Planning Salem's Future - Phase II


Dear Salem Community:

We write to you today with great excitement as Salem embarks on a bold initiative. At a pivotal moment for Salem and in the evolving landscape of secondary and post-secondary education, we are launching Phase II of our strategic planning, which requires us to think big and think creatively about our future. We know that Salem belongs at the forefront of women’s education and leadership. We must position Salem as the institution of choice for prospective students, and we must confidently respond to the question “Why Salem?”

Over the past year, our community created and executed Phase I of our strategic planning process which focused on three strategic directions: Experiential Learning, Student Success, and Resource Development. Recently we shared good news about the success of Phase I and the Step Up for Salem campaign. We are grateful to you for your investment in Salem and our students. 

Salem must now develop Phase II of our strategic planning process. The Board of Trustees, which has responsibility for setting the strategic direction of the Academy and College, has chartered two committees that include faculty, staff, and members of the Board. The Academy committee and the College committee will each undertake an in-depth planning process this spring and summer and will make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding the strategic plan to ensure the sustainability of the institution. The Board plans to consider the recommendations and make its decisions concerning them in August. Immediately thereafter, Phase III of our strategic planning process will begin, with faculty and staff creating the action plans to carry out and implement the agreed-upon strategic plan developed in Phase II. A roster of the committee members is included at the conclusion of this letter.

As we launch Phase II, we seek input from you and will solicit thoughts from national experts as well. To that end, for the College, we are partnering with Credo Higher Education, a nationally recognized firm that specializes in working with small, independent colleges. The Academy is in the final steps of selecting a strategic partner with expertise in private secondary education.

The programs defined and recommended during Phase II of our strategic planning process must provide our students with excellent post-graduation paths and foster the next generation of global leaders. We are fortunate to have momentum and opportunity on our side. Because we are small and nimble, we can, and we will, pivot to create the best possible experiences and outcomes for our students. We can, and we must, develop cutting-edge educational programs to ensure that Salem is a prosperous institution for the long term. Our goal is to create something excitingly new, built on our strengths, that will put Salem on track to thrive for the next 250 years.

We ask that you give us your ideas. We assure you that every question and comment will be shared with the committee members and taken into consideration. We vow to continue to remain fully transparent throughout all phases of the strategic planning process and its implementation, and we will continue to send periodic updates.

We appreciate you being a vital member of the Salem family as we continue a journey of innovation that started nearly 250 years ago. The next chapter in Salem’s exciting journey is about to begin. We are ready and hope you are too. Thank you for being part of it!


Best regards,

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signature of McDara P. Folan

McDara P. Folan, III

Chair, Board of Trustees

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signature of Sandra J. Doran

Sandra J. Doran




Academy Committee for Phase II Strategic Planning

Julia Cardwell Archer A’84, Trustee, Chair of Committee
Betsy Boyd, Director of Studies
Duane Davis, Trustee
Sandra Doran, President
McDara P. Folan, III, Chair, Board of Trustees
Robin Howell A’79, Trustee
Carol Killebrew, Head of School
Martha Johnston Manning A’73, Trustee and Academy Alumnae Association President 
Brandy Nelson C’97, Trustee
Lauren Rogers, Dean of Students
Anna Vance, Teacher of Mathematics


College Committee for Phase II Strategic Planning

Lucy Rose C’76, Trustee, Chair of Committee
Sarah Berga, Trustee
Patrice Black Davis C’89, Trustee
Sandra Doran, President
McDara P. Folan, III, Chair, Board of Trustees
Lossie Freeman C’97, Trustee
Susan Henking, Interim Vice President for Academic and Student affairs and Dean of the College
Katherine Holland-Ortiz C’00, Trustee
John Hutton, Professor of Art History
Stratford Newitt Kiger C’90, Trustee and College Alumnae Association President
Elizabeth Novicki, Director of Libraries
Katherine Knapp Watts C’80, Vice President for Strategic Planning
Laura Watts, Associate Professor of Biology