"Vision 2020," a plan that was developed by the college's board of trustees and president in 2007, drives Marietta College's future.
"The Vision 2020 was about a strong natural fit," college President Jean Scott said. "We reconfirmed the liberal arts education and thought about problems that exist in the working life or challenges students may face."
As Marietta College celebrates 175 years of achievement during the 2009-10 academic year, looking toward the future is as important as ever, Scott said.
According to Grant Callery, chairman of the board of trustees, looking toward the future means taking "an analysis of what kind of students will go to Marietta, where will they be from and what components of an education will be relevant."
Internationalization and how it fits in at Marietta College is one of the main points.
"The main topics of concern for Marietta College are globalization and the rise of China as a working power, environmental protection, health care and wellness and leadership," Scott said.
The college has been actively recruiting students in China for more than 25 years, and currently has about 130 Chinese students on campus. Scott believes the college's strong relationships with institutions in China are also a positive for U.S. students looking to study there.
"We are in a position to help students grow and learn about China," she said, adding that each year the number of Chinese exchange students has been increasing.
Callery hopes that in the future, Marietta makes its international affairs more of a "two-way street where it's more attractive to American students who want to learn more about the emerging world in China. China will be a force to be reckoned with in the next 20 to 30 years."
However, the college isn't focused solely on China. Professor Richard Danford said getting more U.S. students an international experience is another way the college hopes to differentiate itself.
"It's never too early to start thinking about studying abroad," he said, adding that the college has a goal of 100 percent participation in the study abroad program.
Scott also sees potential growth in a number of academic programs, including petroleum engineering and the physician assistant graduate program.
Callery said he expects the college to "expand the PA program significantly, but first I want to see how it does in the mix of the college."
He also believes Marietta will need to be careful of what new majors are added and hopes the school remains selective because there is a lot of difficulty in starting up new programs.
Both Scott and Callery see a bright future for the McDonough Leadership Program, as well as the health sciences and athletic training programs.
Students have their own thoughts about the future of the college.
"I think that in the next 10 years, Marietta will have more students and a new residence hall," said senior Katherine Racy. "I also think they will expand their programs, but only after they expand the campus."
Growth has occurred in recent years, including the addition of a new library and planetarium, but the campus remains a tight-knit community of 40-plus buildings on 90 acres.
Freshman Kara Kliethermes likes the small campus, but would like to see more students.
"I would like to see around 3,000 students," she said. "I think they will expand the campus and add more majors. I'd like to see them redo the residence halls."
Scott doesn't see Marietta growing to 3,000 students, but a more realistic number might be 2,000 total enrollment for undergraduate and graduate students.
"I mostly want to expand because if you're bigger you're able to provide a wider range of opportunities and you hopefully develop some sort of economic scale while still including the resources we need," she said.
Scott added that as enrollment grows, her goal is to maintain Marietta's 13-to-1 student-teacher ratio. That would mean hiring additional faculty.
Junior Amanda Jeffers said she would like to see the school add more graduate programs.
Junior Anastasia Ault said the college should focus on undergraduates first and foremost.
"I'd really like to see more majors in certain departments like political science since we have so few professors and options," she said.