Berklee 2015 | Letter From Mike Dreese, Chair, Board Vision Committee

Letter From Mike Dreese, Chair, Board Vision Committee

Dear Berklee Community,

I am writing to invite you to participate in a survey about priorities for Berklee's future, and to attend an open meeting we will hold on the subject.

In September 1998, Berklee held a day's worth of discussions to consider Berklee's vision for the years 2000–2005. Through numerous subsequent small group meetings, alumni events, surveys, and the work of a strategic planning committee, the college compiled over 10,000 suggestions for Berklee's future, which were refined to 1,000 ideas. These ideas were then shaped into a vision for 2000–2005.

With the selection of Roger Brown as president, Berklee begins a new era. In our view, it is imperative that the entire community seize this moment of leadership change, come together, and collect fresh approaches and viewpoints in order to build on the substantive foundation that is Berklee. This time, however, instead of looking to our next five years, we look to our next ten.

The board of trustees recognizes that any progressive vision for the future will of necessity include a substantial outreach effort to raise the millions of dollars required to allow Berklee to fully prosecute its mission, freed from the grip of tuition driven economics, which constrains our aspirations. As the group ultimately responsible for the long-term direction as well as financial health of the college, the board will guide the vision-setting process. To this end, the board formed a vision committee, which I chair, in fall 2003.

To identify the challenges to be addressed in a new vision, the committee has closely studied the ideas generated during the last planning process, as well as ideas from the college's self-study and the NEASC visiting team report. Additionally, we met with many members of the college community and alumni to discuss future priorities. We also greatly benefited from the work of the presidential search committee, which conducted countless interviews to identify the leadership qualities needed in a new president. Many of you participated in the search that led to the appointment of our new president, Roger Brown.

So, much of the groundwork for a new vision has been laid, thus enabling the vision committee to form a series of suggestions for where the college might focus its resources and attention in the years ahead. And now we need the advice of the Berklee community to identify the most important priorities, so we can direct our energies to the projects that will do the most good. Our suggestions are organized into four broad themes to be addressed in a vision statement:

  1. Ensure that students and the student experience are the primary focus of our attention
  2. Provide world-class faculty and teaching methods
  3. Accessibility and diversity
  4. Governance, culture, and visibility

It is vital for the board and the college community to share a common vision for the college's future and work together to generate the broad support and economic wherewithal necessary to achieve it. So the board is very interested in gathering a wide range of opinions about where the college should focus its energy over the coming years. Here are two ways you can contribute to building a new vision:

  1. Berklee Town Meeting
    On August 11, we held the first of two "Berklee Town Meetings" and had a stimulating discussion about different scenarios for Berklee's future. The second meeting is scheduled for September 15, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the David Friend Recital Hall. Roger Brown will be there to join in the discussion. We urge you to attend if possible.

  2. Berklee 2015 Survey
    You can also express your opinion by participating in the Berklee 2015 online survey, where you can weigh in on future priorities, and offer your personal point of view. The survey is being sent to all faculty, staff, and students, and about 10,000 alumni.

All of the ideas and opinions gathered from town meetings and the survey will be presented to the Board Vision Committee for their review. Watch for an e-mail later this semester with the survey results.

In October, we'll all have a chance to review a draft vision statement that the Vision Committee will present for board approval. Then, at his inauguration on December 3, President Roger Brown will present the shared vision for the college's future. Following that landmark event, we'll begin forming a strategy that is designed so that all aspects of the college are aligned in order to achieve our mutual vision for 2005–2015.

If you have any questions, please contact me directly, or Vice President for Advancement David McKay, who is the college's liaison to the Board Vision Committee, or Vice President for External Affairs Tom Riley, who is planning the town meetings and the survey.

Thank you for your help in setting a direction for Berklee's future.

Mike Dreese
Chair, Board Vision Committee