To the Marietta College Community:

Now that we have closed out a great academic year, it is time for work to begin in earnest on positioning Marietta College for greater success in this challenging higher-education environment, and I want to talk about that work with you. I have heard from stakeholders who are ready to begin leading this necessary change and I have heard from others who still have questions about changes we are proposing.

I welcome both of those types of feedback, as both are essential if we are to arrive at a set of actions that will have the support of the entire campus community — students, faculty, employees, administrators and the Board of Trustees. The campus-wide planning committee has over the past year developed a plan that we think is both bold and prudent, but we continue to welcome the constructive input of all who are interested in this institution’s future.

As you may know, the draft strategic plan is built around three key priorities, which are further broken down into 27 distinct initiatives. I believe each one will play a part in the accomplishing our goals: attracting more students, stabilizing our finances and building for the future. That said, no one expects to accomplish all 27 at once or even in the first year.

Here are the initiatives I see as the most urgent. I hope you will see one that inspires you to join the effort. Please contact the initiative champion if you are interested in helping.

  1. Make Marietta a “student-ready college.”
    1. For too long, colleges and universities have fretted that students come to college unprepared for success, and indeed this fact is reflected in the number of students who drop out. Instead of focusing on readiness factors that we cannot control, however, we propose to make our institution better equipped to give our students what they need to succeed. That could mean more opportunities for advising and mentoring and greater efforts to make all students feel welcomed and valued. Champions: Dr. Suzanne Walker, and Ellen Campbell,
  2. Redesign our website.
    1. The website is, of course, the front door through which most people get their first impression of Marietta, whether it is a prospective student, a parent or a high-school academic counselor. A website refresh will make that front door open to a clear set of academic and social offerings, organized to be attractive but also to highlight our strongest programs and tell our story in a way that is concise and easy to follow. Champion: Tom Perry,
  3. Boost career services.
    1. While this might sound like something that happens at the end of someone’s college career, it cannot be any more. The high cost of higher education today means that students and their families need to have confidence that they will find their way to rewarding careers. Working with students on career planning relatively early could prevent the discouragement and uncertainty that can lead to dropping out. Champion: Andrew Smith, and Dr. Janet Bland,
  4. Make it easier to transfer to Marietta.
    1. More and more Ohio students choose to start their college careers at a community college or other institution. When they become ready to make the move to a traditional four-year institution, transferring to Marietta needs to be seamless. This could mean adjusting some of our liberal-arts core courses to meet agreed-upon statewide transfer requirements. Champion: Scot Schaeffer,

These represent just the beginning of the improvements that will make Marietta College stronger. I invite you to review all 27 initiatives here. I hope you’ll find one or two that inspire you and come forward to help make it happen. Please let us know how you want to help by filling out the feedback form, and please provide your name.

Bring Forth a Pioneer!

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management