Excellence in All Things
“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
– Unknown author, circa 1885
NBSS has long prided itself on upholding the principles and practices of the craftsmanship tradition and on its dedication to the highest quality work. This past year, this concept of, and dedication to, fine craftsmanship was extended to the administration of the School. It was formally codified in the Strategic Plan 2016–2020, which was finalized and approved at the June 2015 Board meeting.
The overarching goals of the Plan are to fully realize the programmatic potential of the new building, and to secure the long term financial sustainability of the School.
The School promptly completed one of the major objectives of the Plan: hiring Rebecca W. King, Executive Vice President, to oversee the School’s core financial, enrollment, marketing, and administrative functions. With this new EVP on board, President Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez can focus more closely on positioning NBSS as a leader in craft education and on rebuilding the School’s endowment. Provost Claire Fruitman can now focus solely on academics, curriculum, and faculty development. Together, these three form a senior leadership team at NBSS who will build upon the fantastic foundation laid over the past 136 years.
Since last summer, almost every aspect of the School has been examined to see how systems, processes, and policies can be improved, streamlined, and enhanced. Some changes have been big and highly visible, such as the hiring of four new staff members (Director of Continuing Education, Director of Marketing & Communications, Director of Student Life & Career Services, and School Administrator). Other changes have been more administrative and less visible, such as the enhanced student billing system created by our Controller and Director of Financial Aid or the implementation of monthly enrollment reports for full-time and Continuing Education programs. In addition, we have implemented software and systems to better attract, manage, and communicate with prospective students. In addition, we are currently redesigning the NBSS website to be more flexible, friendly, and useful for visitors—whether they’re interested in enrolling in full-time programs, signing up for a Continuing Education class, attending an event at the School, or partnering with our institution.
Due to a change in state law, the School underwent the state licensure process for the first time, requiring us to update our Enrollment Agreement and make the contract between the School and students clearer. A more formalized reporting structure for staff allowed for improved communication and collaboration.
Changes visible to our students and alumni included restructured Student Life and Career Services events, such as the creation of program-specific Networking Days that more directly connect students to industry employers. Also, Alumni Services moved from Development to its previous home in Career Services. Updates the public may have noticed include the restructuring of our Annual Celebration of Craft exhibit and events, the addition of new benches in the Continuing Education woodworking rooms, and our facilitation of public meetings in Windgate Gallery. These are the first steps toward more robust public programming that will help realize the potential of our building.
This list of changes isn’t exhaustive, but does begin to fulfill the promise of the Strategic Plan. Everything accomplished, big or small, has improved the student experience, and made the School smarter, more cost effective, and more efficient. Most importantly, all the changes this past year have forged more collaborative relationships among departments, energized the School community, and demonstrated that the work of the administration should mirror the expectations we have of our students: to pay attention to detail and to always strive towards excellence in all things.