Last academic year, the College affirmed its statement of mission and values. Throughout the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this statement has served as a touchstone for the College, guiding decision-making during a period of unprecedented change. During this time of disruption, Kenyon College is reflecting on its strengths and the resilience of the past year, and now is looking forward. It has concluded its last strategic plan (Kenyon 2020), has exceeded the original goals of its Our Path Forward comprehensive campaign and extended the campaign, and is on the brink of celebrating its bicentennial. While we are still navigating the short-term stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is an important moment to assess the external pressures that Kenyon faces, imagine a vision for a thriving Kenyon as it begins its third century, and establish priorities that will guide our allocation of resources and institutional decision-making in seeking to achieve this aspirational vision.
National and Global Context for Higher Education
Over the past several decades, higher education has faced financial and demographic challenges. Rigorous economic scholarship has identified stress points in the financial model for higher education, especially for private liberal arts colleges, where much of the operation involves fixed labor and facilities costs.
Current Strengths: A Platform for Future Success
The years 2020 and 2021 have been extremely challenging for Kenyon, with the COVID-19 crisis bringing unprecedented challenges for the institution and members of the College community. Fortunately, this crisis came at a moment when Kenyon was at a historical high point in terms of institutional strength.
Specific Challenges for Kenyon
The pressures in the external landscape affect Kenyon as well, and as a result there are specific vulnerabilities in Kenyon’s operations and programs that need to be addressed in the coming years.