An Update from the Steering Committee about Institutional Planning

This message to the Bates community was sent by the Institutional Planning Team on December 8, 2015.

Dear Members of the Bates Community,

We write to provide you with an update on the Institutional Planning process and to make you aware of a new website that will allow you to follow the planning progress and provide input at key points along the way.

The goal of institutional planning is to produce a framework of priorities, collectively derived, that will guide the college over the next five to ten years and enable us to establish substantive goals for a comprehensive fundraising campaign. Our broad-based approach is designed to unlock the ideas and creativity of the entire Bates community. We hope to complete the process by the end of this academic year. Our emphasis during winter term will be to share emerging recommendations and drafts with the Bates community and to solicit feedback.

As a reminder, the planning process is built around four teams, announced in March 2015 following a series of open sessions held throughout the fall and winter to identify key themes. The teams are composed of faculty, staff, and students, chosen through a combination of election and appointment. Overseeing the process as a whole is a Steering Committee comprising the chairs of the individual teams, members of senior staff with responsibilities in the areas under consideration, and several faculty members appointed at large. The Steering Committee is chaired by the President and the Dean of the Faculty. In all, 79 members of the Bates community are serving in formal roles in the planning process. All members of the community – students, faculty, staff, and alumni – will be invited to provide input and suggestions as recommendations and analysis begin to emerge this winter.

The four areas of focus, each addressed by a separate team, are as follows: Intellectual Life at Bates; Educating the Whole Person; Facilities, Infrastructure, and Technology; and Resources. The teams spent Short Term 2015 developing their guiding questions and data requests. Over the summer, data was compiled for each team. During the fall semester, the individual teams have explored the issues relevant to their respective guiding questions; considered data, as available, to answer the questions; and begun the process of formulating initial recommendations.

In January 2016, the Steering Committee will begin the process of integrating into a unified framework the various recommendations developed by the individual teams. During this same period, we will embark on an intensive process of outreach and engagement with students, faculty, staff, and alumni on emerging ideas and strategies. We will take advantage of standing meetings, convene open sessions for specific audiences, and use existing avenues for communication (The Bates Student, emails, web, etc.). Specific information on these sessions and other forms of outreach will be coming soon.

In addition to the work of individual teams, the Steering Committee has been working on a narrative statement, building on our mission and values, to ground the ultimate recommendations and introduce the final report. This narrative statement will be shared for comment and edits as part of the outreach and engagement process this winter, and will be revised based on community input before becoming part of the final report.

To learn more about the process, please visit our website at:

If you have questions or comments, please email


All best,

The Institutional Planning Steering Committee


Committee Members – Faculty

  • Stephen Engel, Associate Professor and Chair of Politics
  • Rebecca Herzig, Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Christian A. Johnson Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies; Chair, Interdisciplinary Programs
  • Nathan Lundblad, Associate Professor of Physics
  • Lillian Nayder, Professor of English
  • Georgia Nigro, Professor of Psychology
  • Michael Sargent, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Robert Strong, Lecturer in English; Director of National Fellowships

Committee Members – Senior Staff

  • Josh McIntosh, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
  • Geoff Swift, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer
  • Crystal Williams, Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer


  • Matt Auer, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty
  • Clayton Spencer, President


  • Christina Estabrook, Director of Special Projects, President’s Office