Wilson College charts strategy for the future

March 25, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Wilson College has adopted a five-year strategic plan that officials say reaffirms its dedication to educating women.

"I believe that the world has never needed women leaders and never needed women's colleges more than it does today," President Lorna Duphiney Edmundson said.

School officials and alumnae touted the plan, "Enduring Mission, Expanding Vision," at a celebration marking the 134th anniversary of the chartering of the college.

"With this plan, we recommit ourselves to Wilson as a women's college that can maintain its historic mission of educating women in a rapidly changing economic and social environment," said Robin Bernstein, chairwoman of the Wilson Board of Trustees.


The plan has five major goals, including:

  • Strengthening the quality of curriculum and developing new programs.

  • Increasing enrollment from 750 to 1,000 students.

  • Increasing professional development.

  • Ensuring financial vitality and increasing the endowment.

  • Completing a campus master plan, targeting the residence halls and classrooms first.

"The path we need to take to assure our moving forward wasn't always as crystal clear," Bernstein said.

Edmundson said the college has adapted as women's needs have changed, and in the 1990s that meant establishing the Women With Children Program that allows single mothers to live on campus in residence hall suites with their children.

That program has reached capacity with 24 women, and the college is looking at ways to expand it, Edmundson said.

Jadwiga Sebrechts, president of the Women's College Coalition in Washington, D.C., said that of the 70 women's colleges in the country, Wilson is a leader in innovative programs.

"Wilson prepares women for the many roles they will take in private and public life. Wilson educates the whole person," she said.

Edmundson said the college has made great strides in boosting enrollment, and that the strategic plan allowed Wilson to differentiate itself from competitors.

"Sharpening the mission builds a stronger image in the community," she said.

This year, inquiries are up 31 percent, and the number of applicants increased by 22 percent, Edmundson said.

The college has seen a 391 percent increase in students making deposits for the fall semester.

"That's the number to watch because students who make deposits are more likely to attend," she said.

The plan will guide the college for the next five years.

"With its long, proud history and the road map we now have in hand, the college is well positioned to accomplish these goals," Edmundson said.

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