Deepening the role of the college as a citizen of Williamsport
Strengthen and Enhance the Relationship between Lycoming College and the Greater Williamsport Community so as to Enrich Academic Learning and Create More Applied Experiences for Lycoming Students while also promoting the Economic, Cultural, and Civic Well-Being of Williamsport and the Surrounding Region.
The best liberal arts colleges in the country create institutional cultures in which there is interconnectedness with the cities and communities in which they are located. Colleges do this because of the intrinsic importance of partnerships in delivering a first rate education to students and preparing them as thinkers, leaders, and citizens but also because the quality of life in the surrounding communities significantly impacts its ability to pursue its mission, enhance its reputation and compete for students and faculty. In short, the relationship between Lycoming College and the surrounding community connects in profound ways to both our educational mission and our market position.
In doing this work, it is important to ask two distinct, though interrelated, sets of questions. The first set grows out of the academic program and asks how we can enhance and deepen student learning through becoming more engaged in the community. Typical examples include internships, courses that employ the pedagogy of community-based learning, and volunteer activities. The second set of question emerges from a focus on the surrounding communities and asks how Lycoming College can contribute to the betterment of the region. This second focus recognizes that the College’s capacity to recruit students, faculty and staff is profoundly affected by the quality of life in Williamsport. Examples include educational enrichment offered to local elementary and secondary school students, providing cultural and recreational activities that are open to the community, and investing in the redevelopment of areas that lie on the perimeter of campus.
Strategy 1: Soften our campus borders and encourage students to get off campus while also inviting community members onto the campus
As the College undertakes a master facility planning process, it will adopt a community- minded approach that seeks to break down the borders—both physical and cultural— between the College and the wider community. This will help bring about the twin objectives of encouraging the Lycoming community to get off campus and inviting community members to come to Lycoming’s campus.
Tactic: Ensure that the campus master planning process gives priority to community engagement and creates a physical plant with spaces and facilities that can benefit the campus and local communities.
Tactic: Engage in the planning process for Old City and East Third Street redevelopment with the objective of redefining Lycoming’s southern border in such a way that it becomes a destination for both the local community and members of Lycoming’s community.
Tactic: Make investments in Williamsport, especially south of campus, as an institutional tactic to create spaces that advance the educational program and strategic interests of the College.
Tactic: Consider relocating some facilities, such as an art gallery or campus store to a location that is more accessible to community members; examine the possibility of partnering with existing businesses or Penn College.
Tactic: Consider opportunities to re-imagine the location and positioning of athletic venues, health and wellness facilities, and student housing to be near and adjacent to other off-campus destinations.
Strategy 2: Create organizational structures that encourage, harness, enable, and market the ways in which Lycoming contributes to the community
Tactic: Assign community engagement to an appropriate administrator, possibly in the Office of the President.
Strategy 3: Provide distinctive programs that have a significant impact on the community
Tactic: Host a Suite of Annual Marquee Events, Seminars, and Programs on Lycoming’s Campus.
Possibilities include a major concert on the quad each spring/summer, perhaps in conjunction with Alumni Weekend; a summer arts festival, including a summer outdoor movie series; including community members into outdoor recreation programs; non- credit seminars and courses for community members taught by emeritus faculty, and convening project-based forums to help address community questions, challenges, or opportunities.