Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Strategic Plan

 Manhattanville College Strategic Plan


Please Note:  The following is a synopsis of the full Strategic Plan.


Manhattanville College's Mission is to educate students to be ethical and socially responsible leaders in a global community.

We are committed to:

• Ensuring the intellectual, ethical, and social development of each student within a community of engaged scholars and teachers;

• Encouraging each student to develop as an independent and creative thinker in pursuing career and personal goals; and

• Providing a diverse, inclusive, and nurturing environment that develops in each student a commitment to service and leadership within a global community.


In the second decade of the 21st Century, Manhattanville College has been engaged in an intense period of self-examination and a search for new direction. Spurred by the retirement of President Richard Berman, preparations for a decennial review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and changes in senior leadership across the institution, Manhattanville has engaged in important and difficult conversations about its ongoing identity and mission in a higher education landscape that has been re-defined by the economic recession of 2008, the rising costs of delivering a liberal arts education, and the rapid growth of alternative sources for education.

Manhattanville College is pleased to present a major outcome of these conversations, its Strategic Plan for 2009-2014. This document draws on a wealth of information produced by the institution itself, including the Middle States Self Study, the Foundations of Excellence study of the First-Year Experience, a facilities plan, documents and notes from two faculty retreats and a staff retreat, the 2005 strategic plan produced by faculty, and technology and admissions evaluations produced by consultants. It connects the College's mission and a number of strategy-minded initiatives that were underway as the 2009-2010 academic year commenced; it creates a framework in which to prioritize those initiatives as well as others that have emerged during 2010-11 and 2011-12; and it provides a framework for considering and prioritizing new initiatives that will emerge as the College moves toward the Centennial of its Charter in 2017.

Manhattanville College is committing to a process whereby members of its community can propose and explore new and potentially bold initiatives that build on our existing strengths, expand our curricular footprint, and increase our impact within the community at large. Such ideas include: (1) better use of our Purchase campus between semesters for special sessions, campus, and other mission-related and revenue-producing activities, (2) new academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that broaden the pool of students who apply to the College, and (3) exploration of the long-range potential for new facilities.


The Strategic Thinking and Institutional Planning (STIP) committee chaired by President Molly Easo Smith from 2009 to 2011, and then the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) chaired by Interim President Jon Strauss from 2011-12 initiated conversations that led to the creation of this Strategic Plan. Membership in STIP and SPC was drawn broadly from across the College and included the Chair of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and students (appendix 1). This group consulted planning documents created by a wide variety of campus groups (appendix 2). The College's mission statement (see above) was used to categorize initiatives according to their relationship to the mission. These initiatives were further characterized by the particular Division of the College with primary responsibility for their implementation. The resulting matrix was used to spur conversations within the SPC, and then among faculty, staff, students, and the Board of Trustees at a series of meetings during the 2011-12 academic year. Once these groups provided feedback on the broad goals of the Strategic Plan, subcommittees of the SPC representing each Division of the College produced a Divisional mission statement, an action plan, and a group of Key Performance Indicators to be used to measure progress toward goals.

The College has worked toward realizing the goals of the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan while these conversations have been ongoing. It has made substantial progress toward achieving many of the goals while recognizing that others are just beginning to be addressed or will need to be incorporated into the next round of planning. Nonetheless, this Strategic Plan represents an important step forward for the College as it seeks to recruit a new President who will move the College forward to its Centennial.


Manhattanville College will achieve distinction as an independent liberal arts college and community-centered graduate school in the greater New York area through:

1. Creating Excellent and Innovative Academic Programs that Connect the Liberal Arts to Life: Manhattanville College will be a nationally known institution for its ongoing commitment to Reflective and Integrative learning, as exemplified by the Manhattanville Portfolio System. By combining this commitment with the implementation of mission-centered general education; the further development of career-centered Masters and Doctoral degrees, including 5-year programs that articulate into our undergraduate degrees; creative use of technology; and the expansion of experiential learning opportunities, Manhattanville will be a leader in promoting the centrality of the liberal arts to career success for its students.

2. Attracting, Involving, and Transforming Students: Manhattanville College will remain committed to providing a compelling value proposition by preparing its students for success in the 21st Century. The campus's close proximity to New York City will allow the College to continue to use the city as a living laboratory for understanding and engaging in the world. Through its robust advising system and its support services, the College will remain dedicated to advocating for students throughout their entire careers/lives.

3. Supporting and Celebrating the College and its larger Community: Manhattanville College will strengthen the connections among its constituents and friends within the College and in the larger community. By increasing opportunities to celebrate our accomplishments and to share our expertise with our neighbors, Manhattanville College will seek support for its mission from all available sources in order to elevate the quality of a Manhattanville education for all who desire it.

4. Strengthening Institutional Leadership and Infrastructure: In support of the preceding goals, Manhattanville College will build and maintain strong professional leadership among faculty, staff, and administration. Leadership will be supported by robust system infrastructure, particularly in information technology and financial management reporting, enabling the efficient dissemination and use of relevant data across the various units of the College for sound data-driven decision-making. For all these laudable goals to be achieved, however, it will be absolutely essential that financial operations be sustainable; i.e., over time, and preferably year by year, operating expenses will not exceed operating revenues and capital expenses will only be committed and incurred from assured funding from reliable sources.


A number of initiatives have been underway since 2009-2010, and more have been added as the planning process has gone forward. The following lists represent the top priorities of the College under the four broad categories outlined above.

1. Creating Excellent and Innovative Academic Programs that Connect the Liberal Arts to Life: In support of this goal, the College is currently:

a. Introducing e-Portfolio software as a means to expand the meaningful use of the Manhattanville Portfolio System in reflective and integrative learning.

b. Founding a Center for Teaching and Learning to support faculty development.

c. Creating a revitalized General Education curriculum that will strengthen the connection between the College's mission and its curriculum.

d. Expanding our suite of 5-year BA/BS to MA/MFA/MAT/MS articulation programs that connect our liberal arts undergraduate strengths with strong career-oriented graduate offerings that serve the needs of our community.

e. Strengthening and expanding the scope of its graduate programs to serve the community through initiatives such as the School of Education's Health and Wellness program and its Changing Suburbs Institute; and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies' Center for Risk Management and its new Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health Programs.

f. Develop an Academic-Athletic Partnership program.

g. Exploring the use of online instruction for graduate and non-traditional students.

2. Attracting, Involving, and Transforming Students: The College demonstrates this commitment through the following actions:

a. Developing leveraging models based on student outcome data in order to recruit those students who are best able to take advantage of Manhattanville's programs, while assuring adequate net revenue to support those programs.

b. Expanding and integrating a broad selection of study abroad, community service and experiential learning opportunities, delivered both on and off campus, into the general education curriculum, the major curriculum, and the graduate curriculum.

c. Pursuing its collaboration with the Duchesne Alliance to develop novel opportunities for Manhattanville College students to become involved with faculty and students from our partner institutions.

d. Strengthening student support services and extending these services to graduate students, by both redesigning curriculum and program spaces to meet the needs of 21st century students.

e. Providing support for all students and alumni, both undergraduate and graduate, through a variety of channels, particularly the Center for Career Development, as they seek to translate their college careers into lifetime careers.

f. Supporting a 20-sport Athletic Department that attracts high-caliber students and athletes and that provides a unique extracurricular opportunity to compete at the highest level of Division III while serving as an ambassador for the school at local, regional and national levels.

3. Supporting and Celebrating the College and its larger Community: In support of this goal, the College is currently:

a. Re-Branding the College and creating a new marketing and communications strategy, using print, web, and social media.

b. Creating new opportunities for students, faculty and staff to interact in formal (Convocation), fun (athletic events, bonfires) and informal (Pub events) settings.

c. Fostering opportunities to better celebrate Athletics within the college community at large by enhancing the fan experience at games though improved seating and access to fields; utilizing visual displays throughout campus to celebrate student-athlete achievements; and increasing community support though the use of fan buses.

d. Constructing a Welcome Center in the Castle.

e. Creating custom learning opportunities in the community through efforts such the School of Education's Changing Suburbs Institute and Professional Development Schools, and through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies' executive and continuing education programs.

f. Actively engaging alumni in the College, through their participation in events such as Fall Fest, Backpack to Briefcase, and guest speaker events, as well as through improved alumni-specific events such as Reunion.

g. Expanding our efforts at fundraising through foundation and government grants, such as Title III "Strengthening Institutions" and the Alden Trust.

h. Undergoing capital improvements with the support from reserves, individual donors (N. King), Foundations (Anonymous), and corporate partners.

4. Strengthening Institutional Leadership and Infrastructure: To facilitate institutional strength and leadership, the College is currently:

a. Recruiting new faculty through funds freed by the Voluntary Phased Retirement Program; creating a competitive salary program for faculty; implementing a job classification system for staff that assures equitable salaries and opportunities to reward outstanding performance.

b. Investing in faculty and staff development, through both formal training and broader involvement in College-wide decision-making processes.

c. Developing an Office of Institutional Effectiveness, partnered with Institutional Research, to develop, support and coordinate ongoing processes of assessment across the institution.

d. Fully implementing its student information system, to enable more robust reporting for data-driven decision-making and better communication and cooperation across the College.

e. Implementing systems such as a student early-alert system and a degree audit system in order to strengthen the use of data and technology to support student success.

f. Engaging all constituencies in a concerted effort to achieve and maintain the financial sustainability of the College.