President Spinelli and College Leaders Discuss Return to Campus, Strategic Plan at Community Forum

Babson College Globe

President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD, joined by several members of College leadership, shared updates on the fall semester’s return to campus and the strategic plan Wednesday at a community forum for faculty and staff.

During the past 100 days, leaders have focused on implementing changes that enable the institution to become more nimble, collaborative, and inclusive, in order to promote learner success. This while simultaneously undergoing preparations to bring students, faculty, and staff back to campus this fall.

“Higher education was going through dramatic change before the global traumas that have impacted Babson and our communities,” said President Spinelli. “Strategy gets pressure-tested in a crisis. COVID-19 has validated the areas of strength identified through our strategic planning, and accelerated our strategic initiatives around radically recreating our organization, owning entrepreneurial leadership, and delivering education where and when learners demand it.”

A Learner-Centric Organization

Reorienting the organization around learning success meant changes to College leadership. As part of these advancements, Ken Matsuno will now serve as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, and Lawrence P. Ward has been named Vice President of Learner Success and Dean of Campus Life

“Entrepreneurial leadership is about dealing with ambiguity, solving problems within the context of finding opportunities, creating social value. Ken and Larry have my utmost confidence that they’re capable of protecting our students’ success,” Spinelli said. “What was an important college is now an essential college. What we teach is far more important today than it was six months ago.”

In the Undergraduate School, Wendy Murphy will serve as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Tracey Reza will serve as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Administration. In the Graduate School, Sebastian Fixson will serve as Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Innovation, and Beth Bristol MBA’06 will serve as Associate Dean of Graduate Administration.

This revised organizational structure will allow the entire Babson College community to dedicate more time to the enrolled student body, Ward said.

“We are creating a culture that is both excellent and aspiring,” Spinelli said. “It’s a unique moment in the history of Babson, with a platform that is very special, at a time when we need it most.”

Bringing the Blank School to Life

Progress on building the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership has not slowed as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Each element of Blank’s historic $50 million gift is on time or has been accelerated, said Chief Operating Officer Kelly Lynch.

“It’s a rare opportunity for us,” Matsuno said. “The Blank School is going to be the game-changer we hoped for.”

“The great generosity of Mr. Blank puts Babson in a position to be assertive where others will be contracting,” Spinelli added. “We have a chance to emerge with real innovation, to revolutionize business education.”

Return to the Babson College Campus

During the forum, leadership detailed what faculty and staff can expect upon returning to campus this fall.

“All learning will continue this fall,” Spinelli said. “We are looking at a series of engagements with students that will result in a synchronous delivery system: face to face and online. That gives us a competitive advantage and great flexibility.”

A comprehensive plan for the return to campus will be shared by July 1. The plan is expected to evolve over the summer, taking into consideration progress made on the state’s Reopening Massachusetts plan and the continued guidance and recommendations from the CDC and other public health authorities.

“It’s paramount that we safeguard our community,” said Lynch. “We’re not just going to maintain state and federal guidance, we’ll exceed it.”

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