Imagine Deerfield January 30, 2009
Table of Contents PREFACE
PROFESSIONAL LIFE AND DEVELOPMENT ACCESSIBILITY
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE CHARACTER, COMMUNITY, AND SERVICE
FINANCIAL PRIORITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE
THE STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE IMAGINE DEERFIELD TASK FORCES
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Preface Dr. Margarita Curtis, Head of School We aspire to fulfill the promise of our modern-day founders, Frank and Helen Boyden. Their vision, and the support of farsighted benefactors, created a school where teacher-student relationships constitute the basis of character, motivation, and learning. They understood that good role models uncover the best in young people. They inspired students to bond their hopes for personal achievement with an ethic of service. They encouraged open discourse and the investigation of ageless questions. And for generations, headmasters, teachers, staff, and students have responded joyfully to their words, their example, and the noble calling that is Deerfield. Life at Deerfield has always been predicated on the conviction that high expectations and superior performance must be grounded in a culture of caring and support. Frequent contact between faculty and students fosters trust, encourages intellectual exploration, inspires adventure, and builds friendships that last a lifetime. While societies across the globe increasingly equate quantity with quality, change with progress, pleasure with love, and money with personal worth, Deerfield nurtures those habits of mind, heart, and spirit that help our students discern and value the difference. Deerfield’s future encompasses two equally important goals. The first is to preserve those values and traditions that distinguish our community and constitute the character of our students. The second is to prepare our students to lead in a competitive, technologically-driven world that requires new knowledge, competencies, and dispositions. The most challenging questions in our society no longer fall neatly within disciplinary lines, but often between and across them. And yet, selective colleges and universities increasingly court students who demonstrate a high degree of specialization. While our students are encouraged to pursue specific talents and strengths, Deerfield’s tradition insists that depth of knowledge in a particular subject should not preempt students from gaining a broad understanding of the world. Indeed, Deerfield’s emphasis on well-roundedness fosters our students’ ability to synthesize knowledge across disciplines rather than sequester it within individual departments. The preservation of our long-held traditions and the spirit of Deerfield—even as we prepare our students for the exigencies of a new world—will take a concerted, collective effort, as well as additional resources. We will create a vision of our future that is consonant with the best of our past. Financial aid and a reduced rate of tuition increase are the keys to accessibility for those families asked to “pay what they can.” We must revisit and strengthen our approach to teaching in light of the leadership challenges of the new era. Character and personal responsibility must remain as deliberate priorities within the Deerfield experience. Most importantly, those entrusted with our most consequential tasks—the faculty—must be granted the time and resources to renew and improve themselves on a regular basis. All the elements for success are present. Together, we have an unshakeable belief in the mission of the Academy and we are determined to preserve the unique character of Deerfield and its students. More importantly, we possess both the curiosity and courage to stretch beyond the familiar—to learn from those who differ from us, to explore new ideas, and to create new answers—while guided by our past. As we shift from imagination into action, the Imagine Deerfield plan affirms our belief in the inextricable bonds linking people, program, and place, and it captures our collective aspiration: to be worthy of our heritage.
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Mission Statement 2008 Deerfield Academy is an independent secondary school committed to high standards of scholarship, citizenship, and personal responsibility. Through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, extensive co-curricular program, and supportive residential environment, Deerfield encourages each student to develop an inquisitive and creative mind, sound body, and strong moral character. Set in a historic village bounded by river, hills, and farms, Deerfield inspires reflection, study and play, abiding friendships, and a defining school spirit. A vibrant, ethical community that embraces diversity, the Academy prepares students for leadership in a rapidly changing world that requires global understanding, environmental stewardship, and dedication to service.
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Introduction Thomas A. Heise, History On August 12, 1902, the fortunes of Deerfield Academy changed forever. That was the day, John McPhee writes in The Headmaster, when newly-minted Amherst College graduate Frank L. Boyden entered the village of Deerfield for the first time. He walked down Deerfield’s dusty main street, lined with colonial-era houses, and encountered its faltering academy, where he had applied for the position of headmaster. Deerfield, notes McPhee, “seemed a little out of plumb” and its school was failing. Just fourteen students attended classes in “a dispiriting red brick building that appeared to have been designed to exclude as much sunlight as possible.” Brighter days came soon. Under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Boyden and his wife Helen, this modest New England country academy became a boarding school of national and international renown—and one of American education’s great success stories. Today, Deerfield is flourishing. Like Mr. Boyden, we continue to believe in “those fundamental high traditions of character and scholarship” on which Deerfield was founded. We have not wavered in our commitment to academic excellence, moral courage, and service to others. So why did we undertake the Imagine Deerfield strategic planning effort? The world has changed significantly over the past twenty-five years. Trends and developments loosely gathered under the heading of “globalization” are transforming the way people learn, live, and relate to one another; the engines of modern information technology generate changes and pressures that no responsible educational institution can ignore. No less important are environmental crises that loom ever closer; the interaction of climate change, resource scarcity, and global population growth guarantees that our children will live in a world that is distinctly different from our own. Changes of this magnitude demand a thoughtful, well-conceived response from educators. The college admission environment has changed too. Gone are the days when matriculation at an Ivy League college was a virtual guarantee for students at prestigious independent schools. As colleges have diversified their student bodies, and as their financial aid resources have grown, the pool of college applicants has widened and deepened—in this country and worldwide. Deerfield students still earn admission to the most selective colleges and universities, but the arduousness of that process has added pressure to many elements of campus life and raised a series of important questions about the purpose of a Deerfield education. These questions were at the heart of our strategic planning effort. Recent changes at Deerfield also pointed to the value of strategic planning. The Academy has diversified its student body and its faculty, but there is more hard work to be done. Curricular and co-curricular programs have diversified and expanded too. At the same time, members of the Deerfield community have encountered ever rising expectations of excellence in all areas. While not unique to Deerfield, programmatic expansion and increased expectations put students and teachers under stress, and it is increasingly difficult to do everything as well as they would like. Little has been subtracted. These trends threaten cherished Deerfield traditions of well-roundedness, community, shared experiences, a healthy balance of work and play, the cultivation of good character, and the “triple threat” faculty model on which so many elements of school life depend. Greater diversity, new programs, and heightened expectations have enriched the education that the Academy offers, but they have also made Deerfield more complex. They have been costly, too. Deerfield has extended financial aid generously, hired more faculty and staff members, added systems of support, constructed new buildings and facilities, and upgraded its technology and infrastructure. Added to these commitments are the steeply mounting costs of health care and energy, and the ever-present responsibilities of upkeep and renovation. Not surprisingly, tuition levels have risen sharply to keep pace. A recent study concluded that only two percent of American families can now afford Deerfield’s boarding tuition without receiving financial assistance. In 2007 and 2008, our efforts to address these challenges took root in the Imagine Deerfield initiative. We researched best practices and gained understanding through common readings, a speaker series, discussions with community members, visits to conferences and other schools, and a survey of 12,000 Deerfield constituents. Throughout the process, we weighed Deerfield’s distinctive character, its values and ideals, its longstanding traditions and strengths, and the challenges the Academy is likely to confront in the years ahead. Task forces, charged with examining key areas of school life, delivered Page 5 of 20
findings and recommendations to the Strategic Planning Committee in June of 2008. The Imagine Deerfield plan, approved by the Board of Trustees in January of 2009, is a faithful reflection of the leading recommendations of those task forces. We are entering a new age with exciting possibilities and unsettling questions. As the world changes, so must we. Yet even as we respond to new challenges, old truths will hold. Education is about more than the transmission of information. At the heart of a good education are teachers and students dedicated to excellence, who know, respect, and care for each other. We know that the best learning is active, not passive. Engaging in a broadly-diversified liberal arts education, an idea that is thousands of years old, is still the best way for students to find out who they are, who they can be, who they ought to beâ€”intellectually, physically, morally, and ethically. And we believe in the lasting joy of living and learning together in this beautiful valley. The world calls to people who are flexible, broadly knowledgeable, interested and skilled, able to learn and grow, and generous of heart. The Imagine Deerfield plan, our response to that call, is the course we will follow to ensure that Deerfield continues to graduate students who serve the world nobly and well.
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Professional Life and Development Goal: Promote faculty excellence by creating more time, opportunity, and structure for collegial collaboration, professional growth, feedback, and evaluation. Rationale An excellent education for Deerfield students depends on exemplary teachers, advisors, coaches, and role models, whose lives intersect with students in countless positive ways. Yet today’s demands make it increasingly difficult for faculty to find enough time to be available to students informally, to achieve requisite excellence in all areas of school life, and to continue to grow as professionals. Superb teaching, co-curricular work, and residential life require on-going professional feedback, growth, and accountability. Recent trends in education emphasize the importance of faculty participation in professional development, and in faculty peer groups engaging in sustained study of pedagogy, educational values, and academic curricula. Deerfield’s interest in cultivating a global perspective, environmental stewardship, an ethic of service, and the best possible residential program, requires more comprehensive and sustained professional development.
Initiatives: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Increase the number of faculty to create release time, flexibility, and structures for professional development and to sustain a “triple threat” faculty model that will promote excellent work in Deerfield’s classrooms, dormitories, and co-curricular realms. Expand resources for on and off campus professional development, and review our current sabbatical program to ensure that faculty can fulfill institutional priorities while extending sufficient opportunities for professional growth and renewal. Update and articulate best practices for faculty and administrators, and provide formative feedback and evaluations on a regular basis. Develop more structured, sustained support for new faculty.
Goal: Promote staff excellence through an annual performance review system with enhanced opportunities and incentives for professional development. Rationale Deerfield Academy depends on the extraordinary support provided by all departments: academic and administrative support, student and technology support, alumni and development, food services, facilities, health services, and security. Presently, a feedback and development program does not exist for staff members. To promote excellence among staff members, Deerfield must institute an annual review system that establishes clearer communication between supervisors and employees, documents departmental and individual goal setting, supports ongoing evaluation, identifies opportunities for learning and growth, and rewards top performers. An improved performance model will achieve significant cost benefits through greater accountability, increased productivity, and creative problem solving.
Create a comprehensive performance evaluation system in all departments, and train supervisors to be skilled communicators and evaluators. Page 8 of 20
Provide additional funds and opportunities for on-the-job training, workshops, conferences, and ongoing professional and occupational development. Recognize high achievers with performance rewards.
Goal: Attract, hire, and retain a diverse blend of exceptional faculty and staff. Rationale Deerfield Academy depends on a talented, diverse, and accomplished faculty and staff to achieve its goals. In order to attract and retain the best teachers and staff members, Deerfield must broaden and intensify its recruitment efforts and ensure that its compensation package remains at or near the top of our peer schools.
Initiatives: 1. 2.
Expand and target our recruiting efforts to find the most talented, dedicated faculty and staff. Continue Deerfield’s leadership in compensation in all age cohorts, through consultation of ABOPS (Association of Business Officers of Preparatory Schools) Salary Surveys, and study of other applicable market conditions.
Accessibility Goal: Ensure that Deerfield Academy, its full range of programs, and the “Deerfield Experience,” are accessible to all of the promising students from many backgrounds that Deerfield hopes to enroll. Rationale Frank L. Boyden opened the doors of Deerfield to the sons of farmers and the sons of bankers by asking everyone to “pay what you can.” That access, and the social intersections it created, served the Academy well for much of the 20th century. As a new century approached, Deerfield’s doors opened wider, to offer places to young men and women from around the globe and from many other backgrounds. Increased diversity enriches relationships, academics, co-curricular pursuits, and the community with new voices, perspectives, and experiences. As a way of extending educational opportunity, promoting Deerfield’s overall excellence, and in order to prepare students for life in the global community, the Academy must continue its leadership in offering access to a diverse blend of qualified students.
Initiatives: 1. 2.
Increase and fully endow Deerfield Academy’s already significant financial aid budget to ensure the continued quality and diversity of the student body, and provide students on financial aid with access to the opportunities and activities that are part of the Deerfield experience. Strengthen Deerfield’s overall financial resources so that the Academy is able to reduce its rate of tuition growth and make a Deerfield education more affordable to a greater number of families.
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Academic Excellence Goal: Ensure that Deerfield demands academic excellence from its students and prepares them for 21 st century challenges. Rationale In the face of rapid global change, the demands on Deerfield students to develop intellectual rigor, solve complex problems, and nourish their artistic and creative impulses, will increase significantly. The Academy must prepare its graduates to lead in meeting the century’s new challenges. A targeted curricular review will seek ways to strengthen student mastery of core competencies and new opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and collaboration.
Initiatives: Initiate a curricular review that emphasizes: • a more intentional approach to the development and sequencing of critical thinking and communication skills, the enhancement of creativity, and more systematic collaboration among teachers of multi-section courses and across departments. • the scope and efficacy of ethical, global, and environmental education across the curriculum. • the development of senior capstone courses that foster the synthesis of knowledge from different disciplines, creativity, or in-depth, independent work in a particular area. • the Boyden Library’s role in research, and the teaching of effective and appropriate uses of information technology. • the Koch Center’s role in extending opportunities in interdisciplinary (in this instance as it pertains to math, science, and technology) learning and research to Deerfield students.
Goal: Expand and improve the academic support system currently available to students in their pursuit of academic excellence. Rationale Deerfield warmly welcomes newcomers to campus, but the first embrace may not be sufficient to ensure initial or sustained success. All of our students need a more systematic introduction to the school and appropriate orientation for the various challenges they will face throughout their time at Deerfield. Students would also benefit from more effective long-range academic planning and appropriate forms of support and enrichment.
Initiatives: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Improve the academic advising system at Deerfield to ensure quality, consistency, and proper coordination with college advising. Expand the orientation program for new students and implement grade-specific programs to prepare all students for the upcoming year. Establish and staff an Academic Resource Center in which all academic support services will be centralized, coordinated, and monitored. Develop summer programs that provide the opportunity for enrichment, skill development for students identified by the Academic Standing Committee, or acceleration in a particular area.
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Character, Community, and Service Goal: Develop a more intentional and comprehensive approach to character education in all areas of school life. Rationale Deerfield values good character, ethical behavior, and passionate participation in community life. Today’s high-velocity, networked world has opened the doors to exciting new educational opportunities and interactions—on the Deerfield campus and around the world. Yet, modern technology’s creation of long-distance virtual communities can have disorienting, disintegrative effects on campus life and personal relationships. Healthy, respectful communities depend on shared language, shared stories, and shared ethical context. The deeply rooted Deerfield community, and the value it places on good character, moral and ethical behavior, and open-minded civility, has much to offer in this fluid environment. Deerfield must redouble its efforts to provide its students with the moral compasses they will need to chart their way in today’s world.
Initiatives: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Coordinate and expand our current curricular, co-curricular, and residential efforts regarding character education, with special consideration to the impact of information technology on community life. Foster a greater sense of responsibility for our immediate community and environment by implementing a service program in which every student will be expected to work on campus. Restructure and enhance our service to the Franklin County area, through the creation and implementation of service learning courses, more rigorous co-curricular programs, and group outreach (e.g., athletic teams, music ensembles, and dormitory corridors). Develop service-dedicated domestic and international travel programs to take place during spring break and summer vacation.
Goal: Cultivate and practice an ethic of responsible environmental stewardship in the Deerfield community. Rationale “Look to the hills” implicitly charges us not only to look after the landscape of this valley, but also to help protect the planet’s beauty and integrity. In the face of diminishing natural resources, climate change, and subsequent economic necessity, Deerfield must teach its students to become responsible environmental stewards who can lead future generations into more sustainable practices. Environmental responsibility is an obligation of the Deerfield community and must be an essential part of a Deerfield education. This represents a shift in long-standing attitudes and habits and signals the emergence of environmental stewardship as part of the school’s mission.
Initiatives: 1. 2.
As part of the targeted curricular review, coordinate and broaden environmental education across departments. Extend opportunities in experiential learning through outdoor programs, and make better use of Deerfield’s surroundings and land holdings for exploration and field research. Page 12 of 20
Establish an Environmental Stewardship Advisory Council, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, to promote environmentally sound practices throughout the school community.
Goal: Develop a more coherent and purposeful program for Deerfield students and faculty to engage intellectually and experientially with other peoples, cultures, and global issues. Rationale As Deerfield students prepare for leadership roles in an interconnected world, the cultivation of greater global understanding in students and faculty is essential. Deerfieldâ€™s continued leadership demands that we redesign, centralize, expand, and adequately fund our global education and support programs.
Initiatives: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Establish an office to coordinate global programs, international student support, and resources for faculty and students. As part of the targeted curricular review, coordinate and expand our efforts to develop in our students a deeper understanding of the beliefs, values, practices, politics, economics, and achievements of other world cultures. Strengthen our relationships with schools in other parts of the world and with international education organizations, and plan effectively for possible student and faculty exchanges. Provide opportunities for faculty travel to promote first-hand expertise, clarify understanding of global issues, and foster a coordinated approach to curricular development. Design international travel programs to deepen student understanding of the world through direct observation, experience, and engagement.
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Financial Priorities and Infrastructure Goal: Ensure that Deerfield Academy has the financial strength, facilities, infrastructure, and associated services essential to its mission. Rationale Deerfield’s high standards, its size, its emphasis on close faculty/student interaction, and the breadth and richness of its program, make its educational model expensive. Careful, long-range planning is necessary to ensure that we can efficiently meet our current commitments, maintain existing facilities, and add personnel and infrastructure as programmatic needs dictate.
Initiatives: 1. 2.
Significantly increase the school’s endowment to ensure the sustainability of Deerfield’s educational model, as well as the implementation of the Imagine Deerfield strategic plan. Create a Facilities and Energy Master Plan that will allow the Academy to: • set priorities for its facilities, grounds, energy programs, and future sustainability • enhance Deerfield’s community spaces and existing facilities • ensure that there is sufficient and appropriate housing for additional faculty
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The Strategic Planning Committee Margarita Curtis H’57 Head of School
Andrew Harcourt P ’97, ’02 Science
Elizabeth Buron English
Thomas Heise P ’10, ’12 History, Co-Chair
Sheryl Cabral Chair of the Mathematics Department
Janice Kari Director of Human Resources
Rory Cowan ’71, P ’07, ’08 Trustee, Co-Chair
Martha Lyman Associate Head of School Director of College Advising
Charles Davis Athletic Director, History Patricia Gimbel P ’87 Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Philip Greer ’53, P ’94 President of the Board of Trustees
Joseph Manory ’80 Chief Financial Officer Stephen Taft P ’08, ’11 Language John Taylor Dean of the Faculty, Language
Randall Hack ’65, P ’01,’03 Trustee Consultants: Jeanne Amster P ’12, Joshua Binswanger ’80, Mary Davis, Market Street Research
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Imagine Deerfield Task Forces Professional Life and Development Karinne Heise P ’10, ’12 Co-Chair
B. Thomas Henry ’72 P ’06 Janice Kari
Joseph Manory ’80 Co-Chair
Nils Ahbel P ’09
Brett Gewanter ’88 Trustee Liaisons: Lisa Cashin P ’03, ’07, Philip Greer ’53 P ’94, Diana E.E. Kleiner P ’04
Academic Achievement and Accessibility Sheryl Cabral Co-Chair
Virginia Invernizzi Booth Kyle
Mark Scandling Co-Chair
Laura Morsman P ’89
Patricia Gimbel P ’87 Trustee Liaisons: Carrie Braddock ’92, Randall Hack ’65 P ’01, ’03, Sally Bedell Smith P ’93, ’02 Wendy Strothman P ’03
The Shared Deerfield Experience: Community, Culture, and Character Charles Davis Co-Chair
Colleen Kyle Co-Chair Page 18 of 20
Bernard Baker Thomas Hagamen P ’01, ’03 Amie Creagh
John Knight ’83
Diane Dains Kristin Loftus David Dickinson Michael O’Donnell Jeffrey Emerson Jan Flaska
Trustee Liaisons: Robin Grossman P ’03, ’06, J. Jeffry Louis ’81, Roger McEniry ’74 P ’07, ’10
The Cultivation of a Global Perspective and Environmental Stewardship Elizabeth Buron Co-Chair
Ada Fan Xiaofeng Kelly
Andrew Harcourt Co-Chair Stephen Taft Co-Chair
Martha Lyman Linda Minoff Florrie Paige P ’95, ’96
Mark Acton Conrad Pitcher Kristan Bakker P ’11 Denise Dwelley
Jodi Tanguay Mark Teutsch
Trustee Liaisons: Rory Cowan ’71 P ’07, ’08, Gordon Knight ’54, G ’03, Carole Pennock P ’93, ’97, Philip Weymouth ’83
Infrastructure and Financial Priorities Ben Bakker P ’11 Co-Chair Jeffrey Galli Co-Chair
Paul Higgins Ryan Noble David Pond P ’92, ’98
Joseph Manory ’80 Co-Chair
Milton Williams ’72 P ’97, ’99, ’02 Page 19 of 20
Trustee Liaisons: Philip Greer ’53 P ’94, Samuel Bronfman ’71, Sidney Evans ’73 P ’09, Peter Gilson ’57 P ’84, John Hess P ’05, ’07, Luther Terry ’63
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Deerfield Academy's 2009 Strategic Plan