By Julianne Bartosz
Editor in chief
Saint Mary’s University’s Strategic Plan 2017 encourages the university to grow on its strengths while maintaining a vibrant community for students, according to SMU President Brother William Mann.
In a town hall forum for students on Nov. 6, Br. William and Senior Vice President of University Advancement Steve Titus discussed SMU’s new strategic plan. The SMU Board of Trustees approved the plan on Oct. 5.
“The new plan is a five year guide for launching into the next century,” said Titus. “It emphasizes a collective, collaborative voice.” He added that this is the university’s first strategic plan in over a decade.
Titus said the strategic plan aims to make SMU “a top tier national university preparing tomorrow’s leaders.” He said the goals of the plan will be sequenced over the next five years, rather than implementing all aspects of the plan.
The new strategic plan includes three themes: “strengthen and preserve our core mission and identity,” “innovate and grow – the three centers of excellence” and “steward and strengthen our resources.” Each of these themes has three goals, which have at least one additional objective.
Br. William said that these themes will allow the university to help students grow as a whole person, including both curricular and co-curricular activities. Titus added that they also allow the university to grow based on the principles of its mission. He said the mission is important because “a lot of people invest in the university because they strongly believe in the mission.”
Titus said that over 900 people were involved in the development of the Strategic Plan 2017, including “student voices that helped us shape what we’re doing over the next five years.”
“It includes a lot that concerns the student body. We want students to get more involved,” said Br. William at the Nov. 6 forum aimed at educating students. Only two students were in attendance. He associated the lack of attendance with a strong level of trust between students and administration as well as student interest in the U.S. presidential elections.
Town hall meetings were also held on both the Winona and Twin Cities campuses for faculty and staff.
The Strategic Plan 2017 is posted on SMU’s website at www.smumn.edu/strategicplan.