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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

7 habits of a highly strategic college

Photo+by+Mark+Olencki
Photo by Mark Olencki

STUDENT VOICE —

7 HABITS OF HIGHLY STRATEGIC COLLEGES

(These are the opinions of an individual student and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the college offices for which this student works.)

Wofford does an excellent job of teaching its students to be lifelong learners, so I was eager to see what I could learn from the recent strategic plan, both from the text and from the ensuing discussions. What I found were several points organized around a few key themes. Indeed, the text and discussions seem to offer some implied tips for college management. Without further ado, I’ve organized these and distilled them into the following “7 Habits of Highly Strategic Colleges”:

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1. Be sure to use vague language like variants on the words “engage” (used 71 times), “leader” (47 times) and “sustainable” (31 times). It’s hard to argue against buzzwords, after all.

2. Differentiate yourself from your peer institutions (read: your economic competitors) by becoming more and more like them.

3. Stay true to your college’s historic Methodist roots by omitting any mention of Methodism, Christianity or your founder’s name from the text of your strategic plan.

4. Whenever someone questions the cost of your plan, simply respond that because your school is a nonprofit entity and because your goals are noble enough, cost does not really matter.

5. After working on your strategic plan for a year and a half, wait until a month before the final submission to your Board of Trustees to solicit feedback on a working draft from the students at large.

6. Tout the virtues of shared governance of the college by faculty, staff and administration, but do not include the largest group on campus — the student body— in that list.

7. In order to bolster community at your institution, create official residential cliques that stunt the development of friendships outside of participating students’ immediate social and academic circles. Do this under the banners of “living-learning communities” and a “residential Greek Village” for select underclassmen.

I wrote this satire not to be cynical or negative but because I believe that it’s a necessary medicine. I came to Wofford because I was drawn to the atmosphere here. I love this place. I love running into people unexpectedly on the sidewalk and catching up on life. I love, as an independent, being able to have quality conversations with people who are active in fraternities and sororities. If I had to redo my college search 100 times, I would choose Wofford 100 times again. And I want to see us all work together as a Wofford community to preserve what brought us here in the first place.

— Zack Morrow

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    Sam AtkinsonOct 4, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    As an 80 year old academic, I have seen to many professors who come in and start changing every thing, only to have their school/department go steadily downhill Wofford doesn’t need a visionary, it needs a Henry Nelson Snyder.