Snapshots from a Year of Gathering


July 27, 2012, A Midsummer Town Hall

Town Hall   

Midsummer Town Hall brought out a full house of faculty and staff
to hear an update and participate in the progress of The "Great"


In the middle of summer vacation for many, faculty and staff attended the Midsummer Town Hall in great numbers to hear an update on The "Great" Debate progress so far.

Rose-Hulman interim president Robert Coons shared, in a PowerPoint presentation, some of the results of the process to this point. And gave hints of the direction to come, asking for continued inpupt from the community.




June 16: New York Looks at New Categories

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The most common approach among attendees in New York was to group themes together relative to a student's experience, before attending Rose-Hulman, while attending Rose-Hulman, and after attending Rose-Hulman... Improving Rose-Hulman's name recognition was also a major topic of discussion with participants.




June 9: The "Great" Debate Goes West Coast

The Great Debate San Francisco NewsThe focus of discussion in San Francisco was transforming 11 major themes defined in The "Great" Debate so far into aggregate, "meta" themes, which will inform the strategic planning process this summer."

One recommendation that stands out as distinct in the organizational concept from the others is "Before, During, and After," referring to the student experience with the institute. "Before" themes are most important in the decision to become students here. "During" themes would address such things as innovative teaching and learning, the on-campus environment, global experiences, and other student experiences during their undergraduate years. "After" themes would address such things as preparation for professional practice, the ability to deal with complexity, and other concepts that pertain to the alumni experience.

May 25: President Coons Gives Update

Jim Goecker Terre Haute 200pxDuring a week of campus events around The "Great" Debate (May 14 - 17), faculty and staff looked at the discussion to date. It was a time of refining ideas from previous discussions, as workshop groups sought to clarify the Great Debate going forward. Following these events, on May 25, President Robert Coons delivered some highlights from the sessions to the community. Workshops had discussed educational goals for the school such as leadership, global citizenship, and the rigor implied by terms like "excellence."

April 14: Chicago Draws Large group with Widest Age Span

the great debate Chicago 200pxThanks to the arrangements of Rose-Hulman alumnus and Trustee Jeffrey B. Burgan, we were able to hold our Chicago alumni engagement at the beautiful and historical University Club of Chicago, where Burgan is a member. There on Michigan Avenue, just across the street from Millennium Park, a great showing of over 50 alumni, parents and Trustees turned out to share ideas about Rose-Hulman's future. The group included one of our oldest living alumni, Trustee Emeritus Howard H. Irvin, as well as some of our most recent alumni from the classes of 2009 and '10.

March 24: Detroit Takes Advantage of Most Diverse Constituent Group

TGD--Detroit 200pxIn Detroit, The "Great" Debate fanned out among alumni ranging from the 1960s to May 2011. The diverse group of attendees included current and former Rose-Hulman Board of Trustees members, emeriti faculty, and parents of current students, providing an exceptional opportunity for brainstorming among a wide cross-section of the Rose-Hulman family.  The group took advantage of this diverse prism to scrutinize key questions that have emerged through other sessions:

What premium skills and qualities should Rose-Hulman instill in its graduates?  What opportunities can Rose-Hulman present in the area of global and international awareness?  The group also applied the many-faceted prism to recurring topics around challenges, such as the challenges of access and affordability.

March 20: Student Engagement Revs Up

students page 250pxStudents from a variety of majors and class years have volunteered to encourage their fellow students to join in with The "Great" Debate.

"It went great!" said student volunteer Andrew Jordan. "There was a lot of student interest, especially in the video we were playing.  I even got some pretty good video interviews of students."

Beginning on Tuesday, March 20, members of the Student iCAST Team set up a multi-media environment on campus to call attention to the Debate and help build student engagement in the discussions. The team set out a display of "Great" Debate posters (one of them designed by Brian Cherbak using the image of The Self Made Man statue), and they also ran The "Great" Debate video that energizes the alumni events. And then they asked students to record on a colorful Post It Note what they consider to be the Core Values of Rose-Hulman.

March 17: Largest Away Forum in The "Great" Debate

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The exceptional level of energy and enthusiasm that has characterized all of The "Great" Debate discussions continued this past weekend in Washington, D.C. when Rose-Hulman senior leadership met with Rose-Hulman alumni and friends at the historic Willard Hotel.  After brainstorming areas for future growth, such as access, affordability, and diversity, participants focused on shaping the qualities that a Rose-Hulman education ought to imbue in its graduates.

Indy: The "Great" Debate Grows by Largest Number Yet; Direction Shifting

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March 10, 2012 saw the largest single off-campus gathering for the "Great" Debate so far. Sixty-one attendees converged on The American Red Cross Headquarters in Indianapolis, representing a wide span of graduating classes from 1945 to 2011 and every decade in between.  Indy alums and their friends had the opportunity to meet with President Branam and several members of the institute Cabinet, along with the information collection team. After the turning point in Dallas, the focus of the discussion has made a natural shift as it starts to examine the opportunities and challenges facing Rose-Hulman in its future.




Turning Point: Dallas, TX, February 11, 2012

President Branam and Vern Gross '61 in Dallas

It started in Dallas: The "Great" Debate reached a turning point and headed full throttle into the transition phase.  Our events across the nation have generated a lot of feedback from the Rose-Hulman community, and one of the most pivotal discussion sessions at The "Great" Debate events, is when participants break out into groups to consider the core values of our institution and the broader aspirations we have for the Rose-Hulman community.  Suggestions from these sessions have ranged from "wish-list" game plans to short-term implementations and everything in between.

Starting in Dallas, The "Great" Debate participants were able to help synthesize this feedback, to scan ideas great and small and start the culling process that will lead to our short list of concrete, attainable goals.  It's an exciting time in the process.

The refinement that alumni in Dallas brought to the previously collected information is instrumental to propelling the process into its next phase. Visit the photo album from Dallas.

First Student Session Kicks Off Campus Momentum

President Branam invited students to participate in The "Great" Debate, saying, "Within our student body are some of the most innovative young thinkers in the world."  Branam said student input would help Rose-Hulman "rise to meet the toughest challenges and set a new standard."

And on January 26, Rose-Hulman students came in large numbers with plenty of energy and ideas. The "Great" Debate momentum is tangible around campus.
See the photo album.
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Los Angeles: Momentum Builds


Dr. Cary Laxer captures alumni insights for shaping Rose-Hulman's future as The "Great" Debate moves forward.

In Los Angeles, 20 participants came together at the Westin Bonaventure hotel to meet with President Branam and the The "Great" Debate team as the tour gathers momentum. Vice President for Institutional Development Rickey McCurry and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Phil Cornwell, shared some of their current strategies with the group, and led the discussion of challenges that may face the institute in the future. The "Great" Debate is designed to capture the best ideas from our community, and so the workshop began by examining Rose-Hulman's cores values.

Naples Florida: First Road Event a Success!

On behalf of Rose-Hulman's direction for the future, the Rose-Hulman "Great" Debate team takes to the road in 2012. The kick-off alumni engagement event, January 14 in Naples Florida, was a great success!

It brought together alumni of graduating classes ranging from the 1940s to the 2000s. The alums engaged in a lively and thought-provoking discussion of several foundational issues at the core of building Rose-Hulman's future.  After a brief introductory presentation on the current state of the Institute, participants divided into small groups for more in-depth discussions on the identity and core values of Rose-Hulman, and their aspirations for their school in the future.

Rose-Hulman president, Matt Branam, shares
ideas with alums Charles "Chic" '58 and wife Arlene Kleptz; right: Gary Tate '58.


Retirees Luncheon, December 6, 2011

Following the annual retiree recognition luncheon and reception on December 6, 2011, seven of Rose-Hulman's retired faculty and professional staff members gathered for a focus group discussion on a range of topics.

The group brainstormed critical questions like:

  • How should Rose-Hulman define "Great" as the institute looks to its future?
  • What will be the foreseeable challenges in Rose-Hulman's future?
  • How do we measure the value of a Rose-Hulman education?

At the end of the session, retirees brought forward some key points:


  • Rose-Hulman should measure the quality of its graduates against the needs of employers and the capabilities of other recent baccalaureate graduates entering graduate schools and the professional workforce
  • Rose-Hulman has a solid foundation in its alumni base, but that base is both small and young
  • Positive, proactive communication with all constituencies in the broader Rose-Hulman community is essential
  • Rose-Hulman's greatest achievements were decades in the making.


Dads Day, Fall, 2011:
Parents of Rose-Hulman Students Joined Feedback Session

logo 200 Great Debate parents
Attending three optional sessions offered over Dads Day weekend,
parents' thoughtful feedback will help inform the direction of Rose-Hulman
moving forward.




Parents' Feedback
Parents discuss their expectations from Rose-Hulman in this forum, a model that will be
used to engage the community in strategic brainstorming sessions during The "Great" Debate.