Looking to the Future: Opportunities for the Next President
To sustain its momentum, Washington and Lee seeks a president who will provide strategic vision and community leadership.
Spearhead W&L's Next Strategic Plan
Leading an inclusive process in partnership with the board, and with thoughtful attention to the ideas of W&L's many constituencies, Washington and Lee's incoming president will be asked to guide the university in identifying a crucial set of institutional priorities and articulating a strategic plan for their achievement. Most of the objectives set forth in the current strategic plan have been satisfied, with support from Honor Our Past, Build Our Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee. The community will look to the president to set a collaborative tone for the next planning process, to provide vision for what an exceptional 21st-century education can and should be, and to give voice to the distinctive excellence that W&L should strive to offer in this context.
Balance Needs and Priorities Within W&L's Academic Program
In partnership with the faculty, deans and provost, W&L's next president will need to address pressure points and complex issues of balance within the university's curriculum and the institutional framework that supports it. These challenges include the balance between traditional departmental and disciplinary structures and the resources and structures available to facilitate interdisciplinary study. They include recent growth in the sciences and the increasing demand for majors in the Williams School. W&L has a record of innovative approaches to such issues, such as providing rigorous study abroad opportunities as part of its Spring Term, when time away will not conflict with commitments and activities on campus.
Strengthen a Diverse, Inclusive and Welcoming Community
Washington and Lee takes justifiable pride in being a warm, welcoming place, where people know each other personally, speak as they meet on the campus, and treat each other with respect, civility, honor and integrity. Increasing diversity in all its forms within this community has been a priority for the university, and this will continue to be a focus for W&L's next president. While the Johnson Scholarship Program and other efforts have strengthened the university's ability to recruit and enroll economically disadvantaged students, full participation in Greek life and other campus traditions can sometimes present challenges to students with limited means. W&L has had success in hiring diverse faculty, but it has been more difficult to retain them in the setting of a small Virginia town. Advancing W&L's commitment to being a genuinely inclusive and diverse institution will require presidential leadership and sustained, strategic effort.
Support Innovation and Sustainability at the School of Law
W&L's Law School is nationally recognized for teaching excellence, strong student-faculty relationships and attention to ethics, and its innovative, practice-based Third-Year Program. With a new dean in place, the Law School has also begun a three-year strategic transition plan to assure its success in a changing national legal environment. The next president will be expected to provide support and guidance for the Law School's progress toward the goals of that plan, and identify opportunities to enrich the connections between the Law School, the College and the Williams School.
Continue Fundraising Success and Passionate Alumni Engagement
Washington and Lee has been the beneficiary of extraordinarily generous support from loyal alumni, parents, trustees and friends. One of the goals of the recent campaign was to conclude with energy and momentum for the future, and the new president will find ample evidence of the campaign's success on that front. The opportunity to lead W&L in meeting its ongoing resource needs in areas such as new academic facilities and financial aid will be a priority for the next president. Beyond fundraising, alumni are an integral part of the W&L community, with deep interest in the university's history as well as its future. The next president will have the opportunity to continue strengthening alumni connections with the university through personal engagement and an inclusive approach to institutional strategy.