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President Bierman announces why we're moving forward, fast

November 16, 2012

In a brief address broadcast live and online to Beloiters across the country and world November 15, Beloit College President Scott Bierman shared a list of recent accomplishments and accolades but saved most of his time to introduce and explain the college’s new campaign strategy and slogan—Fast Forward: The Campaigns for Beloiters.

See the announcement video here: “President Bierman introduces Fast Forward”

Standing in the living room of the home he occupies on campus, next to the desk of Beloit’s first president, Bierman borrowed his predecessor’s words.

“I have nothing here to pledge or to promise but the devotion of an honest purpose,” he began, quoting President Aaron Lucius Chapin’s inaugural address.

Calling out to alumni and friends of the college, Bierman asked that they join him in this devotion to the honest and important work of supporting the college and, more importantly, its people. The campaign slogan, “Fast Forward: The Campaigns for Beloiters,” he said, intentionally calls out this focus on those impacted by this set of carefully selected priorities, as well as the speed at which the college intends to tackle these initiatives.

The college’s so-called modular or project-based campaign strategy centers around six specific areas of focus. The college intends to fund raise to support curricular innovation and classroom work through the “Liberal Arts in Practice” module, as well as focus on raising dollars for scholarships, the endowment, and the annual fund, which was just renamed the “Beloiter Fund.”

Also on the college’s priority list: “Renewing the Historic Core” projects aimed at preserving and updating college spaces, as well as a facility project recently announced that could, if all goes well, turn a nearby power plant into an activity and recreation center for the college.

Before Forward, a look back

Bierman began his remarks on Thursday evening, Nov. 15, with updates on recent successes at the college. Among the news highlighted was the national media attention the faculty’s advising work has garnered; recent accolades related to teaching quality on the campus (including a #6 ranking in U.S. News’ Best Colleges issue, and a #17 ranking for “best classroom experience” in the Princeton Review); and the college’s inclusion in the latest edition of the influential book, “Colleges That Change Lives.”

How Fast Forward is different

This new approach is a departure from the traditional model of campaign-based fundraising in higher education. Inside Higher Ed, one of the two leading publications covering academe, said as much when it reported on the college’s campaign plans last fall in a story titled “The Non-Campaign Campaign.” The comprehensive campaign model, which very often fixates on a total-raised dollar goal, has been successful for many schools, including Beloit (which just last year closed the books on its own $100 million “Classic. Daring. Life-Changing.” campaign).

But Bierman says that isn’t the model Beloit currently requires. Rather, Beloit will focus its efforts on a handful of college-set, mission-centric priorities. This approach not only requires the college to think differently about priorities, but also requires donors to act and give more quickly.

As Bierman said in his address, “We seek resources we can use on the ground, today, to augment student access and experiences; resources for energizing, today, our distinctive new curriculum; resources that enhance, today, the value of a Beloit degree; resources that can move the college forward, and fast.”

Read more about Fast Forward and the college’s priorities at www.beloit.edu/fastforward.