Envisioning the Future Part II 2018-19

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You have heard the adage by Benjamin Franklin: “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Functional plans keep us on target; they guide us to an outcome and provide a roadmap to what we hope to accomplish. Proverbs 3:5,6 encourages us to: “commit our plans to the Lord and he will direct our pathway.” So, in our planning, we should ask ourselves if our roadmap is clear, and know what next steps we need to make to approach our end. Many strategic plans provide vision but are not as clear in identifying the pathway to reach that vision. As we continue envisioning the future this year, we want to be clear on our pathways to actualization.

The areas identified below represent some of the critical issues that need to be advanced by the FPU Board of Trustees, Cabinet, faculty and staff over the next few years. These are not all-inclusive, but a reflection of the numerous discussions we’ve had in the past year, so this list is a not directive or even instructive, but reflective. I expect all will find some areas that are missed, or areas that are not as important in their working group. Overall, the list was created to stimulate planning and innovation as we envision the future and attempt to draft a roadmap that will guide the way. We anticipate these items will be researched, analyzed, deliberated and implemented through interdepartmental collaborations, committee structure planning, community reflection and institutional dialogue.

Our current Strategic Plan articulates broad areas of importance but provides only limited metrics and a few tangible outcomes. Our adjustments should include strategic thinking through data analysis, market research, best practices and cross-disciplinary solutions. We continue to align ourselves with the university Vision Statement: “to be known for academic excellence, innovative programming and spiritual vitality” in this journey. Creating benchmarks and assessment tools will assist us in monitoring our progress toward strategic outcomes. The development of a roadmap moves us from our comfort zones of rhetoric to the praxis of impact.

Here are some areas that need to be or currently are being reviewed, researched or revised. We can expand our capacity for data-driven decision making only if we are asking the right questions and seeking the answers through informed dialogue. We started last year with the integrated Envisioning Forums. This year we will encourage departmental working groups to engage in informed dialogue concerning their areas of application. Some of you have heard me share an old African proverb: “if you want to run fast, run alone, but if you want to run far, run together.” We are in a race and, as the Apostle Paul suggested: “run this race with patience or endurance” (Hebrews 12:1,2). So, let’s run together, understanding that our work reaches far beyond our own lives, and that this work will impact a future some of us will never see.

Areas to be considered while envisioning the future:

  1. Enrollment
    1. University capacity
    2. Staff and faculty implications
    3. Market share
    4. Online market share
    5. International share
    6. Presidential scholarships
    7. Athletic scholarships
  1. Advancement
    1. Capacity of staffing
    2. Capacity of current donor base
    3. Strategies to increase donor base
    4. Five-year comprehensive target and strategy
    5. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) capacity
    6. FPU Foundation & art collection
    7. Endowments
    8. Annual/scholarship fund targets
    9. Arts and Cultural Center
  1. Communications
    1. Integrated marketing plan by region
    2. Social and local media markets
    3. Staffing and production capacity
    4. Public relations/branding—Valley-wide
    5. Government relations?
  1. Student Life
    1. Commuter student life
    2. DC students
    3. Student activities—evening weekends
    4. Student government outcomes
    5. Diversity metrics and outcomes
    6. Community service outcomes
    7. Spiritual formation outcomes
    8. Athletic facilities/additional sports teams?
    9. Student space
  1. Finance/Operations
    1. IT Plan and priorities
    2. Campus Master Plan (beautification)
    3. Deferred maintenance
    4. Endowment target
    5. Strategic reserve funds
    6. Salary & benefit targets
    7. Staff professional development
    8. Diversify revenue streams
    9. University committee structure reviewed & defined
  1. Academics
    1. Revision or renewal of core curriculum
    2. Honors college
    3. Faculty governance—committee structure
    4. New program business plans
    5. Online and blended strategies
    6. Innovative learning strategies
    7. Professional development—FT/adjunct
    8. Service learning/experiential learning
    9. Community partnerships
    10. International programs
    11. Health Care programs and facilities

Functional planning in these areas, along with discernment and prayer, will provide a roadmap for this portion of our continued journey to better serve God in this Valley and beyond. We can easily get discouraged after perusing this list of items. If we really believe that “possible happens here,” and that “with God all things are possible” then let us encourage the gifts that we all bring to the table to do a work that will serve our students as we Engage the Cultures and Serve the Cities.