Wesleyan 2020 Update

Today I sent an email to the Wesleyan family with an update on our progress in meeting the goals set out in our framework for planning Wesleyan 2020. You can find the link to the current update here. The update is organized under the rubric of our three overarching goals: Energize Wesleyan’s distinctive educational experience; Enhance recognition of Wesleyan as an extraordinary institution; Work within a sustainable economic model while retaining core values.

Over the last 12 months we undertook a major self-study as part of the regional Accreditation process. I don’t explicitly discuss that process in the update, but I can say we were very pleased with the first response of the Accreditation Committee that came to campus. We will be releasing the official Accreditation materials when they are available in 2013.

Over the last year we have been involved in extensive (and sometimes intense) discussions with faculty, students, alumni and staff about our present operations and our plans for the future. This is as it should be. Receiving the most attention so far is the change in how we will budget for financial aid (leaving us about 90% need blind), and in this update I review the rationale for the change.  Affordability, accessibility, and financial aid are key challenges for Wesleyan, and in the fundraising campaign we are launching, financial aid endowment (complemented by gifts to current scholarships through the Wesleyan Fund) is our highest priority.

We also added a button to the homepage that makes it easier to direct donations to financial aid. The site also collects links related to our conversations concerning financial aid and the university’s economic model.

As classes end and finals approach, campus life is in its end-of-the-semester mode. Study and practice spaces are full, and creative energies are being unleashed. Professors are holding extra review sessions, and expectations for strong performances to close out the semester are running high. Artists are planning exhibitions, scientists are conducting experiments…data is getting crunched, and wild interpretations are being molded into forms that will seem powerfully compelling. This is why (well, some of the reasons) we love to be here.

It’s almost the end of the fall term. The work will get done!