In early February 2019, the University of Saint Francis engaged Stevens Strategy to lead its accelerated Strategic Planning process, substantively including the campus community. Stevens Strategy was also charged with utilizing the results of the Strategic Planning process as a guide to conduct a Programs and Resource Optimization (PRO) process and Revenue Growth and Efficiency Reviews.
Stevens Strategy held meetings with a Steering Committee appointed by then-President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF, throughout the ensuing months, as well as sessions with faculty, staff and students to collect and organize strategic issues and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as well as to develop initiatives.
Through the process, these Strategic Initiatives were established or reinforced:
Given approaching limits on financial resources, the competitive higher education environment, and an underutilized physical plant in Fort Wayne, we will immediately implement strategies to meet or exceed enrollment of 2,500 by 2023. Among those strategies: maintain and expand USF’s position as the premier health sciences educator; enliven the downtown site; strengthen student success and retention efforts; explore offsite programs through partnerships; leverage growth plans by developing and utilizing innovative instructional delivery methods; and complete a feasibility study for an endowment campaign.
We will be deliberate in determining the populations of students we serve, the academic and non-academic resources we offer, the affordability of our institution and the efficiency with which our organizational structure delivers its programs. Among the strategies: studying what characteristics and programs at USF are most attractive for potential students and effective for retaining them; developing and defending tuition pricing alternatives; stressing during the recruiting process our spiritual values and religious tradition uniting Faith and Reason; and strengthening the General Education curriculum to reinforce its Catholic, Franciscan identity while more closely integrating the Liberal Arts tradition within the majors.
Our most important goals are imparting our values to our students and preparing them for their careers. Among the strategies: reevaluate our student services programming and rededicate ourselves to the needs and expectations of today’s college students; improve the quality of student life spaces; use results of a study to determine high impact programs; focus on providing excellence in student technology; and determine the best mix of marketing methods to promote our programs.
We will build a broad campus-wide commitment to develop and leverage internal and external relationships and create new partnerships to better support and serve our students. Among the strategies: designate a senior level position to lead the development of corporate and other partnerships; create additional formalized agreements for student internships; utilize partnerships to fill underutilized space on the Fort Wayne campus; and explore additional partnerships or discounted employee and student services.
We will strengthen and streamline our governance, leadership, management, and communication systems to increase the efficiency and responsiveness of our decision-making processes. Among the strategies: reaffirm the governance, leadership and management responsibility roles across all divisions and departments; clarify and strengthen processes and lines of authority within the university; focus technology systems on providing excellent services; strengthen the university through implementation of key elements of our growth and efficiency reviews; and develop, support and monitor a comprehensive operational plan.