Sept. 9, 2021
Dear Faculty and Staff,
It has been so wonderful to see campus buzzing with activity this week as students begin their first week of class. While we adapt to the changes in our environment and lives due to COVID-19, I hope you continue to feel healthy and safe with the many precautions and protocols implemented for the fall, but also reenergized by the opportunity to learn, teach and work together with our students in classrooms and offices once again.
Today, I’d like to extend an invitation to all faculty and staff to join me and the President’s Cabinet at a town hall for all faculty and staff on September 28 at 2:00 pm in Koumantzelis (with options for both in-person and remote attendance). In this town hall, Geoff Bartlett will share updates with the community on COVID-19 as we begin the new academic year, Carolina Figueroa will discuss the newly arrived Class of 2025, and I will share details about our plans for a strategic positioning process that will kick off this fall.
By now, I’ve had the chance to meet with every staff division on campus, with many members of the faculty, and with the General Faculty last week in Wilder. In each of those meetings and gatherings, I have shared some initial thoughts that have been on my mind since arriving on campus in June about our university’s strategic positioning in the decade ahead. The feedback I’ve received from members of the community has been valuable, enlightening and encouraging.
Over the 2021-22 academic year, we will implement a strategic positioning process that will involve the entire university community. The process will be informed by the Reinventing Business Education: A Future of Leadership plan that this community came together to build in 2018, but it must consider our place as a transformative business university in the current moment.
The proliferation of technology and low-cost competitors, demographic shifts, price point sensitivities and questions as to the very value and efficacy of residential-based higher education have redefined the higher education marketplace. Moreover, the pandemic has laid bare many of the country’s inadequacies – including many institutions of higher education – in supporting its most vulnerable communities. Now is the time for Bentley University to renew our position as a leader and innovator in preparing students for a 21st century economy. Fortunately, innovation and reinvention are part of Bentley’s DNA, and it’s time for our students, faculty, staff, trustees and other community members to come together to articulate a new vision for the next decade that reflects the challenges and opportunities we’re facing.
In launching a new strategic positioning process, we are committed to ushering in an exciting period of reimagination and transformation for Bentley. To help guide our community-driven process, we have engaged a team from Huron Consulting Group that will help coordinate the efforts of multiple committees, provide industry benchmarking, data and trends, and incorporate best practices into every step we take to ensure we leave no stone unturned in engaging every member of this community in the year ahead.
Higher education is evolving, and the disruptions and competitive challenges that have defined our marketplace for so many years afford us myriad new opportunities to serve our students and support our most critical stakeholders more effectively. This is the time to seize them, and I believe that we are ready to do so.
I look forward to seeing you at the town hall on September 28 to hear updates from Geoff and Carolina and share more with you about the upcoming strategic planning process that will guide our path forward.