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  • Strategic Plan

    Approved by the Saint Vincent College Board of Directors
    December 2, 2011

    Our Mission
    History of Saint Vincent College 

    Core Values of Saint Vincent College

    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:

    • A Christian inspiration not only of individuals, but of the university community as such;
    • A continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;
    • Fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church; and,
    • An institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life.

    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.”

    Vision for Saint Vincent College

    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.

    Strategic Planning Goals

    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.

    1. Advance the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts and sciences character of Saint Vincent College.
      1. Implement fully the directives of The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States.
      2. Establish an ad-hoc “Mission Effectiveness Committee” of faculty, staff, and students.
      3. Capitalize on the strong Benedictine presence among College faculty, administration, and staff to manifest the Benedictine ethos.
      4. Integrate Saint Vincent’s twofold relationship as both a ‘College’ and as ‘Catholic.’
      5. Recognize the dignity of all members of the community, welcoming people of all ethnic origins, faith (including those of no faith), and economic standing
      6. Enhance the integration of the Catholic Intellectual and Benedictine Wisdom traditions.
      7. Maintain a strong commitment to the core curriculum and a broad, holistic view of education that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the disciplines of the liberal arts and sciences.
    2. Provide an excellent, challenging yet supportive educational experience that prepares graduates for successful careers, responsible citizenship, and meaningful lives.
      1. Promote curricular and extracurricular opportunities for students to mature harmoniously and create success and meaning in their lives.
      2. When appropriate, offer new programs of study that leverage the College’s strengths and fulfill regional and national needs. Examples of these opportunities include programs developed to integrate the Fred Rogers Center into the curriculum of the College, the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Program (DNAP) planned in conjunction with Excela Health, and the potential expansion of China Studies.
      3. Nurture continuity and excellence across the curriculum through interdisciplinary programs, the Library, our Centers for research and outreach, and a robust study abroad program.
      4. Assess every program of study offered by the College, including the core curriculum, on learning outcomes that ensure graduates are well positioned for their next steps after graduation.
    3. Attract and engage individuals who can make positive contributions to the Saint Vincent community.
      1. Increase the visibility of Saint Vincent College by utilizing new media and well-chosen marketing opportunities.
      2. Recruit and retain students from our traditional region as well as reaching out to an increasingly diverse pool of prospective students.
      3. Provide competitive compensation and professional development to recruit and retain qualified faculty and staff committed to the mission of the College.
      4. Nurture partnerships locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally that provide opportunities for growth, service, and outreach as well as promoting global awareness and understanding.
    4.  Address the diverse needs of the community by maintaining a financially sound, environmentally sustainable, and beautiful campus.
      1. Complete construction on the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion and attain LEED certification.
      2. Identify future facility needs and determine priorities for implementation using the Campus Master Plan.
      3. Enhance awareness of community impact on the environment and adopt sustainable practices as appropriate.
      4. Maintain a safe and comfortable living and learning environment.
      5. Unify Saint Vincent’s management information systems under one database and utilize the benefits for increased efficiencies campus-wide and more thorough data analysis in all decision making.
      6. Engage in analysis of financial operations and identify operating efficiencies.
      7. Direct annual operating funds and hiring (including tenure-track faculty positions) toward strategic planning goals.
      8. Increase private giving to grow the College endowment, fund academic programs and capital projects, and provide support for unrestricted operations.
      9. Enhance alumni participation and engagement.


    Implementation Plan

    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.


    i Pope John Paul II, Ex corde Ecclesiae (“On Catholic Universities,” Apostolic Constitution, 15 August 1990) § 13.
    ii Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities, Education within the Benedictine Wisdom Tradition (rev. 27 August 2007). Source: www.abcu.info/.
    iii Ibid. (Emphasis added.)
    iv Pope Benedict XVI, “Beatification of Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman” (Homily, Birmingham, England, 19 September 2010).
    v The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States went into force as particular law for the United States on May 3, 2001 (Authorized by The Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
    vi “The university (in particular, the trustees, administration, and faculty) should take practical steps to implement its mission statement in order to foster and strengthen its Catholic nature and character” (Application of ECE to the US, Part Two: Article 2, § 6). Endnote #29 at this place further makes clear: “In this regard, the university may wish to establish a ‘mission effectiveness committee’ or some other appropriate structure to develop methods by which Catholics may promote the university’s Catholic identity and those who are not Catholic may acknowledge and respect this identity.”
    vii “One of the ways this relationship is clarified and maintained is through dialogue that includes faculty of all disciplines, students, staff, academic and other administrative officers, trustees, and sponsoring religious communities of the educational institution, all of whom share responsibility for the character of Catholic higher education. The bishop and his collaborators in the local Church are integrate parties in this dialogue” (Application of ECE to the US, Part One, § 3).
    viii As Pope John Paul II put it: “These men and women offer their training and experience in furthering the various academic disciples or other university tasks” (Ex corde Ecclesiae, § 26). Also: “Recognizing the dignity of the human person, a Catholic university, in promoting its own Catholic identity and fostering Catholic teaching, must respect the religious liberty of every individual, a right with which each is endowed by nature” (Application of ECE to the US, Part Two: Article 2, § 4.) Endnote # 27 at this place adds emphasis: “Though thoroughly imbued with Christian inspiration, the university’s Catholic identity should in no way be construed as an excuse for religious indoctrination or proselytization. See Vatican Council II, Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis humanae) §§ 2 – 4.”