Augustana 2020: Our Path Forward
Develop a strategic plan for the future that has at its core a compelling vision for our students to be fully realized by 2020. The Augustana 2020 strategic plan will focus on the experiences and learning outcomes that will distinguish our students and graduates, and prepare them for positions of relevance and leadership in tomorrow’s world. Our plan should align college resources with areas that clearly demonstrate the value and distinctions of an Augustana education. The goals of the plan will focus on increasing and demonstrating the worth of the academic and co-curricular experience and outcomes, keeping our education affordable, and sustaining the vitality of Augustana College throughout the challenges of the future.
Steering Task Force
Steve Bahls (chair), Kent Barnds, Pareena Lawrence, Cameron Onumah (president of the Student Government Association), Kim Brunner, Lee Selander, Mark Salisbury, Adam Kaul and Jessica Schultz.
Supporting Task Forces
Assess the competitive position of Augustana College and its readiness to take advantage of opportunities and address challenges. What is our value proposition and how strong is it? Is our internal assessment of value consistent with the public perception? How are we distinctive from other liberal arts colleges? Are there effective programs or practices that we should consider? Kent Barnds, Chair
Task Force Two: Teaching, Learning, Student Growth and Outcomes — Pareena Lawrence, Chair
Important points to consider: What is the value of the Augustana education and experience? How do our cost align with how our prospective students and their families perception of our worth?
Updates from the Working Groups
- Updates from Academic Missions and Priorities (WG #1)
- Updates from Student Life Mission and Priorities (WG #2)
- Updates from Retantion (WG #3)
Academic Mission and Priorities: Working Group #1
How do we strengthen and/or re-envision academic programs to ensure we are fulfilling our mission and our vision for our students while distinguishing ourselves from our peers in higher education? How do we intentionally integrate the academic mission with the student life mission, to create a vibrant intellectual community that will attract, support and engage a diverse student body preparing them for life and career upon graduation? Pareena Lawrence and Mark Vincent, Co-chairs
Student Life Mission and Priorities: Working Group #2
How do we strengthen and/or re-envision student life programs and services to attract, support and engage a diverse student body to ensure we are fulfilling our mission and our vision for our students while distinguishing ourselves among our peers in higher education? Can we establish benchmarks by which to judge success? Evelyn Campbell, Chair
Retention: Working Group #3
How do we strengthen support services we provide to foster success for all students? How do we more intentionally design programs and strategies to attain a 90% first-year to second-year retention rate and improve persistence through graduation? Kristin Douglas, Chair
Task Force Three: Financial, Technology and Human Resources Stewardship
How do we strengthen our financial position to build the strongest academic and extracurricular programs possible and provide services that lead to successful outcomes? What must be done to attract and retain the highest quality faculty and staff? What must be done to prepare students, faculty and staff for the challenges ahead? David English, Chair
Task Force Four: Endowment Working Group
How do we build a case for our alumni and friends to grow our endowment substantially? Do we limit the yearly draw from the endowment as one way to increase the endowment? Lynn Jackson, Chair
Questions for Task Forces to Consider
1. What can Augustana do, consistent with mission, to encourage more students and families to choose Augustana? How do we support and create programs and experiences for students such that families will select Augustana over lower cost or more convenient alternatives?
2. How do liberal arts colleges remain vibrant in our changing world? What changes related to the economy, accreditation, higher education, technology, society, and students and family expectations should be at the center of our plans? Do all internal stakeholders understand the seriousness of the challenges facing liberal arts colleges like Augustana? If not, how do we affect their understanding?
3. What are current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to attracting and retaining a high quality student body, and ensuring they achieve truly exceptional learning outcomes? If we are at a competitive disadvantage, how do we address that disadvantage? How do we distinguish our academic and co-curricular programs from others?
4. What are the core experiences that ensure a graduate is prepared for graduate school, the world of work, responsible citizenship and overall enjoyment of life? If any of those core experiences currently are not at the center of Augustana’s program, how can we best implement them?
5. How can we better prioritize the use of resources to attract and retain talented faculty and staff, and ensure outcomes that meet the expectations of our students? How can we proactively strengthen the college now to avoid reactive changes during the next (and inevitable) economic challenges?
6. What are the barriers to improvement and innovation at Augustana, and how do we address those barriers? How do we encourage responsible innovation consistent with our fundamental values?
7. How do we build a sense of urgency for friends and alumni to give sufficient support to double our endowment? How do we more intentionally and aggressively engage tomorrow’s supporters and donors?
8. How do we become a less siloed college, using our relative strengths across departments, offices and programs for the benefit of our students?
9. How should we evaluate the success of our strategic goals?
Continue aggressive implementation of Affirm, Assure and Assess (the addendum to the Authentically Augustana strategic plan).
May 2013 board meeting: Report from Task Force One
October 2013 board meeting: Report from Task Forces Two, Three and Four
January 2014 board meeting: First draft
May 2014 board meeting: Final draft
Tools for Task Forces
• Open sessions on such topics as finances, technology, financial aid
• Consulting with outside experts when necessary
• Gathering data through our IR office
• Open forums
• Discussion blogs
• Scheduled meetings with established committees
• Survey feedback
• Site visits to other colleges, when desirable
• Alumni survey
• We will assess what faculty, staff and trustees need to know to plan for the college and provide that information.
• All members of the community should be encouraged to participate, whether they are new to the community or senior members. Ideally, more than 80% of our faculty, staff and trustees will participate in the discussions shaping the strategic plan, as well as a significant percentage of the student body.
• Planning process will be transparent, with expectation that task forces will report regularly to community.
• The plan should be informed by data, research and analysis, not by preferences or tradition.
• Planning should focus on the best allocation of resources, with a priority on reducing the need to attract students with financial aid.
• The strategic plan should focus on strategy and developing core strengths that demonstrate the worth of an Augustana education. Tactics should relate directly to an identified strategic direction, but should be left to established committees, offices and other governance structures for implementation, including established systems of shared governance.
• The strategic plan should focus on outcomes and methods for measuring outcomes.
• The plan should aspire to a four- to six-year horizon, but should be nimble and adaptable as conditions warrant.
The American poet Robert Lowell once said, “the arts do not progress but move by surges and sags.” Andrew Delbanco, a professor at Columbia University, has recently observed that higher education moves along in the same way—surges and sags. When history judges how this strategic plan responds to the disruptive changes in our world, will we have responded with a surge or a sag? Will we have responded in a way that is faithful to our mission as a college of the liberal arts and sciences, and also provides demonstrated value to our students? Will we have responded in a way that today’s junior faculty and staff will have durable and sustainable careers because Augustana “surged” in response to our challenges?