This school year marks the seventh year of the Dr. Jonathan Palmer presidency. With so much experience under his belt, College President Dr. Jonathan Palmer is ready to hit the ground running this year, with many objectives already in motion. Principia is one institution, therefore one main goal for the year is to improve communication between the two campuses, The School in St. Louis and the College in Elsah.

What is the Executive Committee?

In an effort to accomplish this objective, a new Executive Committee was formed in August. This Executive Committee meets weekly, alternating between STL and Elsah. This group represents the highest level positions at Principia. Here’s a breakdown of who’s who.

President of Principia: Jonathan Palmer

Vice Presidents: Doug Gibbs, VP of Finance & Operations; Karen Grimmer, VP of Administration; Peter Stevens, VP of External Affairs

From The School Campus: Travis Brantingham, Principal; Lee Fletcher-Magguigin, Dean of Students; Brad Warrick, Head of Experiential Learning

From the College: Joe Ritter, Dean of Academics; Debra Jones, Dean of Students; Lee Ellis, Athletic Director

This 10-member committee represents all aspects of Principia affairs and as such allows for much more efficient decision making. Palmer is happy with the way the Executive Committee structure has been working out stating, “I think it’s working. Things are more complete and the group is more aware of Principia as a whole.”

What is the strategic plan? 

In other administrative news, “strategic plan” has been a recent buzzword. This phrase has been tossed around, but here are the cold, hard facts. Work on the strategic plan began in May 2013, and includes 22 champion teams each representing various aspects of Principia life. The strategic plan is a five-part plan that encompasses the objectives for the next five-years.

  1. Educational excellence – How does Principia accommodate a wide range of students?
  2. Christian Science based character education
  3. Nurture success beyond graduation
  4. Grow enrollment
  5. Sustainability

What happened at convocation? 

Many people in the audience at convocation were expecting an announcement on the homosexuality policy that never came. The Trustees have been discussing this policy for almost two years now, yet Palmer said, “There has been no change in the decision whatsoever.” In regards to his actual address, Palmer did not have the policy in mind when he was writing it and did not consciously allude to aspects of the policy during his address.

What are Palmer’s goals this year?

While the strategic plan encompasses Principia as a whole and looks to more long-term goals, Palmer also has specific goals for the College this year including reevaluating student learning outcomes, examining collaboration with other institutions such as the new engineering degree, and further experimenting with online education. Attracting higher achieving students, winning more athletic contests, and providing better internship and job support for students and graduates would also boost Principia’s reputation. In thinking about how to move forward, Palmer asked, “How do we maintain the freshness and promise?”

What is Palmer looking forward to? 

Palmer is really looking forward to all the events being offered on campus this fall as well as supporting legacy programs such as Solar Car and the Mediation Team and campus institutions. Palmer said, “I’m thankful for what I see going on [at Principia], however I’m firmly aware that there are a lot of things we could be doing better.”