Mrs. Chase Calls Strategic Plan Simple Elegant and “Very, Very Ambitious”

Who created the current Strategic Plan? “This was the first time that the Strategic Plan had involved trustees, faculty and administration all on the committee and it was also the first time that we went out broadly and had focus groups and open meetings with faculty, students, alumni [and] parents. I mean, we really did open it up to the entire community. It was the most inclusive process we’ve had by far.” What influenced the Strategic Plan? Mrs. Chase said that Andover had to use the Strategic Plan to respond to changes in the surrounding world, but that peer institutions did not influence the Plan. The global education aspect of the Plan came from being aware of globalization and “people needing…in the future to be conversant with different cultures… and languages and economies and so on,” said Mrs. Chase. “That change in the environment certainly informed how we wrote the plan,” she said. The value of the 2004 Strategic Plan Phillips Academy’s financial status in 2004, after the 1994 capital campaign, was such that the latest Strategic Plan could focus on the composition of the student body and the quality of faculty life. At that time, according to Mrs. Chase, the devisors of the strategic plan were able to ask, “Now we’re in good shape financially, we have sound footing, we have a sure foundation, what can we do to the program to make it really exciting and relevant to students who are going to be living their lives in the 21st century?” “I think that the plan, in its simplicity, it’s very elegant and very, very ambitious and that’s kind of what we’re now beginning to realize.” She continued, “As we think about creating the campaign that’s going to help us to make the plan a reality we’re beginning to see how exciting it is to people and also how ambitious it is and how much funding it’s really going to take to do what we want to do. Do you have a goal or prediction for when we will go needs- blind? “It’s an iterative, ongoing process but sized as we’re beginning to size it now, we think we could do it within the scope of this campaign, which would be [in about three to five years].” Mrs. Chase also said, “I think the interesting thing about going needs-blind is that if you’re doing that well, you’re always going to get pushed to do more because the more you become known for being open to families of all economic conditions, your pool puts more pressure on you, so that in some ways you can be needs blind, [but] two years later you won’t be because you have more people coming to you who need funding.” Andover asseses its progress toward becoming needs-blind each year by counting “the number of kids we have to pull…‘off the table’ that were first-round admits where we can’t really afford the financial aid to get them. And that number has been going down,” said Mrs. Chase.