Castleton Strategic Plan, Fall 2013
Castleton University has enjoyed a notable reinvigoration during the past 10 years: a growing population of talented students, faculty, and staff; popular new academic and athletic programs; recently constructed, renovated, and purchased facilities; as well as a heightened sense of purpose and confidence among the campus constituencies.
Little about the University a decade ago foretold this reinvigoration. Had the Castleton of today been widely pronounced as the planned destination for the University 10 years ago, a skeptic back then might have replied with that old Vermont locution: "You can’t get there from here."
Historically, that locution refers to the rugged Vermont landscape and circumstances. It suggests that, more often than not, there is some formidable obstacle in the way between here and there—a looming mountain range; a treacherous waterway; or a long, wide, deep stretch of spring mud. It further suggests that ingenuity, enterprise, and cooperation must be brought to bear in order to move over, around, or through that obstacle, and thereby win the way. Trailblazing, in other words, is one necessary reply to the Vermont landscape and circumstances—as it was 200 years ago, as it has been during the past 10 years at Castleton, and as it will be at Castleton again, with the University about to set forth into new territory during the next 10 years.
Since summer 2012, the Castleton community has considered how the University can continue to thrive, not simply survive, in the decade to come. Last fall, after plentiful meetings small and large, the community offered its support for the Castleton Strategic Plan Vision Statement. Last spring, seven University committees comprising 60 members undertook separate charges derived from that vision statement. Those committees made substantial contributions to this Castleton Strategic Plan by way of the drafts that they submitted in March and April. Late last spring and through this past summer, those drafts underwent necessary revisions as they were combined together into one unified plan. Most recently, all seven committees have reviewed the revised drafts of their work. As well, the president and cabinet have reviewed the entire plan, which identifies seven destinations and sets the courses that will guide the University to those destinations. Soon, with this map in hand, we members of the University community must make our way into that new territory itself, unleashing the trailblazing spirit as we go.
This plan, by definition, leaves implementation to the future—especially to the well-established University and trustees governance structures that will guide implementation. Nor does this plan burden the future with needless or counterproductive constraints. Trailblazing often needs the latitude.
The core values represented by the Castleton Mission Statement do, however, permeate this plan. Ideally, in turn, this plan and subsequent implementation will sustain, and intensify, the reinvigoration of Castleton—and therefore demonstrate that, with an abundant trailblazing spirit, you can get there from here.
Following this introduction, the document divides into two parts: first, the plan itself; and second, the appendix. Any quoted material cited within the plan comes directly from the vision statement. The appendix that follows the plan provides supplemental material: the Castleton Mission Statement, the recommendations issued last year by the University Task Force on Teaching and Learning Technology, the Castleton Strategic Plan Vision Statement, an excerpt from President Wolk’s fall 2013 Convocation address, and a list of all committee members who contributed so generously to this plan.