Local Community Invited to Provide Input to Williams College’s Strategic Planning Process

Media contact: Gregory Shook, director of media relations; tele: 413-597-3401; email: [email protected]

NOTE: This release has been updated to include an additional event in Bennington, Vt.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., October 1, 2019—Williams in the World, one of eight working groups at Williams College that is gathering input for the college’s strategic planning process, is seeking public input to help the college fulfill its mission in evolving times. The group is asking local residents to think out loud about how they could imagine Williams and its students, faculty, and staff becoming more fully and effectively engaged in the community—and farther afield.

There are three ways for members of the public to participate.

First, open forums will be held at the following times:

October 17
5 to 6:30 p.m.
The Green
85 Main St., North Adams

October 22
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Williamstown Youth Center
66 School St., Williamstown

October 24
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Zion Lutheran Church
74 First St., Pittsfield

October 29
8 to 9 a.m.
The Loose Cannon Café
139 Main St., Bennington, Vt.

Second, drop-in listening sessions will be held every Wednesday morning in October from 8 to 9 a.m. at The Spring Street Market and Café, located at 66 Spring St. in Williamstown.

Third, community members may share comments via the Williams College website at:

The goal of the strategic planning process is to map the road of major initiatives at the college for the next 10 to 15 years. A Coordinating Committee guides the process by articulating goals; confirming areas of interest and convening subcommittees to explore them through targeted outreach and feedback; and, finally, knitting the results into a plan to support the college’s educational ambitions.

Eight working groups are focused this fall on gathering input about various aspects of the college. The groups are Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Faculty and Staff Development; Governance; Learning beyond the Classroom; Student Learning; Sustainability; The Built Environment; and Williams in the World.

The final plan is expected to be produced throughout the winter and spring and finalized around the end of the academic year.

“Williams has certainly become more engaged in the community in recent years, but there’s no reason to believe that that evolution is complete,” said Jim Kolesar, assistant to the president for community and government affairs at Williams. “The strategic planning process is an occasion to think broadly about further evolution, and to do so in conversation with the college’s neighbors.”


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.