Le Fer Hall

SMWC launches strategic plan

News | 09.03.2015
Dottie King, Ph.D.
Dottie L. King, Ph.D., 16th president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

As Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College celebrates its 175th year, the College officially launched its 2015 Strategic Plan titled “Aspire Higher.” The strategic plan expresses the vision and strategy that sets a clear direction for the College.  The plan, the result of more than four years of college wide discussions and analysis initiated by President Dottie King, Ph.D., outlines the ambitions and aspirations for the institution.

“Our ability to continue educating future leaders and attracting great faculty and staff requires a proactive and collaborative plan to shape the future of the college,” said King. “This strategic plan is designed to build on our historic strengths while developing new areas and programs enabling us to be counted as one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country.”

  1. Elevate the distinctive, high-quality education that has been a hallmark of education at SMWC
    • Create a culture of innovation and accountability within academic offerings, with a special focus on growing health sciences
    • Increase focus on student success
    • Enhance experiential learning opportunities
    • Diversify enrollment
  2. Provide a college environment that is relevant to overall student success and enhances students’ quality-of-life through improvements to facilities and an enhanced financial structure
    • Complete facilities improvement master plan
    • Strengthen the College financially
  3. Enhance the academic reputation and elevate the image of the institution through renewed focus on outreach and partnerships, emphasizing the value of relationships that has always been a critical part of education at the College
    • Expand the sphere of influence beyond the Wabash Valley including local, state and federal policy holders
    • Strengthen the Catholic identity

A foundation of spiritually and a focus on diversified enrollment will underpin all initiatives. The decision in May 2015 by the board of trustees to expand the mission to include men in SMWC’s campus program is also embedded in the plan.

King added the College is well positioned to build on its strong history and ensure the long-term growth and success of the institution.

One area of key importance is the College’s online program, Woods Online. While distance education has been central to the culture at The Woods since 1973, more and more institutions are now offering online degrees.

“We are poised to build on the success of Woods Online by leveraging our strengths to educate adult learners as well as positioning ourselves to add new programs and removing barriers to enrollment,” explained King.

The planning process began with input from various faculty and staff committees, surveys to alumni and community partners. Additionally, information was gathered from current students and prospective students that provided insight into enrollment, majors and student life. The College also revised its mission and values statements through a process that included involvement of alumni, students, Sisters of Providence, faculty, staff and community partners. Fourteen focus groups participated in the mission statement process. The plan received final approval from the board of trustees in July 2015.

To carry the plan forward, an implementation team will be identified to transform the strategic vision into strategic plan actions including specific goals, accountability and timeline. The team will bring the initiatives and elements together in ways relevant to the spirit, strength and success of the College. The team will work throughout the academic year to begin to implement the plan.