Dear Converse Community,
In the course of our history, the major milestones of this institution have been grounded in “The Founder’s Ideal” to educate women to see clearly, decide wisely and act justly. Through the passing of the decades, the evolution of the life of the College and the ever-changing world around us, our core mission to advance women for professional and personal success has remained constant. Equally steady has been the leadership and support of generations of trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumnae whose commitment to Converse has been, and continues to be, the cornerstone of her success.
With the implementation of our strategic plan endorsed by the Board of Trustees in 2007, Converse is well positioned to move through the strains of a challenging economy. Although we have experienced significant market losses to our endowment, we have been keenly proactive in adjusting to the present and future demands of the College and acutely sensitive to the needs of our students. As an outgrowth of the most recent advances to the College’s strategic priorities, a dynamic reorganization is taking shape across the campus. The reorganization will enhance academic programs, strengthen student services, and streamline college operations while reducing operating costs.
Following an intensive three-month process involving cross-functional teams of administrators, faculty and staff, a number of creative strategies are being employed to build upon Converse’s strengths and position the College for future growth. The most visible change in the reorganization calls for the academic programs of the College to be housed under the umbrella of three distinct areas: a School of Humanities and Sciences, a School of the Arts, and a School of Education and Graduate Studies. Our Petrie School of Music will be the flagship program within the School of the Arts, continuing the College’s legacy of excellence in music while enriching the educational experiences of students as we increase collaborations among music, theatre and dance, and the visual arts.
The reorganization will include the consolidation of sixteen different academic departments to nine (four within the Humanities and Sciences, four within the Arts and one for Education and Graduate Studies). While considerations for our employees have been paramount in our decision making process, the reorganization ultimately impacts eighteen staff and faculty positions over the course of two years. In addition to the integration of departments, Converse will streamline instructional offerings with the reduction of eight academic majors. And, while approximately 2% of our students may be affected by the elimination of these majors, it is important for you to know that Converse will continue to offer courses in all of these fields. In some cases, students may choose to satisfy or complete their course work through our individualized major program.
Within the plan, four new collaborative clusters of services for students are especially exciting. A Student Advancement and Transitions Center, jointly operated by Academic Affairs and Student Services, will be established to help students maximize their college experience for personal and professional growth. An Enrollment and Billing division that includes student billing, registrar’s services and financial aid will be consolidated in one location, making it easier for students to access these resources. A Student Engagement division combines programs and services geared towards ensuring a fulfilling, supportive and collegiate campus life experience. Distance Learning and Continuing Education will promote greater opportunities for online learning and instructional technology.
As our trailblazing graduates demonstrate in their own life examples, Converse is clearly capable of adapting, as it has done for more than a century, in order to realize fully its promise to advance women for personal and professional success in the twenty-first century. Within the framework of creativity, community and collaboration, we are doing just that. On the heels of a banner reunion weekend that brought almost 600 alumnae and guests to campus this April, it is clear that our shared commitment to the mission of this College has never been stronger. Please know that we will continue to rely on the Converse community for your participation, your ideas, your support and your commitment to this College.
Elizabeth A. Fleming, Ph.D.