Throughout the summer, four steering committees continued finessing the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan draft for the Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 20.
Committees focused on different aspects of the vision including enrollment, strategic scholarships, academics, athletics, physical campus and information technology while seeking Board of Trustees input throughout the process.
On Sept. 13, the committees joined for the first time to construct an integrated draft for the president’s council. After the president’s council reviews the draft, sessions will be available for student and faculty input. Here’s what you need to know going into the 2019-2020 academic year.
What is Vision 2030?
The Vision 2030 Strategic Plan will help the university expand on its 100-year foundation to create a wider spectrum of student opportunities according to University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
Vision 2030 is comprised of six goals approved by the Board of Trustees.
- Adapting the academic structure of the university to most effectively support the liberal arts core, new graduate degree programs, the performing and visual arts, and a professional school.
- Growing total enrollment to at least 3,000 students.
- Establishing strategic academic scholarships that enhance affordability and diversity.
- Transitioning to a Division I intercollegiate athletics conference.
- Making dramatic improvements to the physical campus and IT infrastructure.
- Substantially increasing the university’s endowment and other financial resources to reach these goals.
“We’re trying to create a bold vision for Augustana’s future,” Nancy Davidson, enrollment committee co-chair, said. “That’s our objective: to provide the greatest academic experience and student life experience that we possibly can and continue to grow.”
What happened over the summer?
Pam Homan, the vice president of advancement, collaborated with the president’s council to conduct a feasibility study with over 50 interviews to back the seven-year campaign named Viking Bold. Interviews were completed in August, according to Herseth Sandlin.
“We’re getting feedback from different alumni, donors, potential donors, [and] business leaders who have resources that could possibly be invested in the plan,” Herseth Sandlin said. “It helps inform how we phase it.”
The Vision 2030 newsletter from July 19 says the feasibility document includes the feedback of “approximately 60 key constituents and potential donors.”
Potential investors are responding well to the plan and process, Mark Blackburn, Dean of Students and enrollment committee co-chair said.
What’s been the main challenge in drafting the final plan?
One of the obstacles when planning is creating a realistic timeline for the plan, Herseth Sandlin said.
“It’s been a challenge for some within the steering committees assessing the ‘when,’” Herseth Sandlin said. “Some of the ‘when’ relies on resources. The timing of the resources is uncertain.”
When planning, the committees are doing their best to estimate when aspects of goals will be executed without knowing what resources will be available, she said.
“We all love this institution, and we want to see it grow. This is an opportunity to get better,” Blackburn said. “There’s a lot of stuff to look forward to.”
How can students get involved with the planning process?
In early October, a tentative draft of the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan will be available for students to review online. On Oct. 28 and Nov. 12, students can attend review sessions in FSC 113 from 4:30-6 p.m. to provide their input, according to Blackburn.
“You can have the opportunity to read and see some of the information,” Blackburn said. “It’s giving you the updates and giving you the opportunity to chime in and give input.”
Throughout October and November, review sessions for faculty and staff will be held to gather and integrate input from the campus community, Blackburn said.
When will the committees have their plans available?
In December, the committees will present their integrated draft to the Board of Trustees for approval. Upon approval, the committees will “operationalize” tactics to make the vision a reality, Herseth Sandlin said.
Students, faculty and staff can expect continual updates to be available on the Augustana University website.