November 1, 2023
Dear members of the Connecticut College community,
During my many talks with students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees since I became interim president, I have made clear that my two primary goals are to promote healing within the Conn community and to further our strategic plan, Building on Strength.
I also have discussed my intent to create a more specific set of goals to help guide my work until Conn’s 12th president is appointed. Toward that end, I have devoted much of my time to better understanding Conn’s mission, vision, culture, people, finances, operations, policies, priorities and aspirations.
After much thought, I have come up with the following list of goals, which have the support of the Board of Trustees and senior administrators. I think these goals will provide many opportunities for us to work together to improve the College.
As you know, we have already made progress on a number of these goals and I am confident that progress will continue.
As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
- Establish a President’s Task Force and leader of a campus restorative planning process: a constituent-wide membership (12 members representing faculty, staff, students and administrators) to provide programming in 2023-2024 to strengthen relationships and promote our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and shared governance across campus.
- Build and support cohesion with new and existing members of the president’s cabinet around our community’s sense of purpose.
- Mentor new and continuing cabinet members.
- Support, sustain and attend regular meetings with leadership of staff, faculty and students.
- Address morale by being present and accessible through daily walks on campus and effective listening.
- Improve Board of Trustees and faculty/staff relations.
- Support efforts of the Advancement team to sustain fundraising and friend-making.
- Support staff representation with the Board of Trustees governance structures.
- Continue to foster relationships with anchor institutions in the New London region: New London city government, the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, key educational partners (Coast Guard Academy, Mitchell College, Three Rivers Community College, Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mystic Seaport Museum, Williams School, tribal nations of eastern Connecticut).
- Work with Williams School and Coast Guard Academy leaders to explore partnered activities.
- Support and update memorandum of understandings with the Williams School and Coast Guard Academy.
- Review and update, if necessary, Building on Strength goals.
- Support increased awareness of shared governance principles across campus.
- Submit a follow-up response to our mid-cycle NECHE reaccreditation report (due January 2024).
- Monitor and contribute to discussions with Moody’s credit ratings on Conn College.
- Bolster Admissions and student support efforts.
- Work with the Dean of the Faculty’s office to explore new academic opportunities, such as business studies and global studies.
- Initiate processes to align the three major Policy and Procedures documents: Information for Faculty, Administrators and Trustees (IFF), Staff Handbook, Student Handbook.
- Support DEI leadership, policies, budget, staffing and unit activities.
- Continue to assist the Finance Subcommittee of the Board of Trustees and the vice president of the Finance team to refine the five-year financial plan.
- Review status of all fees, charges and operating costs across campus.
- Review strategies for addressing deferred maintenance and physical plant improvements.
- Work with Facilities leadership to manage emergency events within the physical plant, residence halls and campus infrastructure.
- Review salary data for faculty and staff.
- Identify opportunities to improve daily business services, such as expense reductions, more accountability and service improvements.
- Review oversight of all legal expenses and use of consultants.
- Explore revenue-generating opportunities.
- Represent the College as a member of NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) and CCIC (Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges).
- Support the athletic director, coaches and student-athletes. Attend as many events as possible.
- Support the Presidential Search Committee and search firm consultants.
Les Wong, Ph.D.