In 2019 and beyond, St. Olaf College will continue to offer an excellent, intensely-residential, and globally-engaged liberal arts education guided by its Lutheran tradition. We will sustain our practices in publicly documenting the outcomes of our current students and recent graduates, including their intellectual breadth, depth, and rigor; their engagement with high-impact academic, residential, and co-curricular experiences; their global understanding and citizenship; their meaningful engagement with questions of faith and value; and their longer-term professional accomplishment, financial independence, and personal fulfillment. The College will also maintain its commitment to meeting the demonstrated financial need of all students and to limiting student indebtedness.
To sustain these commitments, practices, and expected outcomes, the College has identified the strategic initiatives that will guide the work of its faculty, staff, and academic and administrative leaders for the next few years.
Goal I: Enhance student participation in, and experience of, high-impact educational practices
- Maintain the percentage of graduating seniors who have engaged in a high-impact practice connected to their vocation or career (internship, research, practicum, etc.) at 85% or higher.
- While maintaining high rates of participation, ensure equity of access to off-campus study, so that by 2020, off-campus study participants are reflective of the St. Olaf student body as a whole.
- Ensure high-quality academic advising of all students, resulting in student ratings of their advising interactions in the National Survey of Student Engagement that exceed the mean results for other participating baccalaureate colleges and show improvement over previous administrations of the survey.
- Ensure high-quality opportunities for all students to discern and pursue vocation, resulting in 85% or more of graduating seniors indicating in the First Destination Survey that they feel confident in their ability to pursue meaningful work, education, or service activities following graduation.
Goal II: Enhance student participation in, and experience of, residential life
- Eliminate any institutional barriers to the full participation of students in high-quality co-curricular programs and activities, so that by 2020, the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of these programs and activities is similar to that of the student body as a whole.
- Reduce the incidence of high-risk behaviors associated with alcohol and drug use, resulting in Spring 2021 National College Health Assessment results that exceed the mean results for other participating institutions and show improvement over the previous administration of the survey.
- Prevent and remedy sexual misconduct involving members of the St. Olaf community by continuing to enhance education, training, reporting and support.
- By Spring 2020, develop a plan for a new residential housing project including architect, contractor, project scope, schematic design, project budget, project timeline, and financing model.
- By Spring 2020 develop a plan for continued renovation of existing residence halls, with priorities and timelines that are congruent with the timeline for the new residential housing project and the Spring 2020 six-year physical development plan.
Goal III: Increase the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of St. Olaf students, faculty, and staff
- Continue to increase the percentage of domestic students of color enrolling each year, so that by Fall 2023, the percentage of first-year students of color approximates or exceeds the median percentage for first-year students enrolling in our strategic comparison group institutions.
- Increase sustained engagement among students who are demographically different from one another, so that by Spring 2021, St. Olaf’s “Discussions with Diverse Others” engagement indicator in the National Survey of Student Engagement exceeds the mean indicator for other baccalaureate colleges.
- Continue to increase faculty diversity through recruitment, such that at least 30% of new tenure-track faculty hires (on a rolling three-year average) will be international faculty or domestic faculty of color.
- Continue to increase staff diversity through recruitment, such that by 2020, the diversity demographics of our staff reflect the diversity demographics of the College’s hiring markets.
Goal IV: Advance retention and graduation rates
- By 2020, achieve consistent first-to-second-year retention above 95%.
- By 2020, achieve a consistent four-year graduation rate above 85% and six-year rate above 90%.
Goal V: Enhance programs and processes for faculty and staff recruitment and development based on the 2012 Institutional Culture Initiative
- Improve employee opportunities for and satisfaction with professional development programs and resources provided by the college.
Goal VI: Enhance fiscal sustainability
- Manage costs through careful stewardship of resources such that expenditure growth does not exceed revenue growth.
- Continue to implement recommendations of the Strategic Resource Allocation Project in support of revenue generation, cost reduction, and program investment.
- Continue to limit administrative costs to no more than 12% of operating expenditures.
- Reduce the percentage of the operating budget funded by the comprehensive fee by increasing current, or establishing new, revenue streams.
- By May 31, 2020, increase grant funding that supports college programs by 10% over grant revenues as of May 31, 2016, measured as a 3-year rolling average.
- Increase endowment-market-value-per-student by 5% annually.
- By May 31, 2020, increase the funds raised through gifts to the St. Olaf Fund by 28% compared to May 31, 2014.
- By May 31, 2020, increase the share of funded tuition discount as a percentage of total tuition discount by 1.5% compared to May 31, 2014.
Goal VII: Substantially increase philanthropic support for the College’s programs
- Raise an additional $28 million in the final fiscal year of the campaign, which concludes May 31, 2020.
- By 2020, raise the annual alumni engagement index to 41% of alumni engaged via participation, volunteering or giving.
Approved by the St. Olaf College Board of Regents, October 2019