The Strategic Plan and Strategic Themes

The Colby-Sawyer College Strategic Plan serves as an essential guide for the college community, providing 11 critical goals whose achievement requires collaboration across the campus. The plan is the result of a collaborative process that invited all community members to have a voice in the college's priorities and direction.

The Strategic Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees on Oct. 18, 2008.


Colby-Sawyer College's academic and intellectual environment, combined with rich co-curricular activities, inspires us to claim, practice and aspire to new levels of excellence. The college has a strong collaborative community of outstanding and committed students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends. Consequently, Colby-Sawyer College has the opportunity to establish itself as one of the nation's exemplary small, residential colleges educating students for both life and livelihood.

This plan is a blueprint for enriching, enhancing and sustaining excellence at Colby-Sawyer. It sets forth critical goals and steps necessary to accomplish those goals; the basic focus of the plan, like all our decisions at Colby-Sawyer begins by asking: how will students benefit?

We ask this question in the context of the college's values: excellence, responsibility, community and connectedness. And we ask it in reference to the college's student learning outcomes: learn and use a broad body of knowledge with depth in their major fields; enrich and deepen self-knowledge; think creatively and critically; communicate and interact effectively; act ethically and professionally; and understand and employ multiple perspectives.

Academic Excellence

Strengthen the overall Colby-Sawyer academic experience by: solidifying the foundation of liberal arts and sciences throughout the curriculum and co-curriculum; deepening professional preparation experiences in the majors; further expanding our curricular offerings and our internships and other complementary educational opportunities; examining and evolving our teaching practices; assessing and communicating our students' achievements; and clearly articulating and raising our overall expectation of our students and each other.


Recruit, enroll and retain outstanding students who are most likely to flourish at Colby-Sawyer and who will bring distinctive abilities, talents, backgrounds, experiences and worldviews. What makes a student or group of students outstanding depends upon many factors including academic achievement, leadership, contributions to diversity, overcoming disadvantage, potential for growth, and more.

Student Development

Continue to provide students with a safe, positive, personalized, educationally-oriented, and intentional co-curricular experience throughout their time at the college. Continue to build our athletics and recreational programs, and our wellness and sustainability initiatives as integral parts of the college and as effective ways to develop healthy, active habits of mind and body in our community.


Build an ever stronger, more diverse and more inclusive community of students, faculty, staff and trustees. One of our learning outcomes is that we expect our students to graduate with an appreciation for and the ability to apply multiple perspectives. Our ability to achieve that outcome will be meaningfully enhanced and the community improved if we become more diverse and more inclusive of people from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences, sexual orientations, and views.

Human Resources

Recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff by, among other things, providing fair and competitive salaries and benefit packages for all and providing meaningful support for professional development throughout faculty and staff careers so that our colleagues may continue to engage, challenge, and inspire our students and each other.

Board Involvement

A key to the institution's success is a committed, involved, collegial, collaborative and philanthropically inspired Board of Trustees that shapes policy and provides outstanding leadership. The college must remain committed and focused upon sustaining an outstanding, diverse and inclusive Board of Trustees.


Foster and extend the Colby-Sawyer College community. The cohesiveness of the Colby-Sawyer community starts on campus with the devotion of faculty and staff to our students, fostering strong relationships through all aspects of their lives. Our community extends beyond our campus. For alumni, the ties of the past are transformed into ties of interest, engagement and support for the college. We must continue to connect our graduates, our students' families, our friends, and ourselves to the college and the college community. We rely on our alumni and on our community for philanthropic and essential volunteer support. Our friends respond generously with time, talents, and philanthropy. Our community includes alumni, parents and families of past and present students, and friends.

Town/Gown Relationships

Nurture and enhance the college's already strong relationships with the town of New London and local area residents by welcoming the community to intellectual, cultural and athletic events, Adventures in Learning (AIL) programs and our exercise facilities. Continue to engage the broader community for philanthropic and essential volunteer support and show appreciation for the important role the community plays in the success of the college.


Develop and implement a unified and dynamic strategic communications and marketing plan for the college based on carefully crafted core messages that convey the college's distinctive qualities, singular identity and reputation for excellence. Strategic communications are critical to our success in: recruiting, enrolling and retaining students who are a good fit for Colby-Sawyer; ensuring that the campus community, prospective students, alumni, parents, trustees, donors, friends and neighboring communities are well informed and engaged in the college; and for sustaining and expanding our reputation.


Celebrate, preserve and create appropriate and inspiring facilities for our students and our community. Our physical facilities are the houses for our dreams; they must be appropriate to our needs now and into the future and they must inspire students, faculty, staff, and the extended community. As such, we must use our resources wisely and creatively. We are committed to creating an environmentally sustainable campus community.

Financial Strength

Build financial strength for the present and future. Colby-Sawyer has achieved financial stability through a combination of growth in enrollment, prudent management of resources, distinctive excellence in our educational program, and increased giving to the college. Since the college continues to depend upon tuition revenue to fund a high proportion of its annual operations, we must be consistently prudent in managing resources, defining the rationale for our objectives and programs, and communicating aims effectively. We must solidify our financial foundation to provide financial flexibility.

Guidelines to Move Colby-Sawyer College Toward Excellence

In May 2010, President Tom Galligan introduced the college community to the presentation below, which outlines four strategic themes that will guide us toward excellence in many important areas. These themes are based on a collaborative strategic planning process conducted over the last year that involved faculty, staff, students, trustees and the President's Alumni Advisory Council in sharing their positive ideas, their energy, experience and wisdom, and their highest aspirations for the college's future.

These themes are built on the college's strengths and most important assets. They will lead us toward deepening our commitment to excellence in the following areas: in teaching and learning; in building an even stronger, more diverse and inclusive community; in creating a more sustainable campus and life- and workstyles; and to connecting in positive, productive and inspiring ways to the global community.

The four themes of Engaged Learning; Living Sustainably; Linking to the World; and Dynamic Devotion to Excellence will require specific actions that the community will work together to plan and successfully implement.