Rosenberg sets out 15-year plan in Strategic Initiatives

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In 1999, former President Michael McPherson started a process of evaluating Macalester’s resources. He organized a committee to analyze how well budgeting supported Mac’s mission statement, and he titled the committee’s conclusions “Strategic Directions for Macalester.” In September, President Brian Rosenberg picked up where McPherson left off.

His “Strategic Initiatives” speech, delivered to the Board of Trustees at their meeting in October, outlined his intended direction for Macalester over the next 15 years.

The Strategic Initiatives document itself, issued soon after his speech, centers on Rosenberg’s desire to bolster Macalester’s academic reputation by improving the “perceived quality and depth of the academic programs,” he wrote in the speech. He suggests, among other things, hiring more faculty to improve the faculty-to-student ratio, improving the college’s percentage of dollars spent per student, and prioritizing renovations of facilities like the fine arts building and the athletic and wellness center.

But improving quality, Rosenberg said, requires investment. These and other costly proposals, like providing more endowed scholarships, demand considerable funds from the college. A critical point in Rosenberg’s initiatives, then, is his emphasis on more effective fund-raising.

“We need to engage our alumni,” he wrote. “From this, everything else will follow.” Last year, 44 percent of alumni donated to the college and the Annual Fund raised $3.2 million. Rosenberg hopes to raise the alumni giving rate to 50 percent and the Annual Fund revenue to $5 million in the future.

Rosenberg said that the effective campaigning needed to raise this money will require a “flagship plan” to represent Macalester. His idea-a lynchpin for the initiatives-is the Institute for Global Studies and Citizenship (IGSC). Due to launch in the Spring of 2006, the IGSC plays a pivotal role in the Initiative’s plans for Mac’s financial future.

Acting as a staging-ground for Macalester’s civic involvement within the Twin Cities, as a centralized body coordinating internationalism on campus, and as a forum for student and staff interaction, the IGSC provides a tangible touchstone for Macalester’s mission statement-and therefore a compelling case for support from the community.

Rosenberg’s initiatives draft the IGSC as an attractive feature to draw attention and alumni funds to Macalester. “As a feature that signifies progress at Macalester,” Michael McCue, the Annual Fund’s Associate Director, said, “we will use it to promote the college.”

By spurring local and national interest in Macalester, the initiatives aim to stimulate recruitment and increase student retention. Currently, Macalester retains 92 percent of its first-years as they become sophomores, and 85 percent of the students entering Mac graduate. The initiatives call for 95 percent first-to-second year retention and an 87-88 percent graduation rate, but give no specific plans for reaching these goals.