Strategic Plan 2013-2018

This overview of our five year strategic plan presents our goals for people and programs, resources, and facilities and infrastructure at Sterling College.

Each section begins with an overview of what we aspire to achieve during this five-year period, followed by goals. The goals represent our core vision for Sterling.

Assumptions Underlying the Plan:

  1. Our mission and our unique educational model are well suited to address the challenges of this particular period of human history. A thriving Sterling College will make important contributions to higher education and to environmental stewardship.
  2. To remain small and to thrive will require that Sterling both increase its financial resources and carefully align its aspirations with a prudent plan for growth that will strengthen the College’s long-term stability. Diverse sources of income for the College will be essential in sustaining its small size.
  3. The value of a Sterling education to society is based in the quality of the educational experience of its students. Because the faculty and staff are critical to the fulfillment of the mission, the wellbeing of those who work at Sterling is an uppermost priority of this plan.
  4. The impact of our educational model and its pertinence to society place financial access for prospective and current students among our highest priorities. As part of its mission, the College seeks to serve a diverse student population whose passion for environmental stewardship is paramount.
  5. Sterling College is among a small number of rural liberal arts colleges in the United States. The College should embrace the advantages of being in the midst of a revolution in food systems and its proximity to natural areas of great beauty and ecological diversity in Northern New England.
  6. The specialized nature of our mission and our vision require a commitment to authentically living the values we espouse with regard to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Therefore, the care of our land and the wise use of energy and conservation are among our highest priorities.
  7. Effective advocacy for Sterling requires that those who are affiliated with it have the capacity to easily, and succinctly, describe the mission and curriculum to our stakeholders and the world. We must advocate for the College based on the compelling need in society for our graduates and the skills and vision they bring to the future.

Program & People

Program Goals

The program section of this plan considers the goals that will allow Sterling College to both sustain and expand the reach of its mission. It represents the collective aspirations of our community and our goals over the course of the next five years to ensure that we prepare future generations of environmental stewards.

Goal: To offer an exemplary experiential place-based liberal arts academic program to aspiring environmental stewards.

Goal: To support an academic curriculum modeled on learning outcomes.

Goal: To ensure that every student can complete a degree in a timely and efficient fashion.

Goal: To ensure that the calendar and schedule support the educational objectives of the College.

Goal: To ensure that a Sterling education includes global perspectives on environmental stewardship and expands upon the community’s understanding of social justice.

Goal: To strengthen and better define the learning opportunities associated with living in community.

Goal: To create a rich and rewarding on-campus experience for students and the community as a whole.

Goal: To affirm the institutional commitment to the Work Program.

Goal: To reaffirm the College’s commitment to Expedition and the Bounder programs.

Goal: To facilitate the early impact Sterling alumni will have as environmental stewards.

Goal: To strengthen the capacity of the community to use information technology to support broader outreach efforts to the world and to make our work simpler, more efficient, and more effective.

People Goals

The individuals who comprise our community are at the core of the mission, define the educational experience of our students, and ultimately govern what we are able to collectively achieve. How we organize our community is a reflection on our values and our capacity to work collectively and to express trust in our individual roles and contributions.

Goal: To retain and attract talented and passionate faculty who express their commitment to environmental stewardship through life experience, teaching, advising, advocacy, and research.

Goal: To retain and attract talented and passionate administrative staff, who express commitment to environmental stewardship through their support of the students and the advancement of the College’s mission.

Goal: To ensure that Sterling has the best possible administrative structures and leadership for meeting both its long- and short-term objectives.


The mission of the College cannot be met if the resources necessary to fulfill it are not available. The relationship of our mission to the resources that support it is a critical element of this plan, but limitations or perceived limitation should not limit our aspirations for the future of Sterling College. While able to make do with the resources at hand and to be effective in the use of funds, the College and its community seek to expand the resources that support the daily work of educating the next generation of environmental stewards.

Goal: To ensure that Sterling College has the financial resources it needs to meet its mission.

Goal: To improve alignment with our educational mission and the aspirations of our community by becoming increasingly self-sufficient and committing to practices that are consistent with environmental stewardship.

Goal: To recruit and retain a diverse population of approximately 120 students committed to environmental stewardship.

Goal: To expand the reach of the Sterling College mission, educational model, and curriculum.

Goal: To celebrate the accomplishments of all of our alumni.

Goal: To ensure that Sterling College is widely recognized as a leader among progressive, place-based liberal arts colleges and as an important voice on environmental stewardship.

Facilities & Infrastructure Goals

Sterling College will have well-maintained facilities appropriate to the aspirations of our community, our curriculum, and our values including environmental stewardship. To sustain such a campus will require that the College develop adequate funds to maintain and repair its facilities, equipment, tools, and other physical resources. The campus will be integrated into the community of Craftsbury Common and will present an appealing appearance to our neighbors with whom we will seek to share our resources.

Specifically, the College will endeavor to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and will commit to increasingly live by its commitment to environmental stewardship.

Goal: To restore and renovate the campus so that all buildings are efficient and attractive and serve the needs of the community and a population of approximately 120 students.

For More Information

For a full copy of this Strategic Plan, please contact the Office of the President:

Katie Lavin
Assistant to the President
Office of the President
PO Box 72, 16 Sterling Drive
Craftsbury Common, VT 05827
(802) 586-7711 x 111