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Strategic Planning and Priorities: 2013 Strategic Plan Summary
Component One: Finlandia: A Distinctive Learning Community
Goal: Reinforce Finlandia's institutional foundations
- Clearly articulate and continually interpret institutional identity
- Establish and sustain strong board governance
- Promote and practice institutional integrity
Component Two: Finlandia: A Future-oriented Learning Community
Goal: Position Finlandia for a more secure financial future
- Stabilize institutional finances
- Grow student enrollment
- Build long-term financial capacity for sustaining Finlandia's educational mission
Component Three: Finlandia: A Learning-focused Community
Goal: Enhance student learning
- Create stimulating learning environments
- Promote development and integration of learning resources and support
- Regularize assessment activities within each academic unit
- Identify and support academic program distinctives
Component Four: Finlandia: A Connected Learning Community
Goal: Become a fully connected and engaged partner with external constituents
- Develop and propose: "Campus and Community: Together for (the) Good"
- Create an organizational mechanism for better listening and response to local and regional partners
- Establish stronger and consistent representation among local and regional entities that addresses issues related to Finlandia's institutional commitments
Strategic Planning Vision and Strategies
The four components of this plan provide a comprehensive framework. Each requires close attention. Finlandia, however, given its present context and challenges, enters this cycle of planning with an acute need to reinforce board governance and stabilize finances, areas belonging to Components One and Two.
Component One identifies three objectives for reinforcing Finlandia's institutional foundations. Strategies for achieving these objectives are identified in Finlandia's 2007 Self-study report, its accompanying summary of commitments to improvement, and Board of Trustees task force worksheet of aims and objectives.
- First among the three aims is strengthening Finlandia's governing body, the Finlandia University Board of Trustees. Strategies addressing structure, organization, operations, composition, orientation, and assessment will achieve this objective.
- This objective is complemented with two others related to institutional identity and integrity; that is, Finlandia's self-understanding and the degree to which its practices and policies correspond to this understanding. Most critically, Finlandia must continually engage in mission interpretation at all levels of governance and operations. Core commitments related to Finland and Finnish America, the Lutheran intellectual and spiritual tradition, liberal arts and professional preparation, the environment, and global connections require careful articulation and application.
Component Two identifies three objectives aimed at positioning Finlandia for a more secure financial future. Goals, objectives, and strategies related to Component Two belong, in large part, to Finlandia's five-year strategic plan.
- First, Finlandia must establish financial soundness through disciplined fiscal management and debt reduction. Fiscal management will be achieved through sound budget preparation and execution. Short- and long-term debt reduction will be achieved by securing pledged gifts intended for reducing debt; prioritizing, consolidating, and negotiating existing loans; marketing and sale of non-strategic University properties; budgeting for debt service; and embedding debt reduction in the Annual Fund component of a major gifts initiative.
- Second, Finlandia must establish a pattern of enrollment growth that is defined, accommodated, resourced, and fueled. Finlandia will grow enrollment at no less than 7 percent annually by building on programmatic strengths in academics and athletics. This growth will be accommodated with necessary upgrades and expansion of facilities and increases in qualified personnel. Resourcing this accommodation will come through growth revenues, fundraising, and a major gifts initiative.
Marketing, retention, and recruitment will fuel the necessary growth. Marketing will be re-organized and better resourced to brand and advertise the University. Retention goals will be achieved through reorganization, effective collection and use of data, and programmatic enhancements in areas most directly affecting student satisfaction and success. Recruitment goals will be achieved by more rigorous identification and prioritization of target populations that offer the greatest potential for attracting students that mirror Finlandia's mission, identity, and commitments; operational enhancements building on admissions distinctives; and disciplined assessment resulting in continued improvement. Local and regional recruitment will remain strong as Finlandia continues to identify regions beyond Michigan and the Midwest where its academic and athletic programs are able to attract.
- Third, Finlandia enters this planning phase needing to ensure institutional sustainability by re-establishing stronger endowment fund management and growth and conducting a successful major gifts initiative whose components mirror commitments and priorities in this plan. Endowment management will begin with a review of all funds and a revised policy to govern endowment investments and disbursements. Growing the endowment fund will occur through application of specific gift categories to the fund, annual budget support, and major gifts initiative fundraising.
- A successfully executed major gifts initiative at Finlandia calls for a strategic re-group that ensures the foundations necessary for success are in place. This begins with proper re-alignment of previous campaign components and priorities with Finlandia's new strategic plan, followed with a re-establishment of major gifts initiative preparedness and execution. External campaign counsel will be retained to accompany Finlandia in this process.
Component Three identifies four objectives aimed at enhancing student learning. Strategies for achieving these objectives begin with learning environments.
- Finlandia will enhance student learning by creating co- and extra-curricular environments that stimulate curiosity and capacity for learning.
- Secondly, these environments will be complemented with more fully integrated and coordinated student learning services and resources.
- Thirdly, academic assessment will be embedded and regularized at the unit level for greater effectiveness.
- Finally, student learning will be enhanced through deliberate identification, development, and support of academic program distinctives that build on existing strengths and advance Finlandia's educational mission.
- Strategies for achieving these objectives and accompanying commitments to improvement are identified in each college and school strategic plan executive summary and Finlandia's 2007 Self-study Report.
Component Four identifies three objectives aimed at strengthening Finlandia's ties with its external constituencies.
- Finlandia's connections are presently sustained through curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programming. This plan intends to capitalize on these connections with a proposal that calls for a more far-reaching commitment of campus and community to come together to serve the needs of both: growth and sustainability.
- In addition Finlandia will seek an organizational mechanism and identify operational practices that build its capacity for listening and responding to external stakeholders.
- Finally, Finlandia will seek broader and more consistent representation in local and regional entities that reflect Finlandia's institutional commitments such as education, Finland and Finnish America, Lutheran higher education, economic development, and the environment.