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College goals shift away from student debt

The college is currently reviewing goals it made in 2007 in order to analyze their overall success.

One of the concessions administrators have had to make during this process is projects to reduce student debt, since the 2008 economic recession made such goals less financially feasible for the college.

This review process is part of a strategic planning session, in which a committee is formed to review past goals and to create new goals for college.

The committee, put together by President Alecia DeCoudreaux, is looking at the goals set for the college as a whole in 2007 and new goals are being set in place.

In 2007, three goals were set by former President Janet Holmgren and the committee, which was comprised of 22 students, faculty, staff and other members of the administration. These goals were academic excellence and education for leadership, educational access and diversity and environmental and fiscal sustainability, according to an email sent by Renee Jadushlever.

The first two goals from 2007 were based on attracting and retaining both staff and students, particularly more non traditional students, including a more racially and financially diverse student body. Both goals are considered to be in progress or completed as of Jan. 20 of this year, according to the status update spreadsheet the administration released on Oct. 8.

The third goal from 2007 was the least accomplished of the three goals, according to that same spreadsheet. Quite a few of the goals’ objectives, such as exploring the possibility of launching a comprehensive campaign focused on decreasing student debt, has been deferred due to the economic recession beginning in 2008. DeCoudreaux’s memo from Aug. 31 does not mention this ongoing goal, because she said it is not the forefront of the committees’ concerns.

Every five years Mills’ administration goes through this process. The appointed committee sets goals for the college which are to be completed throughout the following 15 years.

DeCoudreaux asked Dr. Susan Pierce, President Emerita of the University of Puget Sound and President of SRP Consulting to facilitate the strategic planning process this year. On Oct. 9 Pierce led a forum for students to express their concerns and goals for the future of the college. Toni Gomez, a junior, was one of the students who attended the meeting.

“I enjoyed hearing from other Mills students on Tuesday, and to hear their ideas on what Mills will be like,” Gomez said.

The forum was held so Pierce could hear students’ voices.There was a meeting held later on that day exclusively for the Associated Students of Mills College (ASMC). One of the main topics at the forum was how Mills can maximize its resources for students without spending any more money.

The new goals stated by DeCoudreaux were spelled out for students and staff in a memorandum sent out Aug. 31, which included some of the points students like Gomez discussed on Tuesday.

Both the old and new goals are looked at during the strategic planning process. The old goals are reworked by the new committee and the new goals are instituted to replace any old goals that may have been met.

The three goals set by DeCoudreaux this year are to increase enrollment and retention of students, align the budget of the college with the realities of the current budget, and to bolster the current system of communication.