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Dear Members of the Canisius Community:

Last spring, I presented to the college’s Board of Trustees a proposal to embark on a new round of strategic planning for Canisius.  The time was right, given that I was completing my fifth year as President and the college had completed the Middle States reaccreditation process.  The board agreed and I tasked the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) to begin working with the “known” inputs of the next plan, resulting from our strategic assessment work since 2012 and the Middle States accreditation report.

I also asked the SPC to design a process in which the entire Canisius community could weigh in on the development of a new vision for Canisius that would be part of the new strategic plan.  In August, we launched the Vision Project and invited all of our stakeholders to consider some “big questions” about the future of Canisius.  The Board of Trustees also met this month to provide some early direction for the strategic planning process.  The Board considered the college’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and felt that we needed to move away from the reactionary strategies of the past and position ourselves to keep up with the rapid pace of change and the implications of technology.  They also want us to explore new approaches to teaching and learning in ways that animate our Catholic, Jesuit mission and identity, first and foremost through academic excellence, but also with a commitment to service and justice.

The time is right to bring the campus community together to consider these themes and begin to craft a new vision and strategy for the future.  Toward that end, the SPC will host a campus-wide forum on the development of Canisius’ strategic plan on November 19, 2015 from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Montante Cultural Center.  Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend to hear about progress made to date and participate in the drafting work.

In addition to the forum, I urge you to continue to consider the “big questions” posed by the Vision Project.  A subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Committee is reviewing the submissions and the conversations around these themes are taking place in differing forms across schools and divisions.  We are also considering alternative ways – such as online blogs – for those who wish to carry on a dialogue in a more public format. Members of the faculty are also encouraged to engage in the affinity group meetings hosted by Dr. Peg McCarthy to support the development of the Academic Affairs Strategic Plan. Even when all of the planning is completed, I hope that the creativity and conversation around questions like these will carry on.

I hope that you will make every effort to attend the forum and add your voice to the vision and strategy for the future of Canisius.

Thank you.

Submitted by: John J. Hurley, president, Canisius College