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   The December 2011 issue of Science featured an interesting article about Rose-Human Institute of Technology's favorite animal-the elephant.
   It seems that ever since the first elephant dissection in 1706, by a Scottish surgeon, there has been a mystery surrounding a bony protrusion within the pachyderm foot structure. For 300 years this protrusion has been unclassified. However, with the publication of this recent study, lead author, Professor John Hutchinson of the UK's Structure and Motion Laboratory of the Royal Veterinary College has concluded definitively that it is a sixth toe. This sixth toe is apparently a great evolutionary advancement that has allowed the modern elephant to grow ever larger and yet support its massive weight gracefully
and with great agility.
   Why is it important? Well, perhaps, we'll have to sew another toe on the Rosie costume. But seriously, this is the kind of arcane knowledge that only a Rose Hulman scientist, engineer, or mathematician would love. 
   A few months ago this information came up in a 
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discussion at just the right moment. Our strategic planning team of professors, administrators, and Executive Cabinet members were all passionately engaged in making the most streamlined and effective strategic plan based on hundreds 

of ideas developed during The "Great" Debate. After many sessions of discussion and revision, the group was near the end of its significant collective energy. Yet, we came to agreement on six key strategic goals. The five-goal advocates nodded, yes. The seven-goal champions yielded. We reached a conclusion at six, ironically, after we recalled the tale of the sixth toe. Yes, six goals felt right for us.
   Who can argue with a well-timed symbol?

Our Community Desires Evolution

As we recently witnessed the election of officials in Washington and in our home states this fall, we understand that as untidy as democracy is sometimes, no one has ever produced a better system for gaining the input and compiling the will of a large group of diverse people who are interested in change. 
   And, for this plan it was a very large group indeed! To gain the input of our entire community we visited nine cities, spoke with more than 2,000 constituents, wrote ideas down on dozens of stick-up posters and hundreds of community written post-it notes, and compiled these ideas into our new Strategic Plan,

 

 

 

 

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introduced on pages 6-11 of this issue.
   We started this process knowing that our community wanted evolution.
   I want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved on a significant achievement-a year's worth of work-in developing the ideas and in drafting a Strategic Plan that will lead us forward for the next five years. I am pleased to report that the plan was approved by our Board of Trustees at its September 2012 meeting with unanimous support and enthusiasm.
   Our new Mission provides a foundation built from our past successes, reassuring all our constituents that the primary mission is essentially unchanged- "to provide the world's best undergraduate science, engineering, and mathematics education in an environment of individual attention and support."

New 'Vision' Offers A Bold Concept For Future

   However, our new Vision is a bold concept of what we can accomplish as an institute and what we can inspire our students to learn, achieve, and become. The Vision is what we consider the window into the future of the institute. After all, being number one is not just a trophy to
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hang on the wall; it is a deeply significant responsibility. As a number-one ranked school for 14 years in U.S. News & World Report's College Guide, we believe it is time to fully live this honor by becoming a recognized, global thought leader in science, engineering, and math education.
   In the early 1990s, when a small west-central Indiana engineering school set about to write a plan to become the best undergraduate engineering school in America, few would have thought it was possible.
   We believe our new Vision is as equally bold as the Vision to be  the Best was in the 1990s. In this statement,

work of reaching for these goals and making positive change happen. This fall we will engage in a focused process to develop our action plans, assign champions, develop target dates and milestones, develop progress benchmarks, and develop goals for a comprehensive fundraising campaign to support this plan.

Our Success Is Your Success

   As we travelled across the country to all The "Great" Debate meetings, we saw that there was no lack of committed and loyal alumni. We know that our success is your success, and that you care about Rose-Hulman and

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we see our students as a resource to "define and solve the problems of a complex global society." What's more, we see ourselves as a "recognized global leader."
   This is a large and purposeful Vision we have developed from our own community's aspirations and for our community. We believe the six goals of our Strategic Plan along with their associated strategies point the way forward and will bring this Vision into reality.
   We are calling the full plan "The Next Steps…" because it features forward-looking initiatives that will move The "Great" Debate's energy of transforming Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology from "best in class" into one of the great science, engineering, and math institutions in the world.
   Now that our Board of Trustees have approved the plan, it is time to roll up our sleeves and get started on the real

our future as much as ever. Thank you for all the ideas and goodwill you have put into this plan. And, please join me in extending our gratitude to the tireless Rose-Hulman trustees, faculty, staff, and students who staffed the iCAST committee and the strategic planning team. Their willingness to sacrifice many nights and weekends made the collection of our entire community's best ideas for the future of Rose-Hulman possible. 
   As you can see in the graphic, there is a "sixth toe" on Rosie's tracks to remind us that these six goals are a great evolutionary step, allowing us to be stronger, graceful, and deft, despite carrying a larger, more significant profile into the world.
   Now, let's get started on making these positive ideas happen and take the next giant steps into the future. Page Square
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