After nearly a year of discussion and collaboration among many departments of the college, the IC20/20 Steering Committee wrote a final draft of the proposal and presented it to faculty, students and staff at Ithaca College this week.
The committee collected feedback at an all-faculty meeting Sunday and staff and student meetings Tuesday. There will be a second staff meeting today. The committee will now gather comments to write another version of the document and present it to President Tom Rochon and President’s Council. After Rochon makes edits to the plan, the Steering Committee will submit the proposal to the Board of Trustees by May 4 for approval.
From November through April, the Steering Committee collected and edited nearly 300 pages of research from eight task forces, standing committees and administrative offices into one visionary document. The latest IC20/20 draft consists of seven objectives with several subinitiatives and steps of action to implement the college’s vision for the next nine years.
Greg Woodward, interim provost and IC20/20 Steering Committee chair, said the budget for the plan could cost anywhere from $100 to $200 million, but the exact amount is unknown because the document is still unsettled.
After speaking with each school and department at the college, Woodward said the Liberal Education task force is drafting a model of the proposal’s first objective to create a core liberal arts and integrative curriculum. He said the group will submit its concept to the Steering Committee by April 25.
Woodward said the initiative will reshape the general education core that all schools have at the college to include scheduled advising sessions, mandatory academic writing and first-year seminar courses, and a portfolio requirement. He said students will choose between five and seven “themes” such as sustainability or “great books” by taking different courses from each school.
Leslie Lewis, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences and co-chair of the Liberal Education task force, said the goal of the education core is to get students engaged in general course requirements.
“A lot of times our approach to those courses, and we as faculty members are also saying this, ‘Let’s get that gen ed out of the way,’” she said. “That is absolutely the attitude we need to be correcting.”
Jennifer Haywood, associate professor of music education, and co-chair of the Steering Committee, said students will be interested in the proposal’s call for more international programs and expanded residential living communities. While she recognizes students and faculty have concerns about specific details, Haywood said IC20/20 is not a specific blueprint.
“It’s intended to be a vision of where we hope to become by the year 2020,” she said.
Woodward said the college already has bugun to pilot several of the document’s national and international initiatives. Starting this fall, 12 business and integrated marking communications students will study and intern at a center the college rented in New York City.
Because IC20/20 is a visionary, living document, he said, the initiatives will not happen immediately, as the college will continue to refine the goals outlined in the plan.
“Students will only see smallish changes because over time it will add up to quite a significant change,” he said. “You have to start somewhere.”
Senior Kevin Fish, Student Government Association president, served on the IC20/20 Steering Committee. He said student feedback was taken into equal consideration with other faculty and staff.
Besides the initiatives to expand the college’s national and international opportunities, Fish said he is excited to set a common, freshman living experience because he regrets not living in first-year housing himself.
“Ithaca College lacks a lot of shared experiences,” he said. “We have all of these individual things happening, but it’s very rare that we can say, ‘We were all part of that as freshmen.”
About 100 faculty members attended the meeting Sunday, where Woodward presented key aspects of the document and split the group into three sessions to discuss specific initiatives that interested them.
During a question-and-answer portion of the meeting, some faculty expressed concerns that the draft and implementation process was too fast.
Woodward said the pace of the project is necessary because the college’s past strategic plan expired, and the Board of Trustees asked the college to adopt a new vision. Along with changes in the economy and technology, Woodward said it is time for the college to evolve.
About 20 students attended the student forum Tuesday, where Woodward presented key objectives and answered several questions from students. Though the turnout was low, Woodward said it was better than he originally thought it might be.
Much of the meeting discussed diversity, an objective Woodward said is the most expensive ongoing component because the college will need to increase financial aid and its recruiting base for ALANA and international students. One student voiced frustration at the meeting that the college’s diversity statement was long overdue and wouldn’t match the college’s actual future action.
Sophomore Heather Morihara, who attended the student meeting, said she wishes she had become involved with the IC20/20 committees.
“The restructuring of all the general education requirements is really cool,” Morihara said. “It’s something really different that will add a whole different element to the school.”
Fish said he encourages students to read the IC20/20 document because it will ultimately affect the college’s vision for the next 10 years.
“It will be extremely impactful,” Fish said. “It’s going to change how the college is viewed on a national standard for years to come.”