The Strategic Plan

St. Olaf College challenges students to excel in the liberal arts, examine faith and values, and explore meaningful vocation in an inclusive, globally engaged community nourished by Lutheran tradition.

In 2015 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

  1. By 2020, increase the percentage of graduating seniors who report having had an internship from 50% to 70%.
  2. 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.
  3. Meet student demand for learning communities, such as St. Olaf’s signature Conversation Programs.
  4. Ensure high-quality academic and career advising of all students, resulting in Spring 2018 NSSE and HEDS Alumni Survey results that exceed the mean results for other participating baccalaureate colleges and show improvement over the previous administration of the survey.

Goal II: Enhance student participation in, and experience of, residential life

  1. Ensure equity of access to high-quality co-curricular programs, so that by 2020 participants across programs as a whole are reflective of the St. Olaf student body.
  2. Reduce the incidence of high-risk behaviors associated with alcohol and drug use, resulting in spring 2017 National College Health Assessment results that exceed the mean results for other participating institutions and show improvement over the previous administration of the survey.
  3. Prevent sexual misconduct among members of the St. Olaf community.
  4. Support the first-year experience by renewing Kildahl and Kittelsby residence halls so that they begin new life cycles by 2016.
  5. By spring 2016, complete a review of student housing needs in relation to projected enrollment patterns and evolving pedagogies to determine whether additional housing is needed, and if so, what type would be optimal.

Goal III: Increase the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of St. Olaf students, faculty, and staff

  1. Increase by at least 1% the percentage of domestic minority students enrolling each year.
  2. Increase sustained engagement among students who are demographically different from one another, so that by spring 2018, St. Olaf’s “Discussions with Diverse Others” engagement indicator in the National Survey of Student Engagement exceeds the mean indicator for other baccalaureate colleges.
  3. 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 diverse.
  4. 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

  1. By 2020, achieve consistent first-to-second-year retention above 95%.
  2. 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

  1. Improve programs for professional development and continuing education for all employees of the College, enhancing their retention and level of engagement with the institution and likelihood of continued success in their career.
  2. Enhance the leadership skills of supervisors through effective supervisory training programs, to be implemented by fall 2015.
  3. Create recognition programs that support high achievement by faculty and staff.
  4. By fall 2016, complete a review of options that increase differentiation in performance evaluations and compensation systems.

Goal VI: Enhance fiscal sustainability

  1. Manage costs through careful stewardship of resources.
    1. By fall 2016, develop measures to inform program array, guide program improvement, and align human, fiscal, and physical resources.
    2. Limit administrative costs to no more than 8% of operating expenditures.
    3. Continue developing collaborative relationships with other organizations to reduce operating costs.
  2. Reduce the percentage of the operating budget funded by the comprehensive fee by increasing current, or establishing new, revenue streams.
    1. By 2020, increase grant funding that supports College programs by 10%.
    2. By 2020, increase endowment-market-value-per-student ratio by 40%.
    3. By 2020, increase the funds raised through gifts to the St. Olaf  Fund by 28%.
    4. By spring 2017, identify campus spaces in which revenue-generating programs could be expanded or new programs implemented.
    5. By 2020, increase the amount of funded comprehensive fee discount by 1.5%.

Goal VII: Enhance internal and external communication practices

  1. By fall 2015, develop a plan and protocols for internal College communications.
  2. By fall 2015, develop a marketing plan — including metrics — focused on the College’s value proposition.

Goal VIII: Substantially increase philanthropic support for the College’s programs

  1. Plan, prepare, and execute a campaign that raises $200 million by 2020 in support of the College’s strategic plan and ongoing critical needs.
  2. Promote a culture of philanthropy at St. Olaf so that the engagement index for alumni reaches 41 percent by 2020, and alumni participation in the St. Olaf Fund achieves and then consistently exceeds 25%.

Approved by the St. Olaf College Board of Regents, May 2015