“The only thing that is constant is change.”
The rate at which our world is now changing, however, could not have been anticipated in 500 B.C. when the Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote those words.
The rising cost of higher education, increased competition among institutions across the country, as well as changes in technology and student dynamics has influenced Graceland’s strategic plan. The plan, “All About Student Success,” named candidly for Graceland’s first priority, is focused on effectiveness and efficiency.
The strategic plan has three sections:
- Strategic Curriculum and Instruction Stewardship Plan
- Strategic Enrollment Management Plan
- Comprehensive Financial Plan
In plan A, the Graceland general education committee and the faculty have begun to develop “an innovative core curriculum unlike Graceland has ever envisioned before, by aligning our general education goals with the American Association for Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) essential learning outcomes for the 21st century,” says Dr. Brian White, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Graceland University.
These essential learning outcomes, drawn directly from the AAC&U’s “Principles of Excellence,” seek to connect knowledge with choices and action, intentionally engaging students in the ‘big questions’ and far-reaching issues — contemporary and enduring — in science and society, cultures and values, global interdependence, the changing economy, and human dignity and freedom.
Plan B includes a new mission based marketing identity that will focus efforts on target markets. In addition, the Athletics Department is working to “right size” individual squads for the success of the teams, the athletes and the rest of the student body. Due to facility limitations, bowling will no longer be listed as a Graceland athletics program. As the courts need significant repairs, tennis will be placed on hiatus while Graceland actively seeks a donor to make them usable again.
“I am eager to begin a process that will create a more sustainable environment for our student-athletes,” said Graceland Athletic Director Joe Worlund. “Right sizing the squads is a strategic move toward student success, and I’m confident the decisions being made will lead to an even stronger Athletics Department.”
Plan C includes a new three-year budget plan to reduce $3 million. Under this plan, Graceland will be able to fully wean the operations of the university off of the outside resources of Skillpath, a professional development training company purchased by Graceland in 1995. The financial plan will bring Graceland to a sustainable level, with a growing endowment.
Graceland grads, like the rest of the world, are being tested to the greatest limit of innovation yet, as the rate of change continues to intensify. Graceland University intends to equip them with the ability to face the challenges - and successes - they will meet. So, as the university has done each time it has been called for over the last 120 years, Graceland is changing.