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Message from President Meservey

Dear Members of the Salem State Community,

For the past three years Salem State University has been guided by a strategic plan that called for us to provide distinguished academic programs and innovative educational experiences; advance students’ intellectual, personal and professional growth; and promote civic engagement, social justice and connection to place. I am proud of—and grateful for—the ways in which members of the Salem State University community have rallied behind these goals and embraced the three guiding principles that support them: student success, diversity and sustainability. We have accomplished much! 

But we cannot rest on our laurels. While Salem State’s mission remains viable and operative, the world around us continues to change, presenting both new challenges and remarkable opportunities. These require that we revisit and realign our goals and priorities from time to time. We must do so in ways that ensure that our aspirations and intentions align with student expectations and preferences, shifting economic and social realities, emerging workforce needs, and Massachusetts Department of Higher Education expectations.

Against this backdrop of change and challenge, I have asked the university’s collaboration committee to design and lead our community through a strategic planning process this fall. As requested by you, it will be bottom-up and collaborative. The committee began the process this summer with expert guidance from consultant Linda Campanella of SOS Consulting Group, LLC. As the year progresses you will hear regularly from the committee, which is deeply committed to ensuring that the process engages all members of our university community. 

As we plan for the future, we build on an already strong foundation of excellence. The planning process will allow us to further capitalize on those attributes that distinguish Salem State from its peers within and beyond Massachusetts. It will also help us better understand and strengthen our institutional identity and campus culture. A fully integrated plan, its goals and strategies will mesh with our enrollment projections, program priorities, financial outlook, and capital and technology investment needs. I have set June 2017 as a target for the strategic plan’s completion, at which point I will submit it to our board of trustees for approval. My goal is to have formal approval of the plan by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education by October 2017. 

Thank you for your participation.


Patricia Maguire Meservey


Strategy Planning Process Information

  • Collaboration Committee


    Guide and oversee a process that broadly and effectively engages the Salem State community in developing the University’s next strategic plan.


    Sarah Ascolese — Facilities and Maintenance
    Lee Brossoit — Graduate Admissions
    Nate Bryant (co-chair) — Center for Academic Excellence 
    Jeanne Corcoran — College of Health and Human Services
    Rebecca Comage — Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
    Andrea deMello — Human Resources and Equal Opportunity
    Michael Harvey - Theatre and Speech Communication
    Ezekiel Holt — Human Resources and Equal Opportunity
    Monica Leisey (co-chair) — School of Social Work
    Matt McAuliffe - ITS, Application Services
    Emily O’Brien — Institutional Advancement
    Steven Oliver — Secondary and Higher Education 
    January O’Neil — English
    Scott Stanton — Finance and Business
    Mike Testa — Music and Dance
    Beth Bower (ex-officio) — President’s Office
    Chunju Chen (ex-officio) — Strategic Planning and Decision Support
    Kathy Murphy — Board of Trustees Liaison


    To reach the collaboration committee at any time you may send email to

  • Planning Process Flow and Timeline

    ​  Strategic Planning Process Flow Chart  ​
    ​ Strategic Planning Process Flow Chart ​











    September - December: What?
    Goal Setting

    January - March: How?
    Strategy Development
    Action Planning
    Plan Formulation

    April - August: How Much and What First?
    Cost Analysis and Resource Planning
    Priority Setting 
    Plan Finalization
    Fundraising Goal Setting 

  • Opportunities for Input and Involvement

    Below is a tentative schedule of opportunities for members of the Salem State community to engage in the planning process. Others likely will be added as the process evolves. Please check the Announcements and Updates link for the most up-to-date/current information about specific opportunities to provide input and otherwise be involved.

    Invitation from President Meservey to all faculty and staff to share input via anonymous online survey September 16
    Collaboration Committee meetings with Salem State divisions re: planning process, competitive context, budget realities, opportunities for input/engagement during September
    Community forums on current strategic plan and current environment September 26
    Survey key groups re: critical issues, opportunities, and goals late September
    Outreach to external stakeholders (elected officials, other key city/community leaders and partners) late Sept./early October
    Collaboration Day October 20
    Student forum on student success and satisfaction late October/early Nov
    President’s Open Meetings November 7
    Collaboration Committee mini-retreat re: vision and goals November 28
    Briefing/consultations with key leadership groups
    • Faculty: department chairs, all graduate coordinators
    • PEC, Cabinet
    early December
    Open forum (campus community) on vision, goals, strategic issues January
    Consultations with constituent groups (e.g., faculty, PEC) to get feedback on “Framework for Planning” document (vision statement, goals to underpin strategic plan late January
    All-campus planning meeting – facilitated brainstorming around key institutional goals and critical issues (to generate ideas/fodder for planning task forces); all constituencies invited early February
    Consultations/discussions with key campus groups, convened by task forces focused on strategic plan goals mid- through late Feb.
    First draft of comprehensive strategic plan document (mission, values, vision, goals, strategies and actions in support of each goal)  by mid-April
    Draft plan disseminated to the campus community and trustees late April
    Possible all-campus meeting to seek feedback on strategies and input on priorities early May
    Collaboration Committee develops its final recommendations regarding strategies and actions in support of goals as well as implementation priorities for Year One (FY18)
    • Collaboration Committee meeting with the president and senior administrators to present recommendations
    • Collaboration Committee presents/discusses recommendations at all-faculty meeting
    by mid-May
    Final draft integrated plan prepared with accompanying financial analysis that indicates FY18 budgetary impact and provides preliminary multi-year outlook (operating and capital budgets) late May
    Draft plan mailed to the Board with cover memo from President Meservey June 1
    Board of trustees meeting June 7



  • Announcements and Updates

    Collaboration Community Forum
    The collaboration committee hosted two open community forums on the progress of the strategic planning process on Monday, September 26. 

    11 am-12:30 pm in Meier Hall 426 (previously scheduled in Veterans Hall)

    4-5:30 pm in Veterans Hall (front)

    The forums are to provide an opportunity for you to participate in the strategic planning process. As part of the president’s FY2017 strategic planning memo, a link was provided to allow your participation in an anonymous online survey. 


    Additional information for faculty, staff and students
    Additional information about the strategic planning process will be posted in Navigator (students) and Polaris (faculty and staff members), where you'll find strategic planning-related data, reports, drafts, and more.

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