The St. Thomas Board of Trustees Thursday concluded a yearlong review and study of strategic directions that will guide St. Thomas and its new president in the coming years.
The board unanimously approved the following five goals:
- To develop a reputation for excellence beyond the Catholic higher education community and in the broader academy nationally and internationally.
- To ensure that St. Thomas, in its admission policy, remains accessible to a broad spectrum of students who show promise.
- To ensure that St. Thomas, through its financial aid, remains accessible to students, both merit based and those with demonstrated need.
- To maintain a vital and robust Catholic character.
- To constantly monitor the changing external environment in higher education with appropriate responses in the areas of tuition pricing; alternative revenue sources and improvements to the cost-effectiveness of our programs; and evolving models of higher education, including online delivery methods.
The Board of Trustees decided a year ago to spend the 2011-12 academic year reviewing the university’s strategic directions, which have focused on access, excellence and Catholic identity since the last formal strategic planning project occurred in 2005-06.
Trustees believed it was important to discuss future strategic directions in light of three major events: the conclusion of the Opening Doors capital campaign in October 2012, the launch of a self-study as part of the university’s reaccreditation process, and the June 2013 retirement of Father Dennis Dease.
The board oversaw the strategic directions review and retained Ron James, president of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures at St. Thomas, to coordinate the effort. The board engaged in lengthy discussions at its October, February and May meetings, and the board’s Executive Committee also held discussions at a half-dozen meetings since last summer.
In approving the five goals last Thursday, the board affirmed the following statement:
“We are a regional, accessible university, nationally recognized for serving our region with great excellence. We have already developed a strong national, even international, reputation for excellence within the Catholic higher education community. With our centers of excellence and steadily increasing engagement of the profession by our ever-strong faculty, we will build upon our growing reputation beyond Catholic higher education and in the academy.”