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Strategic Initiatives

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The St. Ambrose University strategic planning committee developed strategic initiative plans to meet the university's vision. Twelve strategic initiatives were developed, focusing on institutional priorities in the areas of: transparency and accountability; branding; diocesan heritage; Catholic intellectual tradition; faculty and staff; graduate education; academic and co-curricular collaboration; student persistence; general education; the liberal arts; social justice; and, service and community engagement.

Transparency and Accountability, and Branding
Strategic Initiative 1: Enhance the practice of openness, transparency, accountability and critical appraisal
Strategic Initiative 2: Develop and implement a compelling and consistent brand for the University

  • A leading organization has a culture and policies that support its mission, guiding principles and core values, and where all individuals feel that they contribute to the organization's goals.
  • Its members understand and celebrate organizational accomplishments, understand that shortcomings exist, and work to overcome these challenges.
  • To be leading also implies that St. Ambrose excels as measured by carefully selected key indicators.
  • Recognition indicates that St. Ambrose is acknowledged for its accomplishments from both internal and external constituents.
  • To be rooted in the Midwest is to embrace the distinct values and behaviors that characterize Midwestern culture. A richly complex organization, our university centers on the student and student learning.

Diocesan Heritage
Strategic Initiative 3: Study, embrace, and celebrate our Diocesan heritage and commitments

  • Founded in 1882 by Bishop John McMullen, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport, St. Ambrose welcomed students from all religious faiths, ethnic backgrounds, and economic circumstances. St. Ambrose University proudly upholds that identification as "the Catholic University of the Diocese." Simply put, the Diocese of Davenport serves as our geographical and spiritual grounding and provides the pragmatic focus, influence, and leadership for the institutions.
  • True to our historical roots, we offer educational access to those who might not otherwise have such an opportunity. Learning experiences, service opportunities, and direct support of the ministries of the Diocese have been and will continue to be a strategic focus. Through our intentional partnership with the Diocese of Davenport, we focus on being in and of this community. Our awareness and knowledge of our diocesan people, placed within the context of national and global communities, fosters the purpose for our work.

Catholic Intellectual Tradition
Strategic Initiative 4: Develop a shared understanding of our Catholic Intellectual Tradition

  • We ought to look for what is true with the greatest care, Ambrose of Milan, patron saint of learning, "De Officiis, book 1, chapter XXVI."
  • As a Catholic diocesan institution, St. Ambrose University values the Catholic Intellectual Tradition as the 2,000 year-old dialogue between faith and reason.
  • To fully realize its mission, St. Ambrose University must intentionally engage the community in critical inquiry on how the Catholic Intellectual Tradition permeates the life and work of the university. As such, it is important for St. Ambrose University to create a vibrant atmosphere where open and respectful dialogue encourages the integration of multiple perspectives into our SAU community and world today.
  • Charged with determining how to best make the Catholic Intellectual Tradition more visible, integrated and intentional on our campus, many ideas have been considered. It is believed, however, that the study of Catholic Intellectual Tradition at the University beginning with the study of Saint Ambrose of Milan can articulate, unite, and advance Catholic Intellectual Tradition both locally and globally. From there, it is essential to study both Saint Ambrose the person and Saint Ambrose the university to fully engage the campus community in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Faculty and Staff
Strategic Initiative 5: Recruit and retain a distinguished and diverse faculty and staff who are dedicated to the mission of the University and the highest professional standards and service

  • Academic excellence at St. Ambrose University is guided by the mission of the University and applies to all constituencies involved in university life (faculty, staff, administrators, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni). Delivering academic excellence at St. Ambrose University is measured through a high quality learning environment, engagement of exceptional faculty and staff, engagement of graduate and undergraduate students and alumni, and outstanding technical and physical environment support mechanism.
  • These areas are measured through the following indicators for exceptional faculty and staff: supporting faculty and staff development including research and other creative activities, assuring a sufficient number of highly qualified full and part-time faculty and staff to achieve the mission of the University, ensuring high quality of service delivery to students through sufficient numbers of qualified full and part-time faculty and staff, and ensuring an environment where faculty and staff can model integrity and leadership through assigned and voluntary commitment to the University.

Graduate Education
Strategic Initiative 6: Develop a systematic approach to graduate education and support of graduate students.

  • Graduate education has evolved as an integral part of the mission of St. Ambrose University. The university understands that in order to become a leading Midwestern university, graduate education needs to not only continue, but expand its role within the university community.
  • Currently there are 15 graduate programs representing approximately 25% of the students enrolled at the university. These programs need authority to self-monitor through a graduate council lead by a Dean who understands graduate education and who can work within the administrative structure of the university to advocate for graduate programs. This has been supported by the Higher Learning Commission who, in their 2008 reaccreditation report noted that, "the system has not evolved to address graduate programs and the internal infrastructure is based on an undergraduate university." Additionally, "graduate programs, policies, and the handling of students may begin to suffer if this is not addressed as an emerging challenge for St. Ambrose.

Academic and Co-curricular Collaboration
Strategic Initiative 7: Strengthen collaboration among academics, student life and the broader community.

  • In an effort to strengthen collaboration among academic units, student life and the broader community, we should establish a Council for Integrative Learning Environment. The formation of such a Council with both student life and academic affairs representatives, who are principally active in planning university activities, could assist in the development of an integrative learning environment.
  • Through support or direct planning, the Council could help realize initiatives such as a comprehensive university lecture series, theme-centered collaborations, integrative learning workshops, a one-university-one-book program, activities associated with Welcome Week, and New Student Seminars.

Student Persistence
Strategic Initiative 8: Ensure student success by promoting student persistence through programs, services, and instructional strategies.

  • We acknowledge as important and integral the development of a university-wide retention plan including implementation strategies and clear measures of the university's progress toward improving the quality of student life and learning.
  • The retention plan will represent an affirmation of the university's mission and commitment, recognizing that our primary responsibility is always to our students. We must promote their learning and success. We must ensure that the results of our vision, talents and efforts exceed our students' expectations.

General Education
Strategic Initiative 9: Create a signature curriculum for the General Education Program

  • The unifying experience shared by all students who complete undergraduate degrees at St Ambrose University is the completion of the general education program. As our unifying theme, the general education program must be the embodiment of our mission and vision statements. An effective general education program will have measurable outcomes, contribute to the life of the university, and allow students to explore what it means to be an Ambrosian.

The Liberal Arts
Strategic Initiative 10: Support and develop programs of distinction that embodies the goals of liberal arts and academic excellence.

  • Academic excellence at St. Ambrose University is guided by the mission of the university and applies to all constituencies involved in university life (faculty, staff, administrators, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni). Delivering academic excellence at St. Ambrose University is measured through a high quality learning environment, engagement of exceptional faculty and staff, engagement of graduate and undergraduate students and alumni, and outstanding technical and physical environment support mechanisms.
  •  These areas are measured through the following high quality learning environment indicators: student centered learning through assessment, adaptation of instruction, and methods that serve various learning styles; challenging learning environment that encourages students to be responsible for their knowledge base; liberal education that exposes students to comprehensive world view; and developing and offering curricular and co-curricular programs complementing the university mission that reflect academic trends.

Social Justice
Strategic Initiative 11: Promote social justice as a defining feature of the curriculum, university life and engagement with the local and global community.

  • St. Ambrose University is committed to be a beacon of social justice. The promotion and protection of human rights is paramount in this pursuit and serves as the basis for a moral vision for the university and for the greater society in which Ambrosians live.
  • Social justice is promoted through mutual respect and trust between the people of the community-at-large and those of the university. St. Ambrose University provides vulnerable members of our community the opportunity to participate fully in the life of the institution.
  • Social justice concepts are infused throughout the educational experience, teaching students to challenge injustice in the local and global community.
  • St. Ambrose University administration, faculty, staff, alumni, and students act daily to promote social change, protect human dignity, sustain the environment, advance decent and fair wages, and build the common good. As we respect human differences and acknowledge the reality of conflict and violence in the world, we honor our commitment to solidarity as a human family and seek justice to promote peace.

Service and Community Engagement
Strategic Initiative 12: Create university structures to support students, faculty and staff in service and vocation.

  • St. Ambrose University is committed to being a leader in the field of service, community engagement and reflection. The promotion of appropriate curricular structures and on-going support of co-curricular planning is essential in this pursuit; such activities include community-based learning, community-based research, direct service and guided reflection upon these experiences.
  • This two-pronged approach of curricular and co-curricular activities is strategically linked and integral to the living out of St. Ambrose University's mission and values. Through the process of direct-service, community-based learning and reflection, members of the University community work for justice, seek social change and promote the dignity of all persons.