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Securing its future

By Matt Evans
The Business Journal

JANUARY 6-12, 2012

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WinSton-Salem — One year for a school with a history dating back to the Revolutionary War may seem insignificant. But 2012 will be an important one for the future of Salem College and its president, Susan Pauly. It will have one fewer fellow historic women’s college, for one thing. After 150 to Watch years, Peace College in Raleigh announced last summer that it would begin accepting men this year, as other women’s colleges have done in an effort to broaden their educational missions and applicant pools. But Pauly has been adamant that that’s not in Salem’s plans, this year or any other. Instead, 2012 will be about making sure Salem College has the strategy, strength and size to continue on its path of the past 240 years. That its classes and campus are getting more and more crowded is evidence that path is necessary, she says. “Every institution is unique, but certainly at Salem I can tell you that with our largest entering classes in 39 years, our chief challenge is how to grow,” she says. “We’re feeling very blessed and excited for our future as a women’s college.” In 2011 Salem laid the outlines for its future physical growth, centered on property that is now the Winston-Salem City Yard next door, which could add about 25 acres to Salem’s current 60-acre campus. It will take more than one year — along with quite a bit of fundraising and negotiation — to accomplish that, but in 2012 several steps will be taken toward that goal, and the broader need to prepare Salem for the future. As The Business Journal reported in December, one dramatic step may be the construction of a new student center in the center of the existing campus, the first new building at the school in half a century. Architects are working on plans now, and a formal announcement of the project may come in the spring. Also, the process of updating the school’s strategic plan is getting under way, Pauly says. That will help outline the educational

need to be addressed soon too. That could involve some changes to the current mandatory residence requirement for traditional-age students, or new housing. Space and time are tight, but she says current techniques such as modular construction could Julie Knight / the business Journal come into play. Susan Pauly, president of Salem College in Winston“But it will be critical that whatSalem, will be guiding the historic school through a ever we do speaks to our architectural new growth plan, which includes the construction of heritage,” she says. “We’ll never put a student center, the first new building on the campus up something that doesn’t do that.” in half a century. Academically, Pauly says Salem will be seeking ways to add to the and financial factors to be considered as the science and technology opportunities it school reckons with future growth. offers students. Its future physical expanThe current strategic plan goes to 2013, sion allow closer ties to the Piedmont Triad but the faculty, staff, student and community Research Park, but Pauly says it’s important engagement needs to start now with the goal to keep prioritizing science and technology of adopting the next plan by April of next in the meantime. year. The plans both for the near and long terms The growth plan will surely cost money, are exciting to Gwynne Stephens Taylor, a and Pauly says a capital campaign is in the Salem alumnae and local historic presernear future as well. That would help pay for vationist who chairs the college’s board of land acquisition, building construction and trustees. renovations to the many historic buildings Pauly has shown herself to be a visionary already on campus. leader, she says, and is well-positioned to “We haven’t set a campaign dollar amount help usher in a future for Salem College that yet, but we’re very energetically preparing honors its historic past. for the quiet phase that will be launching very “The (founding) Moravians never stood soon,” she says. still, they were really very progressive in Pauly added that since student housing is many ways, though people tend to forget currently about maxed out, that issue will that,” she says.

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