Strategic Plan

After getting feedback from faculty, staff, students and the community, the President and Board of Trustees have created four major areas of work to guide the strategic plan. The four major areas include (details below):

  • Students at the Center
  • Community Responsiveness
  • Knowledge in Action
  • Systems to Facilitate Success
With the approval of the strategic plan by the Trustees, our attention has turned to implementation of the initiatives. To sequence our work, the Cabinet prioritized the 19 strategic plan initiatives. In addition, we rated the resource demands of implementing these initiatives. Based upon these factors, we have sequenced the rollout of our key initiatives with a focus on those that can stabilize enrollment through recruitment, retention, and new programmatic opportunities. Teams of faculty and staff are developing milestones for these initiatives, and mapping them against the objectives and key results of the strategic plan. Each initiative has a sponsor and owner, to drive the work forward as well as get others involved.

To see initiative plans and progress toward milestones, expand the four work areas below and scroll to the initiatives to see the links. Initiative links are rolling out continuously, so check back periodically for new links.

Download the strategic plan

Preamble

Fort Lewis College is unique among public institutions. Influenced by its history as an Indian boarding school and deeply rooted in its southwestern location in the Four Corners, FLC’s commitment to access, affordability, academic excellence, and equitable opportunities for its diverse student body has been integral to its DNA since its founding more than a century ago.  FLC leverages the cultural and natural abundance of its region through a focus on experiential learning guided by high quality faculty via rigorous degree options.  

FLC creates a sense of belonging for all our students and ensures that they develop the ability to critically understand the world around them, clearly express themselves, and effectively work in teams.  To actualize this commitment to our students, we will: 

  • Develop and support students as whole people through a culture of caring and personalization;  

  • Provide authentic and graduate-quality research opportunities for undergraduates;  

  • Embed experiential learning practices throughout our curriculum;  

  • Respond to our community’s needs;  

  • Work toward reconciling our complicated past;  

  • Provide experiences for students to build resilience and adaptability; 

  • Leverage the curricular and co-curricular assets of our location; and 

  • Pursue interdisciplinary approaches to address the major scientific and social issues of the future.  

FLC faculty and staff work every day to make the world around them a better place through scholarship, teaching, and service. True to our institution’s liberal arts roots, they create learning opportunities that prepare students to flourish in an uncertain world through developing essential skills for the future and an entrepreneurial spirit.  The challenges and opportunities facing the Four Corners reflect critical issues facing contemporary society, and as such, serve as a unique learning environment. Therefore, at FLC, we consider how to:  

  • Reduce disparities in health, wellness, education, and economic outcomes by considering the moral, historical, and ethical aspects of these issues;  

  • Foster students’ ability to take action to confront scientific, social, and environmental challenges by complementing critical thinking with development of current and transferable technical know-how and communications skills; and  

  • Connect caring with resilience, a sense of belonging with understanding, and critical thinking with tangible impact through all our teaching, research and co-curricular activities. 

At its September 2018 meeting, the FLC Board of Trustees endorsed several high-level priorities to guide the College’s strategic planning process prioritizing putting students at the center of our campus community’s work.  The work of the strategic planning team was motivated by the fundamental premise of “students at the center.”  

Another critical priority endorsed by the Board is to achieve financial sustainability. That priority is reflected throughout the strategic plan, through goals to increase enrollment, diversify the College’s revenue generating activities, including expanding online offerings and strengthen data-informed decision making for allocating scarce resources.  Additionally, the Board signaled the value of our student diversity and this plan embraces our role as a non-tribal Native American Serving institution.  

The strategic plan that follows is organized into key areas of emphasis that emerged from wide-ranging discussions with the FLC community and the greater region.  These areas of emphasis will serve as touchstones to guide the College’s decision making at both the leadership level and in the day-to-day work of faculty and staff.  They include:

  • Students at the Center; 

  • Knowledge as Action; and 

  • Community and Regional Relationships.

A fourth area of emphasis, which will permeate and support all of the College’s strategic planning efforts, is: 

  • Systems to Facilitate Success.   

Primary objectives and key results are presented within each of these four strategic areas of emphasis, along with initiatives designed to achieve them. Key results are largely dependent on improvement from baseline data; likewise, so that efficacy and progress can be measured, many initiatives will begin by establishing baseline data where needed (e.g., alumni job placements, regional labor market needs, etc.). Similarly, the development of certain systems will require identifying best practices from both within and outside the College. Specific key results will then flow from baseline data.

This strategic plan presents a positive call to action to the entire FLC community and marks the beginning of an exciting time for the College. Over the next few years, FLC will strive to reach its full potential as a national example of serving students, the community, and the nation, with an unyielding commitment to access and academic excellence. 

Students at the Center
Improve all aspects of the Fort Lewis College student experience, from prospective students’ first interaction with FLC until graduates are established in their next phase of life. Create engaging, supportive, and inclusive structures across all aspects of the College that are vital to meeting the needs of our students.

Objective: Use high impact curricular and co-curricular practices to improve student success and retention. 

Key Results: 

  1. Increase first-year to sophomore retention rate to 75% within 5 years; and continue improvement to a long-term goal of 90%. 
  1. Increase sophomore-to-junior persistence to 80% and junior-to-senior persistence to 90% within 5 years, resulting in 6-year graduation rates that approach 55%. 
  1. Close gaps in retention, persistence, and graduation rates among all student demographics to within 5 percentage points within 5 years, utilizing Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) categories.  
  1. Identify ten relevant metrics of the National Collegiate Health Assessment (NCHA) data and close the gap between FLC and national averages by 30% within three years; continue to shrink gaps thereafter.   
  1. Increase fundraising by 25% over three years for merit, need, and microgrants program. 

Objective: Serve our students through innovative and best recruitment, communication, and admission practices. 

Key Results: 

  1. Increase growth in overall enrollment by 5% each of the next three years to reach at least 3,700 students. 
  1. Increase growth in transfer students by 12% over three years. 
  1. Improve the campus visit yield rate to 40% of students who visit the year prior to enrollment, and to 30% of those who ever visit campus. 

Initiatives:

  • Reimagine the first-year experience 
  • Improve campus-wide approach to student heath, wellness, resilience, and healing 
  • Improve campus-wide approach to inclusion, equity, and diversity 
  • Centralize student services 
  • Support and sharpen recruitment processes 

Knowledge as Action
Promote, support, and inspire students to action through learning environments that foster interdisciplinary studies and produce graduates equipped to grapple with contemporary global and regional issues.

Objective:  Support students’ abilities to deeply engage with the most critical scientific and social issues of the future by investing in and leveraging FLC’s academic strengths. Do so in concert with holistic practices to develop the whole student and foster effective communication skills that flow from FLC’s roots in the liberal arts.    

Key Results: 

  1. Increase student experiential learning opportunities by 50% by Spring 2020. 
  1. Increase student participation in interdisciplinary capstone projects/senior seminar classes that include two or more departments by 50% by Fall 2021. 
  1. Ensure that all graduating seniors have participated in an experiential, high-impact curricular/co-curricular learning experience by Spring 2022. 
  1. Increase dollar value of grant/gift awards that support undergraduate research, experiential learning, and faculty service/research by 20% annually by 2020-21 academic year. 

Objective:  Improve the quality and relevance of FLC academic offerings by deepening connections to post-graduate and professional programs and labor market needs.   

Key Result:   

  1. Increase the number of graduates employed in their field of study or enrolled in a high-quality post-graduate or professional program. 

Initiatives:

  • Create and enhance programs for mentorship, professionalism, and career attachment  
  • Identify interdisciplinary study and research opportunities   

Community and Regional Partnerships
Build programs and initiatives that respond to and support regional labor market demands. Create additional internship and experiential learning opportunities for students and maximize the impact of FLC.

Objective: Expand and leverage resources that enhance the College’s impact in the community through economic and workforce development. 

Key Results: 

  1. Develop sustainable academic program offerings that reflect alumni employment trends and meet current community and regional workforce needs (e.g., allied health programs, principal preparation).  
  1. Increase enrollment in certificate programs by 80% by 2020. 
  1. Develop MOU’s with three remote employers during the 2019-20 academic year. 
  1. Increase employer satisfaction with FLC graduates.  

Objective: Create new pathways and partnerships for educational enrichment and/or employment that meet market needs in the Four Corners region. 

Key Results: 

  1. Increase the number of internships offered across campus by all academic programs. 
  1. Increase the number of FLC partnerships with businesses and organizations in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.  
  1. Increase job placement of graduates via partnerships by 20%.    
  1. Establish new graduate programs that match labor market/student needs. 
  1. Enhance entry to career paths, increase professional accreditation and licensure programs by 20%.  
  1. Develop new (or converted) hybrid or completely online certificates or programs that match community needs. 
  1. Increase online course offerings annually. 

Objective: Better connect faculty and staff expertise to community needs to foster regional economic and community development. 

Key Results: 

  1. Increase faculty-based community/scientific/economic partnerships by 30%.   
  1. Increase rates of college readiness in local schools until at least 90% of students are college ready.  
  1. Create a Native American Advisory Board comprised of Tribal leaders and alumni.  

Initiatives: 

Systems to Facilitate Success
Design systems to implement and assess progress and impact of strategic initiatives. Use data and results to drive decision making about how best to allocate and leverage human, financial, and physical resources.

Objective: Evaluate, assess, and improve upon current practices and new initiatives as outlined in this strategic plan. 

Key Results: 

  1. Acquire and analyze baseline data in all target areas and agree upon processes for gathering data on an ongoing basis to evaluate and improve existing and new initiatives. 
  1. Improved capacity to better understand student success.  

Objective: Facilitate and improve communication across campus and throughout the community.  

Key Results: 

  1. Coordinate and reduce unnecessary/redundant communications to students.   
  1. Improve mechanisms to identify, share, and disseminate both internal and external best practices across campus (faculty and staff) by Spring 2019.  
  1. Support employee development by reducing conflicting and out-of-date policies contained in the College’s Policy Library and various handbooks by January 2020.  

Objective: Develop, support, and reward faculty and staff through improving our Human Resources function.  

Key Results: 

  1. Enhance employee training so that 90% of new employees report an understanding of institutional and job specific expectations by Fall 2019. 
  1.  Improve employee satisfaction so that 70% of current employees find value in, and are satisfied with, recurring training and other opportunities for growth and advancement by Fall 2019.  
  1. Implement managerial training so that 75% of employees report having an effective manager by Fall 2019. 
  1. Enhance faculty training so that new faculty members indicate an 80% level of satisfaction with teaching and learning support by Spring 2020.  
  1. Acquire baseline data on equity, diversity, and inclusive climate by Spring 2019, then work to improve campus climate based upon this data. 

Initiatives: 

  • Build an evaluation dashboard (collecting and using data) into all initiatives 
  • Create systems to streamline communications to students (Updated 5/31/19)
  • Build capacity to better understand the quality of FLC’s academic programs and improve tracking of students 
  • Develop systems to leverage knowledge across campus 
  • Review communication processes to eliminate redundancy and better align current policies  
  • Provide consistent training to all faculty and staff  (Updated 7/1/2019)
  • Develop evaluation and compensation systems that align with the College’s goals