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Leahy announces new planning council to take BC's measure

William P. Leahy, SJUniversity President William P. Leahy, SJ, has announced the start of a major strategic planning effort, extending across the University and over several years, that will assess Boston College's strengths and weaknesses and "scan the environment for opportunities."

Leahy made his announcement at the annual Faculty Convocation on September 4 in Robsham Theater. There he told the assembled faculty and administrators of his intention to appoint a University planning council during the fall semester composed of faculty, students, staff, and administrators. The council, he said, would also tap alumni and outside professionals for advice.

The new planning council follows a tradition at Boston College that goes back to the early 1970s. In those years, under dire financial conditions, a University-wide planning team appointed by President J. Donald Monan, SJ, developed a broad and ambitious academic plan and wove it within a rigorous budget strategy. The 1980s saw the creation of another University planning council, which similarly produced "Goals for the Nineties," a five-year strategic academic plan; "Advancing the Legacy: The New Millennium," was the work of a University planning council during the early 1990s.

In a sense, said Leahy, the challenges facing the new planning council are outgrowths of the progress fostered by those earlier initiatives. The University now successfully competes for top students, he said, who "come to BC with higher expectations" for faculty attention, facilities, and related services. "We are increasingly successful in recruitment of faculty," he said, "but [faculty] also arrive with greater expectations regarding support for their teaching and research."

The goals developed by the planning council will influence the next major development campaign. "While we will continue choosing niches and supporting certain areas for excellence," said Leahy, "I think it is also important to acknowledge that Boston College has to have some level of strength in all the programs it offers. If that cannot be the case, we should not offer the program." Although the University has lately broken its own records in fundraising, Leahy noted that "BC's endowment and fundraising efforts do not yet match our peers' nor our ambitious goals."

Boston College "has always offered a distinctive option in higher education," said Leahy. The charge of the University planning council will be to propose a plan that "makes us the best possible institution of higher education we can be," one that continues to offer "the richness of Catholic intellectual, religious, and social justice traditions."

Anna Marie Murphy


Photo: William P. Leahy, SJ. By Lee Pellegrini

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