Earlier this spring, Interim President Dr. David Russell and Board of Trustees Vice Chair Dale Coe Simons ’65 formed a committee to spearhead the creation of a five-year strategic plan for the college.
Led by Dr. Suzanne Tourville, professor of Mathematics and assistant provost of Accreditation and Assessment, and Dave Roberts, dean for Student Affairs, the committee includes a diverse group from the college community. Employee representatives, most who are also CC alumni, include Anh Braddock ’12 & ’14, Kim Craig ’12, Samantha Davis ’13, Danielle Douglas, Keith Glindemann ’15, Cindy Potter ’05 & ’06, Jeannie Simmons ’02 and Britta Wright ’07 & ’16. Alumni representatives include Zach McAdams ’20, Christina Sholars ’20 and Trustees Dale Coe Simons ’65, Helen Jane Blackman ’64 and Carol Winkler ’93.
A primary goal is to incorporate the important voices of the Columbia College community into the strategic plan. With this in mind, faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members were invited to participate in a survey in April. Over 1,200 responses were received, including 269 from alumni and 29 from community members.
The majority (60%) of the alumni who responded to the survey reside in mid- Missouri. “The committee is interested in ways to engage students and alumni from here in mid-Missouri and around the country,” Tourville says. “This feedback will definitely be key in the development of the strategic plan.”
Open-ended questions to alumni in the survey indicated a desire to be more connected with the college. In answer to the question of which areas alumni are interested in contributing to, the top responses were:
- Expand and improve academics
- Mentoring and career preparation
The committee will present its first draft to senior leadership in August and will offer several opportunities for community feedback in the fall. The approved plan will be submitted to the Board of Trustees in early 2022.
The Strategic Plan Committee is particularly interested in why students choose to attend Columbia College. The top five reasons for attending Columbia College given by alumni survey respondents included:
- Ability to complete degree in a timely manner
- Size of college
- Specific degree programs
Current students shared a nearly identical response. Day Program students added attending because “I felt a connection to the college when I visited,” while Online and CC Global students mentioned the benefits of no book costs and no fees through the college’s Truition program.