One of my priorities since becoming president of St. Thomas has been to launch a strategic planning process that engages the community in envisioning and creating the future of our outstanding university, and I am excited to let you know today that we are under way!

I am delighted that a 16-person steering committee has committed to oversee our strategic planning. I expect the committee will have its first meeting this month and will continue its work and engagement of the broader community after the holidays and throughout 2014.

President Sullivan

President Julie Sullivan

Strategic planning is critical to the life of any university. St. Thomas went through three rounds of strategic planning during the presidency of Father Dennis Dease, including a final effort that led to the establishment of priorities for the successful Opening Doors capital campaign.

Dr. Corrine Carvalho, a professor of theology and director of the Luann Dummer Center for Women, and Dr. Michael Cogan, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness, have agreed to chair the steering committee. Other committee members are listed below.

An updated St. Thomas vision statement, in conjunction with our existing mission and convictions statements, will provide the foundation for strategic planning. We are in the final stages of reviewing alternatives for a vision statement, and I hope you can attend the brown bag discussion at noon Monday, Dec. 9, in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium (with live stream to 201-202 Opus Hall on the Minneapolis campus).

The steering committee will review numerous documents and sources of material, including previous strategic plans, the Higher Learning Commission self-study, the 2012-13 climate survey, last spring’s planning survey, and notes from brown bag and Faculty Senate discussions.

The committee also will establish subcommittees to address specific focus areas, such as academic excellence and Catholic identity, and will set goals, objectives and measurable outcomes. Subcommittee members will include faculty, staff, students and alumni.

I know the spring semester and summer will be a busy time for the steering committee and the subcommittees. Our goal is to take our new strategic plan to the Board of Trustees for approval in October 2014.

Members of the steering committee are:

  • Jose Andrade-Vera, graduate student
  • Dr. Bernard Brady, Theology Department
  • Dr. Corrine Carvalho, Theology Department (co-chair)
  • Dr. Michael Cogan, Institutional Effectiveness (co-chair)
  • Lisa Keiser, Non-Exempt Staff Council
  • Mariann Kukielka, undergraduate student
  • Dr. Paul Lorah, Geography Department
  • Dr. Aaron Macke, Student Affairs
  • Dr. Jill Manske, Biology Department
  • Dr. John Olson, Operations and Supply Chain Management Department
  • Kathy O’Neil, Exempt Staff Council
  • Dr. Lalith Samarakoon, Finance Department
  • Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, School of Engineering
  • Robert Vischer, School of Law
  • Dr. Christopher Vye, Graduate School of Professional Psychology
  • Dr. Wendy Wyatt, Communication and Journalism Department

I want to thank everyone in the St. Thomas community for agreeing to participate in our strategic planning process. I appreciate your enthusiasm and look forward to working closely with you in the months ahead.