This strategic plan occurs at a time of enormous challenge for all American higher education institutions, including Champlain College. The critical need for higher education to prepare professionally focused global citizens and future leaders to solve complex challenges is more essential and central to our purpose than ever before. Keeping those priorities at the forefront, we also recognize that the evolving needs of our students require us to adapt accordingly. This challenging environment has been further complicated by the ongoing global pandemic, which has created a substantial financial strain for many institutions, including Champlain.
It seems clear that the major challenges facing colleges over this coming decade will include:
These tactical issues, when combined with global trends such as the increasing presence of ubiquitous technology, environmental degradation, increasing nationalism, and other emerging issues, mean that institutions of higher education are being compelled to adapt at a pace many will not be able to sustain. This environment has caused many institutions—especially small, private institutions—to scale back their ambitions. In many cases, their hopes have become modest as they struggle to envision a path forward that would maintain or enhance institutional vitality and strength.
Champlain’s plan for 2030, by comparison, is daringly immodest. This plan calls for the College to overcome existential challenges and to thrive. This plan and the attitude it embodies reflect the essential spirit of Champlain. We do, in fact, dare.
The heart of Champlain beats in this document. It is a call for re-evolutionary change. It will strengthen and solidify Champlain’s place in an increasingly competitive world. This plan demands that we face the future by leaning into our historic strengths: agility, marketplace insight, our professionally focused Upside-Down Curriculum, and our human touch. Our ability to innovate and execute will continue to set us apart and enhance our distinctive excellence. Students who are prepared to be lifelong learners will thrive in a world characterized by increasing rates of change. A world-class education provides students with:
Champlain’s essential value proposition—why we have a right to exist in this competitive world—is that we educate and train students in professional and intellectual disciplines that prepare them to thrive despite the constantly increasing rate of change that will characterize the world throughout their lifetimes. Our unique approach to meeting the needs of our students is not easily replicated and provides us with a niche that remains remarkably viable.
This educational approach ensures that Champlain will remain relevant well into the future. The major challenges of this coming decade are likely to be with execution. If the College continues to focus on and provide exemplary teaching along with the organizational excellence required to attain the goals in this plan, it will thrive.
Despite the difficulties inherent to this era, with energy and commitment, we turn our attention forward to a very bright future and plans for strong, positive movement in the decade ahead. We have overcome difficulties in the past. We shall do so again.
David F. Finney