Building on momentum gained from its Aspire Higher Strategic Plan, approved in July 2016, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has developed and adopted a new strategic plan to usher the College forward. President Dottie L. King, Ph.D., publicly announced the new plan, Aspire Even Higher, at the President’s Gala tonight at Hamilton Arena in the Knoerle Center.
“In recent years, the College has enjoyed significant momentum,” said President Dottie L. King, Ph.D. “At this moment in our history, we have an incredible opportunity to set in motion our institutional priorities for the coming years. The path ahead will prepare and inspire our students to succeed in and contribute to the broader community.”
The Aspire Even Higher Strategic Plan has three distinctive and interconnected priorities focusing on advancing SMWC in the areas of academics, campus environment and the College’s outreach locally, regionally and nationally. The concepts of spirituality, enrollment and innovation are woven across the three priorities.
With input from students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and alumni through a series of dream and focus sessions, the 40-member strategic plan steering committee developed the plan to strengthen the institution across all areas and build a foundation for future growth. The steering committee, made up of faculty, staff and administrators from various departments and offices at SMWC, will be responsible for the plan’s implementation over the next five years.
One of the initiatives under the new plan is the launch of a refreshed brand strategy including a new brand positioning statement. A new version of the College logo — a circle with the College name abbreviated S, M, W, C, against a solid background and featuring the College’s brand colors— was also officially announced at the President’s Gala.
Other objectives and tactics include plans for SMWC to:
- Move to university status and offer doctoral programs by Fall 2022
- Grow new academic programs to enhance recruitment opportunities and choices for students in an ever-changing workforce
- Ensure support for the transition to full membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). SMWC Athletics is currently a member of United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA).
- Develop a statement to better articulate and strengthen SMWC’s Catholic identity and values
- Expand international internships and study abroad opportunities that will elevate student networking and global awareness
- Increase diversity of the student population by 10% through international partnerships and regional minority mentoring programs by the year 2025
- Create 5, 10 and 20-year master plans with a special emphasis on improving academic and residential facilities
“On the long timeline of this College, there is a mark denoting that at this time and in this place, something special is happening.,” said Karen Dyer, vice president of advancement and strategic initiatives. “This plan is so much more than a vision on paper – it is a vibrant and exciting pathway to the future inspired by the dreams of those who have a passion for Catholic higher education. We are driven to make our dreams a reality because we are committed to the mission Saint Mother Theodore Guerin began 180 years ago.’”
“We look forward to working with internal and external partners — parents, educators, alumni, and local and regional constituents — as we Aspire Even Higher at The Woods and continue to make a positive impact in our community and our world.”
The President’s Gala was attended by more than 300 people. It featured the presidential address and a performance by the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Choirs of the Grammy-award winning song, “A Million Dreams,” from the 2017 hit movie, “The Greatest Showman.” The Honorable Barbara Brugnaux, chair of the SMWC board of trustees; Greg Gibson, trustee emeritus; Indiana Senator Jon Ford; and Sisters of Providence General Superior Dawn Tomaszewski made brief remarks during the event.