At a campus wide community meeting on Thursday, College leaders gathered with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and governance to share updates on strategic planning efforts, and share the vision for Babson’s bold future.
“There is disruption in the marketplace that, for a lot of people, is scary,” said President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD. “But, Babson is a different and special place. We were built for this time. We were unique for our first 100 years, and we will be even more important for the next 100.”
In May, Babson launched a strategic planning process with a clear goal: Engage the entire community to rapidly develop a shared strategic plan for the College to thrive in a changing environment.
Since that time, the Babson community contributed more than 4,400 inputs—including email and online feedback, survey responses and event participation—to guide and inform planning efforts.
“We saw an enthusiastic response across the stakeholder spectrum,” said Kelly Lynch, chief of staff and vice president of strategic initiatives. “We are grateful for the spectacular community response, and for what everyone has contributed to shape Babson’s strategy.”
“When synthesizing the community’s inputs, we asked, ‘What initiatives are most driven by our values? Are they bold? Will they be distinctive for Babson? Are they sustainable and scaleable?” said D.R. Widder MBA’99, vice president of innovation.
At the community meeting, Widder and Lynch shared five strategic initiatives that emerged from February’s Board of Trustees meeting.
The first initiative encompasses the expansion of Babson’s positioning to include entrepreneurial leadership. At the heart of this initiative: the launch of the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, supported by a $50 million investment from the Blank Family Foundation.
Proposed within the Blank School: a new endowed faculty chair and funded leadership position; development of a new executive doctorate program; new research and case writing curated via a new portal; the launch of an Entrepreneurial Leadership Village; transdisciplinary curriculum; and a Blank Global Challenge to drive thought and action to address the U.N. Global Goals.
As higher education evolves and technology advances, this initiative focuses on building an array of content and experiences to provide lifelong learning opportunities.
“We’ll build out Babson online so we can support entrepreneurial leaders everywhere,” said Widder.
The goal: engage learners on their own terms with content and credential formats that meet their needs and the evolving needs of industry. Stackable programs, online formats—all student- and learner-centric opportunities to serve our community of lifelong learners the content they need when they need it.
Babson excels at experiential learning. As the College moves forward, this initiative reinforces the need for immersive experiences by formally incorporating experiential problem solving across all degree programs.
The goal: for every Babson learner to gain and employ skills to solve the real-world problems of business, government, and society.
The plan also calls for innovation in developing new pathways for undergraduates to earn a Babson degree.
Babson’s footprint is global. This initiative asks: How do we amplify that footprint and create, engage in, and transform entrepreneurial ecosystems everywhere?
The fifth initiative is a focus on the organization. The goal is to drive a culture of trust, collaboration, and inclusive excellence.
“We’re asking: How do we strengthen our organization, build that culture, and evolve and be the leading-edge organization our students deserve?” said Lynch.
Success in these five strategic initiatives will translate into long-term success for the College, said Widder.
“If we do all this, we will revolutionize entrepreneurship education, change business education, and impact higher education,” he said. “That’s the global view. Now, we are building out our plans.”
Spinelli closed the meeting by sharing his confidence in Babson’s path forward.
“We are better positioned than virtually any college or university in the country. People really believe that the hard work we are doing is worth investing in,” he said. “What we’re doing is important. The changes are rapid, but the opportunity is substantial.”