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Practice : Spring 2012
Changes in Practice and the Academy The BAC’s Strategic Plan lays out broad directions for the next five years based on our values and principles; each year’s events keep the Plan viable and enlivened by opportunities or economic realities.There is planning, and then there is the reality of practice — total congruence between educational plans and outcomes cannot always be expected.Yet careful planning helps set our directions and priorities, and our broadly-based strategic planning process has engaged all of the BAC’s many communities. Our last Five Year Plan set forth principles of growth and diversification that did not specifically mandate or anticipate some of the most important and encouraging developments in the BAC’s history: the growth of online learning, the purchase of 951 Boylston Street, the hiring of a Provost, our participation in the international U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition, or the acquisition of the Landscape Institute. Each of these improvements has made the BAC a much better school, and all emerged from the Goal 1 commitment developed by the last Strategic Planning group “to achieve consistent excellence in education in response to a changing professional environment.” To a very great extent, we have far exceeded the expectations of our most recent Five Year Plan by being prudently opportunistic in realizing the general goals of that plan. In setting out to develop the 2011– 16 Five Year Plan, we sought to draw upon our experiences over the past five years, and to be inclusive in enabling the widest range of community members to participate in sharing their views. Chairs and members of our Board Standing Committees were invited to submit their recommendations early in our process, and task forces on governance and other subjects were brought together to add their input. BAC Senior Staff reviewed past accreditation reports and self-assessment documents, and their thoughts were incorporated into the drafts. The world of 2011 is very different from the world of 2005, when our Board, staff, students and faculty developed the current comprehensive Strategic Plan. Our economic futures are much less optimistic today as professional design markets have collapsed. American architec- ture school enrollments have declined by nearly 20% over the past two years, and professional practice opportunities are far fewer and much different than they were five years ago.The numbers of American high school graduates will continue to decline over the coming few years, even as the number of architecture programs increases. So where our last plan might have been considered prudently opportunistic, this coming Plan must be deemed oppor tunistically prudent in recognizing that the resources we will have to work with will likely be less than in the past, and that we must use all of our institutional agility to continue to provide the best practice-based inter-disciplinary professional design education in America. Board of Trustees Chair Russ Feldman The current Strategic Plan must be deemed oppor tunistically pr udent. We mus t use all of our institutional agility to continue to provide the best pr ac tice-based inter-disciplinar y professional design education in America. OPPORTUNITIES & CHOICES WILL GUIDE OUR PRIORITIES INTO 2016 THE NEW STRATEGIC PLAN PRACTICE 52