Quality Education in the Benedictine Tradition
Guided and inspired by the monastic community in residence at Saint Vincent, the College community maintains a shared commitment to its Catholic, Benedictine heritage. Saint Vincent’s distinctive character and identity are based on the following pillars.
Catholic Intellectual Tradition
Catholicism strives to bring the virtue of hope to bear in the midst of life’s uncertainties, a hope that can be life-changing and life-sustaining, a hope in things seen and unseen. In Ex corde Ecclesiae, the late Pope John Paul II identified four essential characteristics of a Catholic University:
Benedictine Wisdom Tradition
Saint Vincent is America’s first Benedictine College, and is today one of fourteen Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States. These institutions share a commitment to education as a catalyst for the “transformation of the human mind and heart. Benedictine education stresses the formation of the whole person rather than the intellect alone.”
The Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities identifies “three influences that animate Benedictine education: Christ who is encountered anew each day in Scripture and the human person, the Rule of Benedict as it is lived in community, and the extensive and rich tradition of those who have pursued Christian and monastic holiness in the past.”
Liberal Arts and Sciences
In his homily beatifying Cardinal John Henry Newman, Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to Newman’s “vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today. Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together. The collection of discourses that he published as The Idea of a University holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn.”
In keeping with the vision of its founder, Boniface Wimmer, Saint Vincent’s approach to the liberal arts and sciences incorporates professional preparation, the pursuit of scholarly knowledge, and an appreciation for the arts. The College, as established by Wimmer, was structured to incorporate ecclesiastical, classical, and commercial education. Wimmer encapsulated this approach to education by stating, “My heart is in this work, and I will spare no expense to teach the students first what is necessary, then what is useful, and finally what is beautiful so long as it contributes to their refinement.”
Saint Vincent College is an academic community that is inherently and profoundly shaped by its Catholic, Benedictine values and its rich heritage. Guided by the monks of its sponsoring organization, Saint Vincent Archabbey, the community is comprised of dedicated faculty, staff, students, and alumni working together in pursuit of scholarly knowledge, a deeper understanding of God’s purpose for our lives, and service to the local, national, and global community.
Saint Vincent aspires to be a regional college of liberal arts and sciences with a national reputation for quality and broad community impact through distinctive academic and outreach programs. The quality of Saint Vincent’s academic programs have been recognized by U.S. News and World Report (ranking in the first tier of national liberal arts colleges, 2012 edition) and by Forbes magazine (inclusion in the annual rankings of “America’s Best Colleges,”2008-2011). The College has the opportunity to further advance its national profile through the signature programs of its four Schools, the affiliation with internationally renowned scientist Dr. Herbert Boyer, and the ongoing development of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media.
Our vision is to fulfill Saint Vincent’s promise as a community of hope during a time when higher education is facing significant internal and external challenges and contemporary society is characterized by uncertainty. The intellectually challenging and morals-based education provided at Saint Vincent prepares students to succeed in their chosen professions and to carry forward values that provide a deeper meaning to life.
Saint Vincent is well positioned to advance its academic programs and raise its national profile while being faithful to its Catholic, Benedictine tradition. In this manner, the College will secure its future and have a significant impact on current and future students and the community at large.
The purpose of this strategic plan is to articulate principal goals to advance the educational mission of Saint Vincent College during the next five years. In order to facilitate implementation of the plan, the College has identified key strategies to move the goals toward completion and primary indicators to measure progress. This plan is meant to be a living document and to guide the institutional priorities and work of the College moving forward. Primary indicators will be updated annually to evaluate progress toward the strategic plan goals.
This strategic plan is designed
to serve as a framework for academic and administrative operations at Saint
Vincent College from 2011 through 2016.
The plan is meant to serve as a living document, providing the College
with the flexibility to capitalize on emerging opportunities and to respond to
new challenges during the five-year period covered by the plan.
Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B. and
members of President’s Council developed the first draft of the plan in early
2011. The initial draft of the plan was
presented to the Saint Vincent College Board of Directors in March 2011 for
review and feedback. At this time, the
plan also was shared with representatives of academic and administrative
departments. A two-day Board retreat was
held on September 8th and 9th during which each of the
academic and administrative divisions of the College presented their strategic
initiatives. The plan is anticipated to
be approved by the College Board in December 2011. Pending Board approval, implementation of the
plan will commence in January 2012.
One essential strategic
initiative discussed during the September Board retreat is the establishment of
a comprehensive marketing plan for the College.
Analogous to the campus master plan, the marketing plan will include
tactics for highlighting and more widely disseminating the unique identity of
Saint Vincent College in the higher education marketplace. The marketing plan will also include
targeting specific geographic and demographic sectors, expanding the recruiting
cycle for prospective students to 24 months, and the refinement of the Saint
Vincent College brand.
Following formal adoption, the
strategic plan will be broadly disseminated to all campus constituencies. During the 2011-12 fiscal year, academic and
administrative departments will be asked to develop strategic plans for their
areas corresponding to the goals and strategies articulated in the master
plan. Recognizing the important role
that each individual has to play in the success of the College, each member of
the administration and staff will be asked to develop performance goals based
on the strategic plan for their department.
These performance goals will form the basis for performance evaluations
beginning in 2012.