In May 2006, the Board of Trustees approved a series of strategic priorities under the themes of access, excellence and Catholic identity. The timing was appropriate considering the launch of the Opening Doors capital campaign in October 2007.
Trustees revisited those themes and priorities in 2011–12 by engaging in a yearlong conversation about the future of St. Thomas. They were motivated by three pending milestones: the conclusion of the Opening Doors campaign, the decennial self-study and accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, and the retirement of Father Dease as president.
The board retained a consultant who led the trustees through a series of discussions about potential future strategic directions for St. Thomas. The trustees did not get involved in strategic planning, which the next president will conduct. Rather, they focused on developing a common understanding of the strategic directions for the next phase of the university’s development. The directions are:
- To develop a reputation for excellence beyond the Catholic higher education community and in the broader academy nationally and internationally.
- To ensure that St. Thomas, in its admission policy, remains accessible to a broad spectrum of students who show promise.
- To ensure that St. Thomas, through its financial aid, remains accessible to students, both merit based and those with demonstrated need.
- To maintain a vital and robust Catholic character.
- To constantly monitor the changing external environment in higher education with appropriate responses in the areas of tuition pricing; alternative revenue sources and improvements to the cost-effectiveness of our programs; and evolving models of higher education, including online delivery methods.