Hampshire College Farm Steering Committee
Sow to Achieve Results (STAR)
Farm STAR Guidance Document
The purpose of this draft document is to provide a summary of the charge for the committee, keys to successful governance, and guidance for functioning of the Farm STAR, based on the work of the Farm Steering Committee in Winter 2014/2015.
- Hampshire College Farm: Steering Committee
Sow To Achieve Results (STAR)
The Hampshire Farm is a unique resource that is valued across our community for the important role it plays in our teaching, research, culture, and experience. It is part of our identity, a major factor in attracting new students, a source of a portion of the food we consume, and a fond memory for alumni. We are committed to building on those qualities in the coming years. The Farm STAR is a small committee of students, faculty, and staff willing and able to commit to regular meetings and on-going work representing and communicating with the Hampshire Community as a whole. The Farm STAR will work with the multiple segments of the community involved with and interested in the farm to advance and implement a broad vision of the farm’s role in the future.
Hampshire Farm Mission and Vision:
The mission of the Hampshire College Farm is to enhance and exemplify Hampshire’s approach to a liberal arts education.
- supports teaching and research opportunities for faculty and students;
- serves as a model for land stewardship and ecological agricultural practices; and
- provides a “living lab” for Hampshire’s values, particularly in the areas of sustainability, social justice, community-building, and experiential education.
Our Vision is of a thriving, well-run farm that inspires interdisciplinary inquiry through the enterprise of ethical and sustainable food production, fosters connection to place and community through authentic and practical work, and provides opportunities for research, individual creativity, reflection and recreation. We see the operation and governance of the farm, and our potential to influence similar efforts at other colleges, as powerful components of Hampshire’s pursuit of a larger mission to foster a lifelong passion for learning, inquiry, and ethical citizenship that inspires students to contribute to knowledge, justice and positive change and, by doing so, to transform higher education.
Charge for the Farm STAR Committee
The Farm STAR will be appointed by the President and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, with clear criteria for success and accountability for performance, with a charge to oversee the next stages of planning and implementation of the ambitious vision. A major task of the Farm STAR is the development of a 5-year strategic plan for the farm including the mission, goals, vision and values of the program, built from the foundation of the campus community engagement in Fall 2014.
The Farm STAR will ensure that farm operations and future planning for the farm embrace a broad vision of the farm’s multiple purposes, in order to elevate the farm’s role at the College and enhance its primary purpose as an educational resource and living laboratory for Hampshire’s educational and social values. In doing so the STAR will regularly communicate with the community about its work and farm operations, and will seek community views and ideas on strategies, plans, and major decisions.
The Farm STAR may propose projects, curriculum, events, strategies and initiatives to accomplish these goals, and may convene campus discussions of issues and options. The Committee may set up appropriate sub-committees.
The Farm STAR will be appointed by the President and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty for two academic years and may be extended. The Committee will include three faculty members appointed in consultation with the Deans, three staff members including the Director of Food, Farm and Sustainability, the Farm Manager and one staff person at large appointed in consultation with the SAC, and three students appointed in consultation with the HSU.
- Keys to Successful Governance
This section identifies attributes that are essential to successful governance, as defined by the Steering Committee in January 2015.
Clear about Purpose, Roles, and Responsibilities
- Purpose, roles, responsibilities for all stakeholders are clearly defined and agreed to by the full committee.
- Stakeholders feel confident in their ability to productively fulfill designated roles.
- Steering committee is trusted by community to fulfill its responsibilities.
- Definitions of purpose, roles and responsibilities are readily available for reference.
- Meetings are held regularly and committee members who fail to attend a majority of them are replaced.
- Members make decisions with the farm’s and the college’s missions and values in mind.
- Decisions are made in a timely manner and once made are final.
- There is a clear mechanism for reviewing decisions and revising as needed.
- Decisions and basic reasoning are clearly communicated to the community.
- Meeting minutes available to community via website.
- Committee holds regular open meetings in order to update community
- All stakeholders have a shared understanding of transparency and are committed to ensuring its application through consultative and effective communication with all stakeholders.
- Governing body is small but composed of faculty, staff, and students in equal numbers.
- Committee members accessible to speak with community members
- Committee holds regular open forums to gather input from community.
- All members of the committee are responsive to the needs of others, both inside and beyond the committee itself, through a deliberative and inclusive process that involves all of the effected stakeholders.
- Committee creates an iterative mechanism for collecting community feedback on decisions, discussing input in committee meetings, and readdressing with community members.
- A process exists for making requests that includes a timeframe for action as well as a shared understanding of feasibility (academic, financial, labor).
Responsible for ongoing learning
- Committee understands existing farm academic program as well as the complexity of day-to-day farm operations.
- Committee actively reaches out to other programs and initiatives to provide support and collaborate on new interdisciplinary opportunities on the farm.
- Members seek opportunities for professional development, including activities such as attending conferences, reading journals, or taking courses.
III. DRAFT PROGRAM PLAN FOR FARM STAR
The purpose of this section is to provide some draft guidance on how the Farm STAR might function successfully.
- The Farm STAR will be appointed by the President for two academic years and may be extended. The Committee will include three faculty members, three staff members including the Director of Food, Farm and Sustainability, the Farm Manager and one staff person at large, and three students.
- The Farm STAR will meet monthly or as needed for special circumstances.
- If a member of the Farm STAR does not attend at least 75% of committee meetings in a calendar year, he/she will be removed from the committee and the President will appoint a new member.
- The Farm STAR will develop a 5 -year strategic plan for the farm including the mission, goals, academic linkages, vision and values of the program, with input from the campus community and building upon the foundation of the campus community engagement in Fall 2014.
- Once the strategic plan is in place, the Farm STAR will monitor progress, including the following:
- Quarterly updates on progress on the Strategic Plan
- A formal annual report, which details all aspects of the program
- Major themes of the plan will be created by the committee, and details of the execution of the plan may be determined by the farm staff, as appropriate.
- The Farm STAR will develop a plan to foster and facilitate academic linkages that encourage innovation in curriculum, operations, farm, and sustainability
- Once a plan is in place, the Farm STAR will engage faculty, staff and students from all of Hampshire’s schools and programs to further integrate the study of food production and food systems into the curriculum and culture of the college.
- The Farm STAR will communicate the progress toward the goals of the strategic plan and the farm vision internally and externally.
- The Farm STAR will review annual budget for the Farm and receive quarterly updates on the budget from the staff. The budget will be reviewed in the context of the goals and milestones set forth in the strategic plan.
- The Farm STAR will provide guidance in making decisions about major infrastructure or other capital improvements at the Farm.