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To: The Wellesley Community
From: President Paula A. Johnson
Re: Strategic Planning Takes Off
Date: November 21, 2019

As fall turns to winter, the Wellesley community is deeply engaged in the meaningful work of strategic planning. Over the past two months, we have reached out to faculty, staff, students, alumnae, and our trustees and received feedback about four key areas of inquiry: liberal arts, organization and governance, Wellesley in the world, and community. We have also created working groups that will be responsible for investigating each of these topics and developing recommendations that will inform the strategic plan. I am eager to update you on our progress on both fronts.

Community engagement
From September to early November, we hosted a series of discussions with academic department chairs and groups of faculty, Administrative Council, a group of union staff, and students. We facilitated strategic planning sessions with the Board of Trustees at our October meeting and conducted similar workshops with alumnae at recent meetings of the Business Leadership Council and the President’s Advisory Council. The feedback we received at these sessions confirmed that our areas of inquiry are the right ones and helped to clarify our focus and direction as we address them.

Working groups
The Steering Committee has created four working groups that will develop recommendations for each of the four key areas mentioned. These small groups, led by faculty and staff co-chairs, include faculty, staff, and students whom we selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest in thinking both creatively and strategically about the future of the College. Together, they represent an invaluable range of perspectives, skills, and expertise.

These are the members of the working groups:

Liberal Arts

  • Co-chairs: Michael Jeffries and Kristina Jones
  • Faculty: Amy Banzaert, Don Elmore, Corinne Gartner, Karen Lange, Jim Noggle, Lisa Rodensky ’84, Ann Velenchik
  • Staff: Tracey Cameron, Jen Pollard, Jess Ricker
  • Students: Melanie Graves ’21, Phung Ninh ’20

Organization and Governance

  • Co-chairs: Erin Konkle and Casey Rothschild
  • Faculty: Heather Bryant, Erich Matthes, Ryan Quintana, Andrea Sequeira
  • Staff: Casey Bayer, Jen Ellis, Ravi Ravishanker, Inés Maturana Sendoya
  • Students: Diana Lam ’20, Tiffany Garcia ’21

Wellesley in the World

  • Co-chairs: Carol Bate and Anjali Prabhu
  • Faculty: Pat Berman, Stacie Goddard, Peggy Levitt, Jenny Musto, Smitha Radhakrishnan
  • Staff: Laura Adamczyk ’87, Kathryn Mackintosh ’03, Liz Mandeville ’04, Layli Maparyan, Tara Murphy, Jennifer Thomas-Starck
  • Students: Esmé Stribling-Hough ’20, Vicky Ncube ’21


  • Co-chairs: Carlos Ramos and Heather Woods ’97
  • Faculty: Dan Brabander, Katie Hall ’84, Soo Hong, Megan Núñez, Sarah Wall-Randell ’97
  • Staff: Debra DeVaughn ’74, Bethany Ellis, Rebecca Garcia, Marisa Jaffe ’95, Robin Cook-Nobles, Sarah Staley
  • Students: Caroline Alt ’21, Olivia Massie ’22

By the end of this week, all of the working groups will have had their inaugural meetings and begun to dig into the work. The groups will spend the next two months gathering data and insights to assess the current state of the College in their respective topic areas. They will also examine information from other institutions and evaluate other research where appropriate. We plan to share a summary of their thinking with the community in late January. In the meantime, we invite you to ask questions or offer feedback through the strategic planning website, or communicate directly with the groups’ co-chairs.

As 2019 draws to a close, it is exciting and inspiring to be working alongside such a dedicated and talented group on a strategic plan for Wellesley’s future. I’m tremendously grateful to the members of the Steering Committee and the working groups for embracing this challenge as well as to our entire community for your engagement as we tackle this important task. I look forward to the practical dreaming we will do together in the year ahead.