Mount Holyoke Strategic Planning Process
Commission Formed to Explore Collaborative Governance Model for Alumnae Association and Mount Holyoke College
In February, the Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees voted to form a commission to explore the feasibility of alternative structures for collaboration between the College and the Association that fit the unique needs of Mount Holyoke. Lynn Pasquerella ’80, president of Mount Holyoke College, and Marcia Brumit Kropf ’67, president of the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, will co-chair the commission, which will also include:
- V. Radley Emes ’00, chair of the Association Nominating Committee, Alumnae Association Board of Directors
- Ashanta Evans-Blackwell ’95, clerk, Alumnae Association Board of Directors and former member of the Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees
- Shannon Gurek, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, Mount Holyoke College
- Nancy Bellows Perez ’76, interim executive director of the Alumnae Association and former director at large of the Alumnae Association Board of Directors
- Sally Sutherland, senior lecturer in English and former senior advisor to the President, Mount Holyoke College
- Marija Tesla ’11, former president of the Mount Holyoke College Student Government Association and former member of the Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees
Establishing a commission grew out of the College’s strategic planning process, which included the formation of six working groups charged with investigating different issues and challenges, including collaborative governance between the Alumnae Association and the College. As part of the work, the group gathered publicly available information about alumni relations structures at seven sibling colleges (Amherst, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley) and went on to conduct in-depth interviews with relevant key people at five of those schools (Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley).
The benchmarking exercise was especially enlightening. The working group learned there is a wide range of models for organizational collaboration, with each college developing its own structure for integrated, collaborative partnership for managing alumnae relations, resulting in enhanced opportunities for the alumnae voice to be included in goal-setting and planning. The benchmarking also highlighted the importance of staff at the association and staff at the college meeting at the same decision-making table in order to understand the interconnectedness of their work, allow for development and timely execution of joint strategies and objectives, and better leverage resources, all of which results in better overall outcomes.
The working group recommended establishing a commission to design a collaborative governance model that redefines how the work of alumnae relations is done on campus; a model that truly enables the College and the Association to have a more unified approach in engaging its large and diverse alumnae constituency with a focus on five key areas ripe for improved collaboration and coordination: 1) event management, 2) communications and marketing, 3) information management, 4) volunteer management, and 5) budgetary transparency.
Working Group Members
- Chau Ly ’97, chair, College trustee, Strategic Planning Committee member
- Carly Kite, director of strategic marketing and communications at the College
- Marcia Brumit Kropf ’67, president of the Alumnae Association, College trustee, Strategic Planning Committee member
- Eva Paus, director of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and professor of economics
- Nancy Bellows Perez ’76, recently appointed interim executive director of the Alumnae Association and former director at large of the Alumnae Association Board of Directors
- Jill Stern ’84, director of The Mount Holyoke Fund and Advancement Communications
- Sally Sutherland, senior lecturer in English
The commission will work over the next few months and make recommendations to the College Board of Trustees and the Association Board of Directors. Some alumnae have asked about the search for a new executive director of the Association. The Association plans to put a search committee in place following the commission’s work so that there is a clear understanding of the expectations for the position and the necessary skill sets and experience.
March 31, 2016