Leadership for a Changing World: Strategic Plan Progress

Faculty and Staff Update

December 2018

Dear Faculty and Staff Members,

Our work to advance Leadership for a Changing World, our 10-year strategic plan for Puget Sound, is well underway following endorsement by the board of trustees in October. I hope you enjoy this first in a series of updates to keep you informed about our progress and engaged in our work to be bold and forward-looking in meeting the needs of our students, our campus community, and the broader world.


Curriculum Task Force Appointed

The big vision for the strategic plan’s focus on the undergraduate curriculum is that all students will graduate with a well-integrated set of high-impact experiences that will assist them in preparing for work and life beyond college. The faculty has formed a task force to recommend a new framework for the undergraduate curriculum that will integrate the major, interdisciplinary pathways, experiential learning, and mentorship, with a recommendation due from the full faculty in May 2019. The 15 members of the committee are as follows, including two students who will be appointed by the ASUPS president in January. Thank you to all who are involved in this transformative work to benefit our current and future students.

  • Kris Bartanen, provost
  • Peggy Burge, humanities librarian and coordinator of teaching, learning, and digital humanities
  • David Chiu, associate professor, mathematics and computer science
  • Erin Colbert-White, assistant professor, philosophy
  • Sara Freeman, associate professor, theatre arts; chair, Faculty Senate
  • Dexter Gordon, professor, African American studies and communication studies
  • Darcy Irwin, visiting assistant professor, English
  • Diane Kelley, professor, French studies
  • Alisa Kessel, professor, politics and government
  • Jung Kim, associate professor, exercise science and neuroscience
  • Vicki Pastore, associate director of admission
  • Doug Sackman, professor, history
  • Dan Sherman, professor, environmental policy and decision making

Sounding Board

Some of our student-focused initiatives are already in place. Beginning with this fall’s entering first-year class, students now have access to an ePortfolio to better connect their classroom and cocurricular experiences across disciplines, courses, and semesters. The electronic portfolios provide a dynamic, online space for students to showcase academic work and share skills, interests, and projects with each other and the world. The portfolios are available both throughout students' academic careers and after graduation, assisting students in applying for graduate schools and jobs. 

Great Colleges To Work For

To advance our strategic goal to support and inspire our faculty and staff, Puget Sound will participate in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s national Great Colleges to Work For survey. The next national survey period begins in March 2019. Results will help us identify and prioritize areas of opportunity and give us a better sense of how we compare to our peer institutions. Look for additional information and an invitation to participate in the survey early next semester from Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Career and Employment Services Cindy Matern P'09, P'11.

Our colleagues in Student Affairs are also engaged in an assessment of student satisfaction with their campus experience. A survey was distributed by Residence Life following the Thanksgiving break, and we look forward to receiving results and benchmark data comparing Puget Sound to other colleges later in the spring. We will also continue to participate in the National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE).

Taking It on the Road

On Nov. 29, we kicked off our 12-city tour of alumni clubs to share with them our vision for Puget Sound’s future and excitement about what we will accomplish with the implementation of our 10-year strategic plan. We held our first event for 200 alumni, parents, and friends of Puget Sound at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, followed by an equally well-attended event on Dec. 4 at the Seattle Aquarium. This week, I look forward to meeting with Puget Sound constituents in Los Angeles and San Francisco. See photos from the Tacoma and Seattle events.

Environmental Sustainability

Our strategic plan calls for us to update institutional goals and commitments related to our long-standing commitment to environmental justice and sustainability. The investment subcommittee of Puget Sound’s board of trustees is reviewing the board's 2016 statement on divestment, in the context of prudent management of the university’s endowment and our commitment to promote environmental justice and sustainability. A recommendation will be made to the full board for its consideration in May.

Embracing Change

Developing and delivering on a new strategic plan requires tools and resources to help us engage changes in our work. “Embracing Change” will be the theme for our annual Professional Development and Enrichment Conference, Jan. 7–11. Make plans now to attend the campuswide Day of Learning on Jan. 8 (breakfast included!), and take advantage of the many special sessions that will be offered throughout the week. More information is available on the professional development website.


We challenge and support our students as they become broadly and deeply educated lifelong learners, prepared to create and serve the future and to become the world’s next generation of visionary leaders.