Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

The finishing lines for both the Fall 2018 semester and the calendar year are now in sight, and I hope that we all have strong finishes in each. Even with the semester’s end approaching, things have not slowed down in 3-week classes or projects that support our academic experiences. Two active projects that are underway right now include a master planning process for the campus and a strategic planning process for the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station. Let me tell you a little about both in an effort to entice your participation.

Hiram’s master planning process, funded in its entirety by Trustees Ken Moore and Joan Roguski and facilitated by DLR Group out of Cleveland, has just started and will continue for the next several months. This process will generate a conceptual roadmap to guide the future growth and development of the College. The plan will help us see and strengthen the connections between buildings, green spaces, and our historic village. Like all processes here, it is an inclusive one, open to all faculty, staff, and students.

DLR Group hosted a first round of focus groups on November 29 that included faculty from our five Schools, staff from around campus, and officials in the village. Additional focus groups are slated for Thursday, January 17 from 1:00-5:00 pm and Friday, January 18 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. Faculty and staff, please contact Phil Eaves (eavespj@hiram.edu) to participate; students, please contact Shelley Gordon in Student Life (gordonsd@hiram.edu). After winter break, I will send you a link to a central hub on my.hiram.edu where you will be able to track master planning progress and emerging ideas.

Concurrently, the Field Station faculty and staff are engaged in a strategic planning process for that particular facility. Early in this process, the group developed a new mission statement that reflects the Field Station’s history and its activities today: “As one of the most ecologically diverse natural ‘classrooms’ in the collegiate Midwest, Hiram College’s James H. Barrow Biological Field Station offers students, faculty, staff, and visitors a variety of educational, research-oriented, and inspirational programs that focus on conservation, environmental stewardship, and scientific discovery.” Embedded in this statement are five pillars that historically have informed and will continue to guide the Field Station: 1) biodiversity conservation and environmental stewardship, 2) field-based scientific research, 3) education and community outreach, 4) animal conservation and husbandry, and 5) nature inspiration and creativity.

As with master planning, you are invited to engage in this process as well. An initial round of stakeholder feedback sessions took place in late November and early December. More conversations are planned for mid-January with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and partners. Again, any faculty and staff who would like to participate next month should contact Phil Eaves (eavespj@hiram.edu). Students, please contact Shelley Gordon in Student Life (gordonsd@hiram.edu).

If these big things weren’t enough to tackle at this point in the year, you should also know that the five new School Directors have begun meeting with faculty in their areas, and the eight colleagues who attended the AAC&U conference in Salt Lake City (Colin Anderson, Amber Chenoweth, Paul Gaffney, Nick Hirsch, Ella Kirk, Judy Muyskens, Liz Okuma, Roxanne Sorrick) have been forging ahead with ideas related to the academic redesign. As we get ready to say goodbye to 2018 and ring in 2019, I am astonished at how far we have all come since a year ago. Progress on the first-year experience and core curriculum has been propelled by Dean Judy Muyskens, Dean Liz Okuma, Professors Ella Kirk, Roxanne Sorrick, Colin Anderson, Jeff Swenson, Sarah Mabey, Paul Gaffney, and many more. Clearly, the overall forward movement is the direct result of their efforts and many of you reading this.

On that note of thanks, let me say, push on with all your might…and know how much your efforts are appreciated.

Enjoy the holidays with friends and family and the moments of reflection that come at this time of year.

Your President,

President Varlotta Signature

Lori Varlotta