In order to prepare the University of St. Francis (USF) for its second century and to deliver on its promise to prepare students to lead and love in the real world, the 2014-19 Strategic Plan has identified five key objectives that will focus the University’s continuous improvement efforts.
First, and most importantly, USF reaffirms its commitment to becoming a leading Catholic Franciscan university. Specifically, USF will increase students and employees’ understanding of Catholic Franciscan values and Catholic Social Teaching – especially through a redesign of the General Education curriculum. As importantly, this includes a recommitment to increasing the diversity of its students and employees. A broadening of our “intentional communities” to increase students, employees, and alumni’s sense of belonging will reinforce these efforts.
Second, in order to ensure that USF thrives in an increasingly challenging higher education environment, the University will strive to increase its regional reputation and brand awareness as a leading private Midwestern university with excellent student educational outcomes inspired by and infused with our Catholic heritage and Franciscan tradition. This includes more intentionally promoting its accreditations and the achievements of its students, organizations, and alumni as well as improving its rankings in “best” quality listings. In addition, through revamped marketing and other outreach programs, the University will increase its brand awareness in targeted areas and its alumni engagement and support.
Third, in order to become a first-choice institution for a larger number of students, USF will increase its number of full-time faculty members and invest in facilities to support the expansion/enhancement of its nursing and science programs. In addition, through increased emphasis on student achievement and experiential learning opportunities, the University will increase its already-admirable graduation and employment rates– in order to continue to provide a positive “return on investment” to its students.
Fourth, USF will strengthen its financial capacity and long-term sustainability. By constraining expense growth to no greater than the rate of tuition revenue growth and a prudent rationalization of program/degree offerings, the University will increase its strategic investment capacity (i.e., net of fundraising and grant revenues) – including its endowment. This, in combination with increased fundraising efforts (both restricted and unrestricted), will reduce USF’s tuition dependence and reliance on its debt capacity.
Finally, USF recommits itself to being a “destination employer” by providing internal mentoring and professional support and by encouraging and celebrating external development, research, and peer collaboration.