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William Jewell approves strategic plan, names new members to Board of Trustees
Contact: Rob Eisele816-415-7574
November 7, 2007

At its regularly scheduled fall meeting, the William Jewell College Board of Trustees approved a strategic plan aimed at charting the course of the college for the next 10 years.

“We have invested two years and involved over 200 stakeholders in the development of this plan,” said Dr. David Sallee, president of William Jewell College. “It is designed to take the College to a new level among national liberal arts colleges.”

William Jewell, the only national liberal arts college in the Kansas City area, plans to move toward membership in the nation’s most prestigious national academic organization, Phi Beta Kappa; double its present endowment of $86 million; shift its athletic programs to National Collegiate Athletic Association membership from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics; and raise its admission standards to the level of the best liberal arts colleges in the country.

“Being selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa is a long and rigorous process, but one that yields great benefits,” according to Sallee. “That process could take the full length of this ten-year plan. However, institutions are often known by the company they keep, and Phi Beta Kappa is the best ‘company’ in the country.”

Sallee also noted the benefits of NCAA membership: “The value of being a member of NCAA is similar; there is great power in the NCAA brand, so we would like to benefit from the power of that brand. Like the move to Phi Beta Kappa, this move will take several years, but will be worth the wait,” Sallee said.

“The success of this plan will hinge on two things—our willingness to focus on the outcomes that it provides for and our ability to raise the funds to support it. We are working now on a plan for a comprehensive campaign to double the endowment, improve our facilities, and provide the necessary annual support that a top-level national liberal arts college requires.

“Jewell has long provided an excellent educational experience. This plan, however, will take the experience our graduates have to an entirely new level. Education is all about having the best faculty and the best students. Implementing this plan will insure that we have both at William Jewell College.”

Dr. Anne Dema, vice president for institutional effectiveness and chief of staff, has been working closely with faculty committees and other key constituents to guide Jewell through the step-by-step planning process.

“We have affirmed our current situation and provided a vision of the future that includes identifying key capabilities that we need to accomplish to move toward becoming a highly selective liberal arts college,” Dr. Dema said.

These include teaching at the highest level; recruiting the best students in the five-state region; communicating the college’s distinctive attributes and values; and raising funds to support annual operations, capital needs and endowment growth.

“Residential liberal arts colleges like William Jewell, with the kind of community of learning and living they create, offer one of the most transforming environments in which to pursue a higher education,” Sallee said. “The kind of liberal arts experience we are building offers the most effective preparation in an ever-changing world for a lifetime of meaningful and productive work, commitment to civic and community leadership, and spiritual growth and happiness.”

In other action, the Board approved the appointment of two new members, Dianne Shumaker and John Gill.

Dianne Shumaker is a member of the William Jewell class of 1966. She earned a master’s of science in counselor education at Pittsburg State University and a master’s of theology in Christian education at St. Paul’s School of Theology. She has also completed a clinical pastoral education program at St. Luke’s Hospital. Her chaplaincy has also included the Olathe Medical Center and St. Luke’s South Hospital. Dianne has been both a full-time and substitute school teacher, and an emergency assistance worker at Catholic Charities. She has supported William Jewell as a donor and volunteer, issuing a challenge to alumni in 2003 which resulted in a higher level of alumni financial support.

John Gill is a member of the William Jewell College class of 1979. He is the President of Gill Enterprises, Inc., and the Managing General Partner of the Gill Family Investments, LP. His responsibilities include managing oil and natural gas investments in Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. He also manages the 4,000-acre Gill family farm. He has been an active member of the President’s Advisory Council and is a former member of the Alumni Board of Governors. John and his family provided support for the renovation and addition to the Yates-Gill College Union, which was dedicated in the fall of 2006. He is an assistant governor for Rotary International and also serves as an officer or director for several levee district boards in the Missouri River valley. He graduated from the Missouri Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow program in 1985.

In addition, the Board approved tenure for Dr. Donna M. Gardner, associate professor of education and chair. Dr. Gardner received her B.S. and M.A. from Northeast Missouri State University and her Ph.D. from St. Louis University. She joined the William Jewell faculty in 2003.

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