complete this work, the group recommends a Center for Chicago Programs Steering Committee made up of partners across campus that will work through the tactical elements of this work and move the program together in a College-wide fashion.

The Krebs Center for the Humanities is also one of the strongest representative Signature Programs of the College. It provides 91社区 with a unique opportunity to deeply engage students in the Humanities at a time when the value of the Humanities is being questioned in the higher education landscape and allows the College to assert the importance of the Humanities in our mission and student experience. The group worked extensively with Davis Schneiderman, Executive Director of the Krebs Center, to tie program elements to Our Forester Future and build out a model that allows students to engage from the prospective student phase, take part in critical educational opportunities early in their academic careers, provide research and capstone opportunities for students, and develop unique partnerships that integrate the Humanities into today’s world. The Krebs Center already has key elements including tours for prospective students and high school counselors, Humanities Visit Day, class visits, First Year Studies-sponsored courses, speaker visits to campus, research opportunities, and grant funding for student and professional scholarships. Built into a four-year model, a new Krebs Steering Committee will continue this work in a College wide integrated fashion.

We would like to again thank the dedicated ITF members whose contributions shaped the inaugural year of this task force. Their commitment has been instrumental in collaborating on Our Forester Future goals moving forward. We ask that the entire campus community also that the ITF Members: Maia AlBarrak, Julia Berkowitz, Margaret Bugnacki, Dani Contreras, Kent Grote, Davis Hamilton, Hayley Headley, Chloe Johnston, Courtney Joseph, Anna Trumbore Jones, Joe Kinsella, Janet McCracken, Meghan O’Toole, Fran Pease, Adriana Rodriguez, Erica Schultz, Jake Sharifi, and Tony Tyler.

We extend our appreciation to the Senior Leadership Team for their guidance and support as Executive Champions of the workstreams as well as thank faculty and staff who have also participated in newly created ITF related workstreams or joined focus groups and other related meetings this Spring.

Your understanding of the ITF’s accomplishments is vital to the College’s success in Our Forester Future as it relates to both the students' and employees' experiences. As we transition to Year Two, more specific goals will be identified during the summer and an update will be provided to the campus community in September 2024.

We encourage you to stay informed by visiting Our Forester Future webpages for all announcements concerning the ITF, as well as the Senior Leadership Team led priorities not included in this executive summary: Compensation Analysis, DEIB, and the Master Facility Plan. Your feedback, comments, questions, and general thoughts on Our Forester Future are highly valued. Please email us at itf@lakeforest.edu.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Jill Baren, President, 91社区
Mike Cohen, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair
Linda Horwitz, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair

Strategic Framework updated 鈥 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Workstream, 3/26/24

Dear Foresters,

I am pleased to share an important update on the activities of the Strategic Framework. The DEIB workstream which was mentioned in the last Strategic Framework campus communication has been launched and the members whose names appear below are hard at work. 

The DEIB workstream will play a crucial role in advising me on ways to further instill the institutional values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging across campus. This group will be pivotal in mapping the trajectory of DEIB at our institution and will serve as the bridge between the previous work of the Intercultural Advisory Group (IAG) and the new President’s DEIB Advisory Council set to launch Fall 2024.

This spring the DEIB workstream will focus on recommendations outlined by the DEIB long-term planning group report, composed under the prior administration. The workstream will evaluate how these recommendations fit into our current strategic framework and will jumpstart the future work to be done by the President’s DEIB Advisory Council, starting in Fall 2024.

This spring, the DEIB workstream will:

  1. Conduct a DEIB inventory that takes inventory and catalogs departmental and organizational DEIB activities at the College.
  2. Assess the need and offer a potential job description for an institutional leader focused on campus wide DEIB work and propose possible restructuring of roles and departments to best support the work of DEIB across campus.

Please join me in thanking the following dedicated individuals who have agreed to serve on the DEIB workstream and contribute to this important ongoing work. To each of you, thank you for your dedication to making our institution a more inclusive and welcoming place for all.

Faculty & Staff Workstream Members:

Nevin J. Heard, Chair
Anna Trumbore Jones
Gizella Meneses
Deja McClellan
Nicki Pieart
DeJuran Richardson
Marianinna Villavicencio 

Student Workstream Members:

Chris Meza
Vanessa Medina

I am excited about the work ahead and the positive impact it will have on our Forester community.

Sincerely, 

Jill M. Baren
President, 91社区

Strategic Framework 鈥 Monthly Executive Summary, 3/18/24

Hello Foresters,

We continue to drive positive change and to enhance our academic environment through valuable input. It is crucial in shaping the future of our college. 

Background: 
In recent Executive Summaries, the Implementation Task Force (ITF) of the Strategic Framework has dedicated significant effort to its first priority: Transformational Student Experience. This group has been diligently working on identifying key attributes that we want to see in our students and the components of our College that are needed to ensure this is achieved. To ensure a well-rounded perspective, students participated in a dedicated President’s Corner session where they engaged in the same group exercises as the ITF in defining the Transformational Student Experience. 

Progress and Next Steps: 
The ITF has generated three versions of a description of the Transformational Student Experience that encapsulate what our College offers as an institution to our students. These options are being presented to you in narrative form to get your feedback. Being able to describe the Transformational Student Experience is the cornerstone of our brand, attracting individuals who align with our mission. The aim is to finalize a clear definition of the College’s Transformational Student Experience by the end of the spring semester. 

Your Role: 
We have now entered a critical phase where your input becomes pivotal. We invite you to review each narrative option and share your thoughts and preferences by Friday, April 12. Your feedback will be instrumental in shaping the recommendation that the Senior Leadership Members and ITF Committee will present to the Board of Trustees later this spring. 

Review and Feedback:
Your insights will contribute significantly to the collective decision-making process, ensuring that a description of our Transformational Student Experience reflects the aspirations and values of our 91社区 community.

We sincerely appreciate your commitment to our College's future. Your participation in this feedback process is a crucial step toward building a collective understanding of the impact of our work on creating an even more impactful learning environment.

Thank you for your time and dedication to the success of our institution. 

Sincerely, 
Jill Baren, President, 91社区 
Mike Cohen, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair 
Linda Horwitz, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair

Master Facility Plan Updates: Faculty and Staff Campus Survey and Open House, 2/20/24

Hello Faculty and Staff -

As mentioned in the recent Executive Summary, the Big Ideas Phase is the Master Facility Plan’s next step in this large project. Let your voice be heard! The College’s Master Facility Plan process is underway to plan the next decade+ of campus improvements/investments. There are two opportunities to participate and provide YOUR feedback! 

Campus Survey 

Perkins&Will has created a survey to collect your input on physical structures and other related campus areas. The faculty/staff survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete.  

The survey is now open until March 8. 

Faculty and staff campus survey:

Campus Open House 

Perkins&Will will also host a Campus Open House Session on March 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Skybox (Mohr Student Center) open to faculty, staff, and students. There will be an additional open house after the Faculty Meeting from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Glen Rowan House.   Save the Date invitations have been sent out. This is your opportunity  to provide thoughts on the Master Facility Plan and engage with Perkins&Will. There will not be a formal presentation, so you are welcome to come and go as you wish. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. 

We encourage you to visit the Strategic Framework webpages for all announcements and email itf@lakeforest.edu with feedback, comments, questions, and general thoughts on the Strategic Framework. 

We look forward to your input and seeing you at the Master Facility Plan Open House! 

Sincerely, 

Jill Baren, President
Lori Sundberg, Vice President for Finance and Planning, Treasurer

Master Facility Plan Updates: Student Campus Survey and Open House, 2/20/24

Hello Foresters - 

Help design the College of the future!  As mentioned in the recent Executive Summary, the Big Ideas Phase is the Master Facility Plan’s next step in this large project. There are two opportunities to participate and provide YOUR feedback! 

Campus Survey 

Perkins&Will has created surveys to collect your input on physical structures and other related campus areas. The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. 

The survey is now open until March 8. If you submit the survey by the deadline, your email address will be entered into a drawing after the survey closes. Four winning students will each receive $25 in Boomer Bucks. 

Student campus survey:

Campus Open House 

Perkins&Will will also host a Campus Open House Session on March 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Skybox (Mohr Student Center).  Save the Date invitations have been sent out. This is another opportunity to provide your thoughts on the Master Facility Plan. There will not be a formal presentation, so you are welcome to come and go as you wish. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. 

We encourage you to visit the Strategic Framework webpages for all announcements and email itf@lakeforest.edu with feedback, comments, questions, and general thoughts on the Strategic Framework. 

We look forward to your input and seeing you at the Master Facility Plan Open House! 

Sincerely, 

Jill Baren, President 
Lori Sundberg, Vice President for Finance and Planning, Treasurer 

Strategic Framework 鈥 Monthly Executive Summary, 2/13/24

Dear Foresters,  

We are pleased to provide ongoing progress reports for the Strategic Framework's eight strategic priorities for the current year. Last month, the ITF updated its ongoing work and its workstreams. This month’s update includes progress on three important priorities led by the Senior Leadership Team: Master Facility Plan, Compensation Analysis, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging work. Although this information is lengthy and detailed, we encourage you to set aside time to read it carefully so that you remain informed about the important work for the present and future of 91社区.
 

Master Facility Plan  

Lori Sundberg, Vice-President of Finance and Administration, together with President Baren, serves as the executive champion for The Master Facility Plan. This initiative, in partnership with the architectural firm Perkins&Will, was announced in November 2023. As a reminder, a Master Facility Plan creates actionable strategies that result in a vibrant, livable, inclusive, accessible, and sustainable campus. This roadmap is a series of layers which includes land and building use, site and landscape, infrastructure, and parking. The plan will identify specific projects for implementation, prioritizing work to ensure the College is well equipped to act in the near-term while also planning for long range and aspirational goals. There are five phases to the Master Facility Plan that span a six-to-eight-month period.

Information on the Master Facility Plan is now available on the Strategic Framework Website here: /about-us/administration/strategic-framework/master-facility-plan.   

The first phase, “Initiate,” has concluded, and we are wrapping up the “Discovery” phase. On the link provided above, you’ll see a graphic detailing the project schedule. Below is a summary of each phase. 

Initiate Phase: November 2023 – December 2023 

The initiate phase is the first phase of the Master Facility Plan. This phase included a kickoff meeting with Perkins&Will, base modeling and mapping of the plan, strategy meetings, and a campus tour. Two committees were formed: an advisory committee and a steering committee. The advisory committee includes members of the College Council, the Senior Leadership Team, and the Implementation Task Force. The advisory committee guides recommendations and provides candid input for the Steering committee. The steering committee includes members of the Board of Trustees and the President of the College. This committee will review the recommendations made by the advisory committee and provide decisions and directions for the Master Facility Plan. Both committees met during the initiate phase.

Discovery Phase: January 2024 – February 2024 

The discovery phase includes a review of past studies, enrollment projections, existing campus analysis, space utilization, facilities functional assessment, and an energy and utilities assessment. Ten user groups were created, and meetings were facilitated by Perkins&Will. The user groups were asked to provide feedback on their respective areas on campus by describing the current state of their department/campus home. Each group shared goals, opportunities for improvement, and challenges to achieve their goals. In addition to the user groups, there were meetings with employees representing Accessibility Services, Information Technology, and the Registrar, plus a discussion with a representative from the City of 91社区.  As we wrap up the discovery phase, we want to thank all who participated! 

Big Ideas Phase: February 2024 – March 2024 

The big ideas phase is the next step in the Master Facility Plan. This phase includes a campus framework plan, recommendations, campus facilities alignment, and a big ideas workshop.  Similar to the discovery phase, the advisory and steering committees will meet, and the user groups will re-convene.

As we enter the next stage, the big ideas phase, your feedback is critical. There are two opportunities to share your thoughts on the physical blueprint of our campus:  

  1. A short campus survey will be emailed to you in the next week soliciting your input on the physical structures and use of the buildings on campus.
  2. Campus open house session on March 6, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Skybox (Mohr Student Center). 

The Campus open house session on March 6 is not a formal presentation, but rather an opportunity for you to learn more about the project status and key updates, to provide YOUR thoughts on big ideas and the Master Facility Plan, and to engage with the firm, Perkins&Will, to learn about their process in working with the College. Because it is not a formal presentation, you may come and go as your schedule permits. Plan to spend 10-15 minutes during the time frame allotted. 

Develop Phase: March 2024 – April 2024 

The develop phase will include drafts of a campus development plan, energy management and sustainability plan, utility infrastructure plan, priority and phasing of projects, capital project budgeting, and a development workshop. Similar to the other phases, progress meetings will be held with a user group plenary session, advisory and steering committee meetings as well as a follow up meeting with the city of 91社区.  

Refine Phase: May 2024 – June 2024 

The final phase, refine, will include final recommendations, final workshop, and final documents to be submitted to the Board of Trustees.  

Again, mark your calendars for the March 6 Open House held in the Skybox at the Mohr Student Center. Beverages and light snacks will be provided. 
 

Compensation Analysis 

A steering committee composed of President Baren, Dean Natarajan, Vice-President Lori Sundberg, and Director of Human Resources Agnes Stepek oversees this strategic priority. The College is working with a consulting firm, Incentovate, that has significant experience in the analysis of employee compensation in higher education institutions. The consultant has access to national and regional databases and other relevant sources of information. Data has been gathered on current faculty and staff compensation and the evaluation of faculty compensation has been completed using appropriate industry benchmarks. The next phase will include an analysis of staff compensation, development of the relative alignment of the College’s compensation in the current market, and development of a 91社区 Compensation Philosophy statement. The Compensation Analysis project is scheduled to be completed by June 2024.

Faculty and Staff are strongly encouraged to attend one of two employee meetings in which our consultant, the President, and the Senior Leadership Team will be present to provide preliminary information on the process and early outcomes. President Jill Baren will speak about the compensation principles under development and the next steps.

Information is below. Faculty and staff will receive a separate calendar invite for each session from itf@lakeforest.edu. Please accept or decline so we have an accurate count for each session. The information presented in each session will be the same, so you only need to attend one.   

  • March 20, 2024, from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. in the Chapel 
  • March 27, 2024, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Tarble Room, Brown Hall  

 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

President Baren serves as the executive champion for our strategic priority that focuses on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). A new DEIB Council will replace the Intercultural Advisory Group (IAG). This initiative signifies a strategic reevaluation of the College's approach to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) on campus while providing crucial guidance to campus and college leadership.

The purpose of the President’s DEIB Council is to advise and report to the President and College Council on matters relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and to evaluate DEIB activities across the campus community. This includes ongoing evaluation of strategies listed in the College’s DEI long-term planning committee report.

Council members will be nominated biannually by the Senior Leadership Team (staff nominees), FPPC (faculty nominees), and Student Affairs (student nominees). The inaugural co-chairs of the President’s DEIB Council will be the Director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs and a faculty member nominated to the President by the Dean of Faculty. The Council’s deliberations and reports will be transparent. Until this new nomination process is established, a cross-section of representatives from the current IAG and the Diversity Planning Summit group will serve for the rest of the year.

In its first year, the Council will focus on strategic priorities outlined by the DEIB long-term planning committee report. This includes assessing the need for reorganizing current DEIB initiatives and offices on campus, constructing a comprehensive DEIB inventory, and evaluating the potential need to hire an institutional diversity officer.

We encourage you to visit the Strategic Framework webpages for all announcements and email itf@lakeforest.edu with feedback, comments, questions, and general thoughts on the Strategic Framework. 

We hope you found this update on the Master Facility Plan, Compensation Analysis, and DEIB Council helpful!

Sincerely, 

Jill Baren, President
Lori Sundberg, Vice President for Finance and Planning, Treasurer  
Tara Natarajan, Krebs Provost, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Implementation Task Force 鈥 Monthly Executive Summary, 1/23/24

Hello Foresters, 

Happy New Year! As a follow up to the Strategic Framework website announcement on December 13, 2023, this is the first of a series of monthly Executive Summary Reports on the progress of the Implementation Task Force that will be housed on the website. This website will host all updates and reports on the Strategic Framework and include past planning documents, the current makeup of the Implementation Task Force (ITF), the ongoing work of various workstreams, and the progress of the charges led by the Senior Leadership Team of the College. The Strategic Framework currently has eight charges. The Master Facility Plan, Compensation Analysis, and DEIB work are being led by the Senior Leadership Team. The Implementation Task Force, a committee of faculty, staff, and students that is co-chaired by Mike Cohen and Linda Horwitz, was created Fall 2023 to tackle the last five priorities. This work is a broad campus community effort, and the committee will continue to reach out to Foresters with opportunities to participate.

Over the past three months, the Implementation Task Force focused on four of its five priorities. It was decided to initially take a pause on Priority #3; however, this will be soon incorporated as a major focus moving forward.

  • Priority 1: Identify and strengthen the distinctive components between our curriculum, co-curricular engagement, career preparation initiatives, and advising structures that catalyze and define the transformational experience.
  • Priority 2: Establish a culture of strategic decision-making using data and optimized systems.
  • Priority 3: Ensure maximal support of college operations and key stakeholder relationships through:
    • Developing a comprehensive strategy for interaction with key partners and stakeholders.
    • Enhancing connectedness with local and regional business communities.
    • Increasing engagement from the board of trustees.
  • Priority 4: Establish a process for continuous quality improvement of institutional policies, procedures, and handbooks.
  • Priority 5: Maximize and leverage our competitive edge and distinguished Signature Programs.

The following is a summary of the accomplishments to date and our goals for the spring semester.

Accomplishments by Each Priority

Priority 1

Defining the transformational experience that articulates exactly what we offer as an institution is the most crucial aspect of this taskforce. This definition will not only help us promote our brand and recruit students, faculty and staff who want to be part of the College’s mission, but it will guide our decision making (Priority #2), how we work with partners (Priority #3), the policies and procedures we create, modify, and remove (Priority #4), and how we identify and construct Signature Programs distinctive to the 91社区 experience (Priority #5). We began working on this project individually, asking each ITF member to think through a series of questions and to speak with 91社区 community members on this issue before we met as a group in December. The first discussion was spirited and engaging while showing how much work we have to accomplish. Priority #1 will be our major focus for Spring 2024. Each subgroup will take on this issue along with their other foci. In addition, we will be talking with focus groups drawn from students and alumni to get their take on what 91社区 offered them during their time on campus and how it impacted their lives after they graduated. Our goal, by the end of the semester, will be to have a clear definition of how the College defines the transformational student experience that will be inclusive of the deliverables of the subsequent priorities.

Priority 2

To begin a comprehensive look at the priority of establishing a culture of strategic decision-making using data and optimized systems, the ITF split into two workstreams: Data Audit and Data Culture. The Data Audit Group discussed the types and methods of data collection at the College. Recognizing that data is collected at a variety of levels (course/program-level, unit-level, departmental-level, institutional-level) and in a variety of ways (on paper, through spreadsheets, via integrated enterprise applications), the group engaged in discussion with ITS and Institutional Research (IR) and learned of the 60 enterprise systems operating at the College collecting data, in addition to a few more systems which are currently under consideration or already being adopted. Through these enterprise systems, the College has access to enormous volumes of data.

Some initial key findings: IR was noted as a consumer of data and not collector of data, and only has access to a fraction of the enterprise systems. The Applied Data Center (ADC) can assist with large datasets, but the ADC does not have access to any enterprise system on campus. As such, the ADC can only assist when data is brought to them. Furthermore, it became clear in discussions that there is no “warehouse” that can centralize all the data collected, nor is there adequate staff in IR to be able to run all data through all the various datasets. Ideally, having “data captains” in each area who would serve a departmental role and liaise with ITS/IR/ADC would create a funnel to support both stronger data orientation and training departmentally and institutionally.

Finally, it became clear that the College needs to have a data dictionary that all departments use for key terms. Having explicit campus-wide definitions for key terms would allow for the integration of various data sources to be applied in methods aligned across the institution, allowing for institutional problem-solving through a common language. Key priorities moving forward will include the creation of a campus-wide data dictionary, developing a strategy around an organizational model that operationalizes data captains in departments, and a campus guide that informs the community of data collected by our enterprise systems.

The Data Culture team spent Fall 2023 trying to better understand our current decision-making culture and what it would mean to instigate a culture of data-driven decision-making. We found that it is a myth that we are not using data when making decisions but that we do have issues around how people feel about the data (self-reported, for example) and how the data gets used. We identified concern across campus about how a culture of purely data-driven decision-making could negatively impact the mission of the college. We concluded that instead of instigating a culture of data-driven decision making, we are better off instigating a culture of value-driven decision-making where one of our values is transparent data with clearly defined terms and concepts. This approach would place data in a primary place in the decision discussion. Moving forward we will need to identify our values, create a clear guide for making value driven decisions, and create a plan for changing our culture.

Priority 4

To create a process for continuous quality improvement of institutional policies, procedures, and handbooks the ITF had to first identify the policies, procedures, and handbooks at 91社区. Currently, we have identified the College Catalog, Faculty Handbook, Student Handbook, and Staff Handbook as the most important, but there is also an athletic handbook, admissions handbook, and a library handbook and there could be others.

Many of our policies and procedures are not found in any handbook but live on one of four digital sites or platforms: my.lakeforest.edu, lakeforest.edu, ForesterNet, and J1web. In response to this situation, we have begun a comprehensive policy audit. We are asking heads of every department on campus to report on the policies they are responsible for by February 1, 2024. We hope that this process will generate a complete searchable database or inventory of policies so that we can know what our polices are and where to find them, be able to identify redundant and/or contradictory polices, and make better decisions about the placement, quality, and relevance of each policy.

While the comprehensive policy audit is in process, we are creating workstreams to evaluate each current handbook and identify a procedure for maintenance and review. FFPC is leading the review of the Faculty Handbook, the Student Life Committee is reviewing the Student Handbook, Fran Pease will lead a group to review the College Catalog, and Agnes Stepek will provide context for a group to review what was the Staff Handbook and will now be the Employee Handbook (including Student workers). In Spring 2024, along with overseeing the review of the four major handbooks and the comprehensive policy audit, this group will focus on how to maintain quality improvement of our policies by looking into the practices of our peer institutions and existing research on best practices.

Priority 5 

Finally, the ITF began to explore the work of identifying and defining Signature Programs that maximize and leverage our competitive edge as an institution. The group began initial discussions around defining common characteristics that were necessary to develop Signature Programs. Utilizing these attributes, the group explored programs that were unique to 91社区 and its position within the Liberal Arts College landscape. As such, The Center for Chicago Programs (CCP) and In The Loop were the first programs to be explored, and the ITF engaged in conversations with Davis Schneiderman, Matt Kelley, Jennie Larsen, Colleen Monks, and Jackie Slaats, to understand the history of the program, changes to the program over time, the current model of In The Loop and Activate as well as engagement more broadly with Chicago, and strengths and challenges within the current model.

The committee received access to seven years' worth of In the Loop/Activate Data and course trip data which has been a critical part of the Chicago engagement model. An initial proposal for Chicago Programs workstream members was developed, as was a vision that includes addressing some key challenges.

Key priorities for Signature Programs in the next semester include developing a rubric that identifies key components of Signature Programs, Identifying and creating a proposal that shows a vision for the CCP within this model, and initiating workstreams and a proposal for the Krebs Center as a Signature Program for the College.

Spring 2024 Action Items

The diligent work that has already been completed in the first two months of the Implementation Task Force is nothing short of remarkable. Moving forward, the committee will continue their work with the following steps:

  • Priority 1:
    • Define the transformational experience.
    • Identify components of the college experience that provide the greatest opportunities for transformation.
    • Identify the obstacles to transformation.
    • Articulate how the academic, advising, extra-curricular, residential, commuting, transferring experiences come together to transform our students.
  • Priority 2:
    • Review benchmarking and best practices with ACM schools.
    • Identify 91社区’s values around data to be aligned with larger College values.
    • Create a workable approach to making value driven decisions.
    • Develop a plan for institutionalizing our culture of decision making.
    • Complete an inventory of current data systems used on campus.
    • Create a campus-wide data dictionary.
    • Develop a strategy around an organizational model that operationalizes data captains in departments.
    • Create a campus guide that informs the community of data collected by our enterprise systems.
  • Priority 4:
    • Continue to audit and evaluate the current college storage of policies and procedures.
    • Work with FPPC and Student Life Committee on their evaluation of the faculty and student handbooks.
    • Create new workstreams for an employee handbook and college catalog.
    • Identify best practices for maintaining and communicating college policies.
  • Priority 5:
    • Create student focus groups to receive feedback on Signature Programs.
    • Developing a rubric that identifies key components of Signature Programs.
    • Identify and create a proposal that shows a comprehensive vision for the CCP within this model.
    • Initiate workstreams and a proposal for the Krebs Center as a Signature Program for the College.

We hope you found this executive summary informative and helpful. Your knowledge of what the Implementation Task Force has accomplished is a critical part of the employee and student value proposition.

We encourage you to visit the Strategic Framework webpages for all future announcements and email itf@lakeforest.edu with feedback, comments, questions, and general thoughts on the Strategic Framework.

Sincerely,

Jill Baren, President, 91社区
Mike Cohen, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair
Linda Horwitz, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair

Strategic Framework Website Announcement, 12/13/23

Dear Foresters,  

The Implementation Task Force is delighted to announce the new Strategic Framework webpages, available here /about-us/administration/strategic-framework

This new section, located under the “About Us” / “Administration” tab, at lakeforest.edu will store all news and updates relating to the 2023-2028 Strategic Framework, including the three initiatives led by Senior Leadership and the five priorities led by the Implementation Task Force.  

We invite you to explore this new section of the website which overviews the Strategic Framework and associated priorities, provides information on the Implementation Task Force and work streams, chronicles all announcements and communication, and lists resources including previous strategic plans and long-term planning reports.  

The Implementation Task Force has been hard at work over the last 8 weeks. Thus far the Implementation Task Force has: 

  • Initiated a data audit of the institution to understand what is collected and who has access to campus data. 
  • Investigated our current culture of decision making. 
  • Reframed the focus of data-culture from promoting a culture of data driven decision making to promoting a culture of value-driven decision-making that includes strong qualitative and quantitative data. 
  • Started an audit process for policies across campus to identify alignment or misalignment across campus populations and departments. 
  • Created or identified groups to engage in evaluations of the Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Staff Handbook, and College Catalog. 
  • Started to define signature programs at the College; what characteristics they share and how current programs could involve into a signature status. 

Beginning in January, we will provide ongoing updates and monthly reports to ensure that the campus community remains informed. The first report will expand on the work started in the fall semester and chart a path forward for the spring.  

We encourage you to email itf@lakeforest.edu with feedback, comments, questions, and general thoughts on the Strategic Framework.  

Sincerely,   

Jill Baren, President, 91社区 
Mike Cohen, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair 
Linda Horwitz, Implementation Task Force Co-Chair

Master Facility Plan Announcement, 11/28/23

Dear Foresters,

I hope this message finds you well and rested after the Thanksgiving break. I am thrilled to share some exciting news that will help shape the future of our campus in remarkable ways.

After a review of several proposals, a subcommittee of our Board of Trustees has selected a firm called Perkins&Will to be our partner in crafting a blueprint for the campus’s future through a Master Facility Plan. Their expertise and innovative approach combined with deep experience in working with institutions of higher learning stood out among an impressive pool of firms.

The Master Facility Plan is one of the three initiatives in the 2023–2028 Strategic Framework led by senior leadership; the other initiatives are led by the Implementation Task Force.

What is a Master Facility Plan?

A Master Facility Plan creates actionable strategies that result in a vibrant, livable, inclusive, accessible and sustainable campus. This roadmap is a series of layers which includes land and building use, site and landscape, infrastructure, and parking. The plan will identify specific projects for implementation, prioritizing work to ensure the College is well equipped to act in the near-term while also planning for long range and aspirational goals. The Perkins&Will team has expertise in accessibility, and sustainability, two critical aspects of our future planning and campus needs.

As you have heard previously, we completed a comprehensive Facilities Condition Assessment in 2022-2023. The Facilities Condition Assessment and the Master Facility Plan will inform how we invest in our physical structures and the beautification of campus.

What is the process and how can I get involved?

Perkins&Will  has a workplan that spans six to eight months that requires campus input. Several groups will be critical to the development of the plan, and all campus constituents will be invited to provide input at various stages. Initially, the Senior Leadership Team, members of College Council, and the Strategic Framework Implementation Task Force Co-Chairs will be invited to engage in a kick-off meeting with the firm. An Executive Committee of our Board of Trustees will be engaged throughout the entire timeframe as well.

Next, in the “Discovery” phase, Perkins&Will will engage directly with faculty, staff, and students through “user groups” to understand building limitations and opportunities, wayfinding, and overall functionality of each space. User groups will play a meaningful role by providing insights into the current state of facilities, how it feels to be present in these facilities, and to discuss future goals. There will also be online surveys sent to everyone on campus, to make sure that all voices have a chance to be heard. This will occur after January 1, 2024.

During a phase the firm calls “Big Ideas," the team will “develop ideas that integrate priorities and goals into a comprehensive framework —a guiding vision for future potential physical change on campus”. This phase will include Campus Open House Input Sessions which I hope many of you will attend. The sessions will educate and inform on the process and scope of this undertaking, as well as provide a forum for input on how the plan can meet campus goals while addressing current challenges. Also in this phase will be several Big Ideas Workshops which are highly interactive and collaborative.

Once the ideas start to take shape, there will be another round of workshops and Campus Open Houses to evaluate in more detail a plan that can build consensus. The entire process is designed to be transparent and include as many points of view as possible. 

I invite you to explore the Perkins&Will website at perkinswill.com—the section that provides links to specific projects in higher education is .

As we embark on this journey with Perkins&Will, I encourage each of you to engage actively, share your perspectives, and contribute your ideas. Together, we will build a roadmap that paves the way for a vibrant and thriving future for 91社区.

Sincerely,

Jill M. Baren
President, 91社区