You are here

Strategic Planning Process

Important Updates (December 2018)

Bentley Beliefs Working Group

The Cabinet has nominated a cross-divisional Working Group to analyze the data about the Bentley Beliefs gathered earlier this year through our community survey and campus forums and to update those Beliefs into a set of core values for our community of students, faculty and staff. The charge to the Working Group is as follows:

This cross-divisional group is charged with analyzing the feedback from the survey and focus groups and developing a draft of new language for the Bentley Beliefs by the end of January 2019. Given the dozens of recommendations we received in the survey responses, it is worth considering an expansion of the current Bentley Beliefs. New language in the Bentley Beliefs could more clearly address how the institution’s values align with its mission. It’s important to note that decisions to select new values should be done in concert with the current culture, so as to avoid a large disconnect between what we say and what we actually do. Although values should be aspirational, they should also not be so far from the core of the current organization that they become discounted.

The Working Group is comprised of: Ryan Bouldin (Natural and Applied Sciences); Gaby Cardoza (Strategic Communications); Terry Cronin (Advancement); Mateo Cruz (Management); Rachel Ford (Information Technology); Mahendra Gujarathi (Accountancy); Natalie Hayes (Administration and Finance); Alex Hirs (Student Affairs); Emma Ingram (Enrollment Management); Jessica Kenerson (Student Affairs); Sean Kerrigan (Marketing); John McElhenny (Strategic Communications); Diane McNamara (Human Resources); Bridget McShane (Advancement); Nivia Mogan (Enrollment Management); and Clarissa Sawyer (Natural and Applied Sciences).

The Working Group will return a recommendation on the new set of Bentley Beliefs to the Cabinet by the end of January 2019, in time for it to be shared at the next General Staff and General Faculty meetings.

Undergraduate Student Experience Task Force

The most important theme to emerge from the Strategic Planning exercises to date has been related to the Undergraduate Student Experience. This review is the university’s number one strategic goal, involving a review of our curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular approaches.

To lead this review, President Davis-Blake asked Provost Lynne Rosansky and Vice President for Student Affairs Andrew Shepardson to co-chair a task force focused on creating a highly innovative and distinctive co-curricular and extra-curricular student experience. The committee will also include Bentley’s two deans, Donna Maria Blancero and Rick Oches, Janet Ehl (Career Services), Bill Gribbons (IDCC), Jessica Kenerson (Student Affairs) and Jonathan White (BSLCE). The Undergraduate Student Experience Task Force has the following charge:

For today’s university student, a significant amount of learning, growth and development occurs outside of the classroom, including in residence halls, student organizations and co-curricular instruction such as that offered by Career Services. Currently, these learning and development opportunities are not designed or coordinated across the entire student experience in a holistic manner. And while some activities have learning goals, many do not, and there are no institutional learning goals for the overall out of classroom Bentley experience. The purpose of the Undergraduate Student Experience Task Force is to design an end-to-end undergraduate student experience that supports the learning goals developed by the faculty. The experience begins when students first contact Bentley about admission and continues beyond Commencement. The Task Force will coordinate and align closely with the group appointed by the Senate Planning Committee to work on the next phase of curriculum development, through a formal coordinating process to be developed once that group is named. The overarching goal of the entire process is to ensure that coordinated achievement of learning outcomes through curricular, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities will create a powerful, transformative learning experience for each undergraduate student.

Vice President for External Relations Search

The second named strategic goal is a new approach to Integrated External Relations. In November, President Davis-Blake announced structural changes involving Career Services, Executive Education and the Center for Women and Business. Now, a search committee comprised of Cabinet members and faculty leadership who are familiar with the activities of this new division will begin a national search for our new Vice President for External Relations, with the assistance of the consulting firm Korn Ferry. The committee members will be Donna Maria Blancero, Maureen Flores, Chris Joyce and Judy Malone, with George Cangiano staffing the search. Given the critical importance of this position, President Davis-Blake will chair this search.

Korn Ferry will visit campus to meet with the search committee and additional faculty and staff members. The search will be opened in early 2019, with the goal of filling the role with a highly qualified candidate by the end of the academic year.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

As the university continues to identify its Strategic Goals, diversity and inclusion must be interwoven in all we do. Bentley’s commitment as an institution to leveraging the power of diverse identities and perspectives has been reaffirmed throughout the Strategic Planning Process. A diverse and inclusive campus is not simply an objective to achieve, it is an enabling feature that will allow Bentley to succeed in every other aspect of building a university for the future.

As a part of that commitment, President Davis-Blake realigned the Office of Diversity and Inclusion so that Katie Lampley will report directly to the President. Katie has stepped into her new role as Executive Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion with tremendous success. In October, the physical Office of Diversity and Inclusion was moved into a new, centrally-located and high-traffic area on campus in the heart of LaCava close to Undergraduate Admissions. In addition to the work Katie does across campus, she has also been assisting the Cabinet and the President to create training opportunities related to unconscious bias and cultural differences.


Announcing Bentley’s Strategic Planning Process (September 2018)

As we begin a new year, a new presidency and Bentley University’s second century, it is time for all members of our community to come together, share ideas, test our limits and develop a new and comprehensive strategic plan—one that will move Bentley to the next level of excellence and recognition in business education. Our view of business education is more expansive than many of our peers because it is fully grounded in the humanities, natural and social sciences and the ongoing role of technology in changing our world. We have developed this type of education because we understand that our role as a university is not only to train graduates to succeed in their first jobs but, more importantly, to develop graduates into leaders who have a broad, multidisciplinary perspective and the ethical insight and moral courage to address the business and societal problems not only of today, but of tomorrow.


What’s the process?

This will be a fully inclusive process, providing opportunities for faculty, staff and students to help shape Bentley’s future direction and to offer important input along the way. Throughout this process, we will focus on scholarly and teaching excellence, our commitment to student learning and success and on building a shared vision of the role we want to play in the broader landscape of higher education.

To begin the first phase of this iterative process, President Davis-Blake asked EAB, an educational consulting firm well-known and respected for its work in higher education, to visit Bentley and lead two days of facilitated campus dialogues. EAB will synthesize what we learned in these dialogues, and those results will be shared with all of you. Building on the input you provide, the Cabinet will design the next step in the process (for example, we might need to collect additional data about the feasibility of a set of ideas, or we may need to form a small, short-term working group to suggest ways that we might approach a particular challenge).

Each step in the process will include an opportunity for the members of our community to provide feedback on the emerging elements of the plan so that we can build the plan collectively. This will include consultation and updates with the Provost’s Council, the Faculty Senate and each of our divisions. The results of each step in the process, summaries of any data we collect and status updates will be posted on a strategic planning website so that you can see what we have already done and what we are currently working on. Ultimately, we expect to have a clear overarching direction, a small set of focused strategic goals, and related operational tactics in place by May 2019, so that we are prepared by Fall 2019 to begin implementing the plan.


Engaging in the Year Ahead

President Davis-Blake invited the entire community to engage fully throughout this Strategic Planning Process. The year ahead will be filled with teaching and learning inside and outside of the classroom, scholarship and research, important community celebrations and fun annual traditions. But this strategic planning process is the only activity that will determine the shape and direction of our university for years and even decades to come. We will only be able to achieve our aspirations for what Bentley can and should be if faculty, staff, students and the entire community take part. 

All information and data from the university’s strategic planning process will be posted to this page. Updates will also be shared with the community by email. If you have any questions, ideas, or feedback, contact


Strategic Planning Kickoff:  September 20-21, 2018

Over 400 faculty and staff attended 10 separate sessions over two days with representatives from EAB. The sessions asked each participant to think about Bentley’s newspaper headlines of the future. Then, each group was tasked with identifying three key success factors that would be required for Bentley to achieve the stated headline.

The EAB presentation used at these sessions is available to download HERE

At the conclusion of these sessions, EAB consultants Davis Attis and Joe Infantino, based on their very preliminary review of the data, provided President Davis-Blake and Provost Rosansky with early impressions of the major themes that emerged from the group discussions. Those were:

  1. Our Values: there was a sense that our values are not only very important to us but that they are a mark of distinction that differentiates our students from other students who study business, as well as our campus culture from other campuses.
  2. Undergraduate Curriculum: there was a strong desire for a revised undergraduate curriculum that is (a) more fully integrated across Arts and Sciences and Business; (b) much more flexible; (c) innovative in content and structure and also includes preparation in newer areas of importance to our graduates (e.g., artificial intelligence, FinTech); (d) provides a foundation for lifelong learning for our students; and (e) involves our alumni in some parts of curricular design and delivery.
  3. Philanthropy: there was a sentiment that Bentley deserves strong philanthropic support. The specifics of what might motivate a philanthropic gift were not always articulated. 


Strategic Planning Kickoff Results: October 22

On October 22, the results of the first phase of Bentley’s Strategic Planning Process were returned by EAB and shared with the community. Links to this data are available in four separate documents.

  1. The first document is the raw data from each of the ten sessions. It includes all headlines and critical success factors that were brainstormed. Download the Headlines and Critical Success Factors.
  2. The second document summarizes those headlines and critical success factors into broad themes, displayed graphically. These graphs give us the ideas that were most common across all of the headlines and critical success factors. Download Key Themes in the Headlines and Critical Success Factors.
  3. The third document shows, in detail, which themes EAB assigned to each headline and critical success factor. Download Detailed Analysis Linking Headlines and Critical Success Factors to Key Themes.
  4. The fourth document is a word cloud that provides a visual representation of everything relayed to EAB at these September sessions. See the Word Cloud of Feedback From Faculty and Staff.


Strategic Planning Exercise with the Global Alumni Board, Trustees and Students

In October and November, the Strategic Planning headline exercise was replicated for three more core groups: the Global Alumni Board, the Board of Trustees and students on campus. At each session, the presentation by EAB was replicated and participants were tasked with imagining Bentley’s newspaper headlines of the future, along with accompanying key success factors. The data from these sessions are now available.

  1. Headlines and Key Success Factors from the Global Alumni Board (October 20, 2018).
  2. Headlines and Key Success Factors from the Board of Trustees (October 26, 2018).
  3. Analyzing the Board’s Visions for Bentley’s Future.
  4. Details of which themes EAB assigned to each headline and critical success factor for Board of Trustees.
  5. Headlines and Key Success Factors from Students (October 31 and November 1, 2018).


Community Survey/Sessions on our Values and the Bentley Beliefs

Because our shared values should guide all that we do during the strategic planning process, we invited our entire community to explore and comment on our values through an online survey. In the last week of October, we held two open forums on the Bentley Beliefs hosted by Jessica Kenerson (Director of Student Affairs), Alex Hirs (Assistant Director of Strategic Initiatives) and Mateo Cruz (Lecturer in the Management Department).

About 230 members of the Bentley Community completed the survey to evaluate the four current Beliefs and propose ideas for new language. Survey participants rated the current Beliefs on a 5-point Likert scale, and the scores were overwhelmingly positive. Of the current Beliefs, a commitment to “integrity and honesty” was ranked the most favorably with an aggregate score of 4.73. “Respect” (4.69) landed in the middle, with “diversity and inclusion” and “learning and growth” tying for the lowest score (4.65). Nearly 100 of the participants shared ideas for new Beliefs.

The data and graphs from that online survey are available here.

After reviewing the quantitative data, Jessica, Alex and Mateo facilitated two sessions with the intent of diving deeper into three key areas: reflecting on the current Beliefs; exploring aspirational Beliefs; and navigating basic assumptions about campus. The participants presented an array of perspectives in these sessions.

Next Steps:

  1. Responses from the facilitated sessions will be coded and shared when available.
  2. Alumni will be invited to participate in the Strategic Planning Exercise at a location in downtown Boston. The information from this session will be added to the data available on this website.
  3. Key recruiters will also be invited to participate in the Strategic Planning Exercise. We hope to be able to conduct the exercise with our recruiters before the end of the year.
  4. The data from our inauguration tree (staff workshop exercise about the strengths of Bentley and aspirations for the future) is being recorded and coded. The responses will be shared when the coding is complete.
  5. The Cabinet will be reviewing the complete data set and will develop the next phase of our Strategic Planning Process.