It’s easy to find champions of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education — and I’m one of them. Parents and students enjoy hearing about the career opportunities and potential salaries that come with this type of training.

What I also make sure they hear from me and understand after our conversation is that it is important that their education is grounded in the liberal arts. I emphasize that our successful alumni base and leaders of industry want employees who have a STEAM education. Notice that an “A” has been added to represent the Arts.

This cements our conviction to provide a liberal arts education for the purpose of developing and nurturing a student’s ability to analyze, question, communicate and be innovative. I know that now it is time for all of us at Marietta College and in the Marietta family to analyze, question, communicate and identify innovative ways of how we can become even better as we look toward the future.

I have worked closely with students, faculty and staff this semester to make sure we are making Marietta College a better place now and for years to come through a strategic planning process. It didn’t take me too long to learn how much the people here love Marietta College. Every conversation was centered on making the student experience better.

We have completed an early draft, which was shared with the Board of Trustees in October. After receiving their valuable feedback, I am focused on completing a final plan that will help lead us from 2017 to 2022 — and I will share it with you in January 2017. Our future is as bright as ever, and it is important that our next strategic plan provide a clear path to sustained success. Marietta College alumni continue to make us proud, and each year our graduates enter into a global society that demands their very best. We have a responsibility to provide each of them with the skills and experiences necessary to succeed in the world of work, but also in their lives. We are committed to delivering this type of education now and into the future.