The Gustavian Weekly

Commission Gustavus 150 releases recommendations | The Gustavian Weekly

By Phoebe Breed Staff Writer | November 20, 2009 | News

Gustavus’ framework for the next 10 years delivered to Student Senate co-presidents, campus

Commission Gustavus 150 may seem overwhelming to some at first. After all it is made up of 385 recommendations put together by students, alumni, faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees and friends of the college that are categorized in several ways regarding the future of our school.

However, it can be understood simply as “the next phase of creating framework for the College by determining the direction we will move in over the next ten years,” Barb Larson Taylor, the assistant to the president for special projects and the executive director of Commission Gustavus 150, said.

“Commission Gustavus 150 is the process which was adopted by the Board through which the College has identified and prioritized initiatives to undertake,” Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim Gale ‘83 said.

Commission Gustavus 150 was suggested to the Board last year by President Jack Ohle as a method of strategic planning for Gustavus. Strategic planning means that the goal of Commission Gustavus 150 is to figure out how we want to improve our school and what that requires financially.

The process began when Gale, along with Ohle, invited Warren Beck to chair the task force chairs. From there, eight task forces made up of various members of the Gustavus community, ranging from students to ELCA bishops, began to outline the paths which they believed Gustavus should move down in order to increase the school’s prestige and provide more meaningful opportunities to its students.

Last spring, all students, alumni, staff and faculty were invited to review and prioritize the 439 recommendations that the eight task forces put forward through an online survey. Those students who completed the survey may recall that it was quite lengthy, “[But] the input from the survey in the spring of last year was not taken lightly. The board carefully reviewed the students’ suggestions during our retreat, and used that input to place the recommendations into three tiers regarding the length of time each recommendation should be fulfilled in,” Gale said.

At the retreat that the members of the Board of Trustees took this past summer, similar recommendations were combined, and the resulting 385 recommendations were placed in three tiers. Tier one consists of the recommendations that should be initiated immediately and show substantial progress in the next three years. Tier two should show substantial progress in the next six years, and tier three should show progress within ten years.

In addition to the placement of the recommendations into the three tiers, the recommendations were also placed into seven categories: Cultural Perspectives, Lifelong Engagement, Partnerships and Collaborations, Personal Growth and Development, Quality-Enhancing and Innovative Initiatives, Spiritual Growth and Development and Tangible Resources.

Tangible Resources can be considered the most important category because it focuses on coming up with the money for Gustavus to implement the recommendations of the other six categories.

“Commission Gustavus 150 is a tool to help us move forward in planning, but also a tool to raise resources for that plan. Many of the people involved in the process of Commission Gustavus 150 took the approach of how the interests of the College can align with interests of investors. By making sure that the direction we want to move in is a direction that friends of the College will financially support, we are setting the College up for continued success in the future,” Gale said.

However, many students may be discouraged by the length of time it is proposed that many of these recommendations will take before there is visible progress made in them. Commission Gustavus 150 is still an important process for those students.

“As a Gustavus student that may graduate before these opportunities are created, it still is an important process to you. In the work force, your degree is only as good as the college is viewed by the public at that point in time, so it is in your best interest to support these new programs and developments, because they’ll pay off for you fiscally in the long run,” Larson Taylor said. Also, Larson Taylor emphasized the importance of Commission Gustavus 150 initiative in providing more opportunities for alumni to participate actively in the Gustavus community.