Office of the President
Teresa L. Amott, 19th President of Knox College
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
Knox 2022 builds on the College’s previous strategic plan, Knox 2018. The new plan expands on strategic priorities that are already well under way, refines and refocuses priorities that have changed, and retains as an ongoing priority those that have not yet been achieved. A draft of the plan was presented to all faculty and staff in two open forums, and the Board of Trustees reviewed the plan during its fall 2019 meeting. During spring 2020, however, every institution of higher education moved into a very different planning mode to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic situation. The parameters of “the new normal” are only now beginning to come into focus, but it is clear that every element of the College’s operations, from our educational delivery to our residential character, will be revisited as we evaluate the pandemic’s impact and develop flexible strategies. In addition, the events of recent months have brought into very sharp focus the imperative to address matters of equity and to act more intentionally to address areas of systemic racism.
—Teresa L. Amott, President
More than eight years after Knox first began to pursue the goals laid out in Knox 2018, the College finds itself in a contradictory position—financially and academically stronger than at virtually any other moment in its history, but facing challenges that, while not unique to our institution, represent potentially serious risks.
Knox enjoys a strong and growing national reputation for its teaching quality, its role as an engine of upward mobility, and the diversity of its student body. At the same time, however, the COVID-19 pandemic and the correspondingly necessary move to virtual and hybrid learning environments has made it more difficult to maintain the parts of our academic program—close collaboration between students and faculty, as well as opportunities for experiential learning beyond the classroom—that make a Knox education distinct and valuable. Meanwhile, with the cost of a college education rising and a greater number of prospective students facing financial challenges, sustaining the College’s historic mission of access has become increasingly expensive. Finally, as the nation once again reckons with racism pervasive throughout its history and its political and economic systems, and within its communities, it is vitally important that the rich tapestry of cultures, backgrounds, identities, and points of view that comprises the Knox community be reflected in all that we do.
It is in facing challenges like these that the value of a Knox education is most evident. We need more citizens with the critical acumen to navigate an information environment rife with hidden agendas. We need more leaders with the ability and willingness to consider the ethical, social, and economic consequences of new technologies. Most importantly, we need more people who are invested in the well-being of people who might seem to have little in common with them.
As long as the world needs the changemakers who are Knox graduates, it needs Knox College. Thus, It is heartening to recognize, though the world has changed profoundly since we first shared the broad outlines of Knox 2022 with the Knox community in late 2019, its three strategic goals continue to provide a solid road map for moving forward:
The impact of systemic racism also requires that we change ourselves and create a new Knox that truly promotes equity and justice. The responsibility for change lies primarily with those of us who have benefited from the systemic advantages that are the outcomes of systemic racism.
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