Ramapo College has recently accepted a new draft of the Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan outlines Ramapo's long-term goals and is revised every four to five years.
The Strategic Plan for 2014-2018 is similar to previous plans, according to the administration, but focuses more on increasing the level of diversity among students and faculty. The inclusion of diversity in the Strategic Plan was finalized after many students expressed the importance of the theme to the College.
Leah Warner, assistant professor of psychology and Diversity Action Committee (DAC) co-chair, explained that having diversity on campus is important because it allows every student to have someone they can relate to.
"Seeing someone like you creates a safer and more comfortable learning environment," said Warner.
The new Strategic Plan is coming at a time of financial uncertainty, considering recent changes in state funding, college expenditures and relationships with teachers' unions, but those affiliated with the drafting of the new plan are confident in its success.
"To me, the outcome was the best possible outcome, and I can't see it being any other way," said Danielle Corcione, a junior and one of only a few students who participated in the drafting of the new plan.
Corcione worked on the Strategic Plan for a year starting in the spring of 2012 and focused primarily on the enhancement of bringing an international perspective to Ramapo students.
"Not every student will study abroad, but it is important that they're exposed to different perspectives and at least have the option," Corcione explained.
While the new plan touches on many of the same subjects as previous plans, such as campus communication and financial sustainability, it differs in that it focuses on quantifiable goals rather than abstract ones.
"Our efforts have yielded great results in recent years where we've increased the diversity of our undergraduate enrollment by 3.5 percent to almost 27 percent of enrollment in the past three years," Dorothy Echols-Tobe, chief planning officer and vice president of administration and finance, stated in an email.
In the new strategic plan, goals are outlined using statistics and percentages to improve effectiveness.
On the diversification of staff and the student population, she added, "We will continue with a number of strategies such as targeted recruitment, partnering with high school districts, creating mentorship programs and focusing our enrollment management efforts which were instrumental in the success we have seen thus far."
Kevin Ng, another student who participated in the drafting of the plan, offered more insight on the use of data.
"From serving on the Strategic Planning Task Force I learned the importance of quantifiable and measurable goals. Each goal needed targets with specific metrics, which could be evaluated later to ensure accountability," Ng said. "For example, one target was to increase the retention rate to 90 percent. At the end of the five year plan, the College can look back at this goal and objectively determine if this target was met."
Supporters of Ramapo's new Strategic Plan contend that it is not only a positive sentiment for the College, but also an effective way to implement these ideas.