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Drew University Strategic Vision and Direction

In October 2023, President Hilary L. Link, PhD introduced upcoming efforts to develop an exciting new Strategic Vision and Direction for Drew University.

President Link noted the shared interest at Drew to outline and communicate what a bold future for Drew will look like, and how to get there.

“A strategic visioning/planning process is a way of framing this effort as an inclusive and actionable set of goals, while also addressing the funding structures needed to get us there.”

President Link announced Dr. John Mills, who has served as president of Northern Vermont University, Paul Smith’s College (NY), and Mount Aloysius College (PA), would help lead this community-wide effort.

“John and I will lead this process together, and I am so thrilled he has agreed to work with us,” said Link. “Given John’s experiences with many different types of institutions, I am confident that he will provide to us all both expert guidance and important outside perspective.”

Presidential Vision

In addition to our mission which guides the strategic plan, President Link has outlined three tenets that are central to our vision. These tenets will serve as the guideposts for our strategic work:

    1. Financial Sustainability
    2. Truly integrating our three schools into a unified university, with at its core a holistic interdisciplinary education focused on ethical decision-making and social justice–which reflects who we truly are as an academic community
    3. Continuing to serve Drew graduates across their lifetimes

Working Group Committee Members

Nine Drew University faculty and staff were selected by President Link and Cabinet to comprise Drew’s Strategic Planning Working Group. They will work with President Link and Dr. Mills.

Following their first meeting, Dr. Mills noted, “I was impressed with the diversity in the group and its commitment to the project. The stakeholders at Drew should feel confident they have the team to accomplish the tasks ahead and openly communicate our progress.”

Working Group Committee Members:

    • Brianne Barker – Associate Professor, Biology
    • Stacy Fischer – Executive Director, Launch
    • Louise Hood – Associate Vice President, Advancement
    • Dong Sung Kim – Assistant Professor, Hebrew Bible
    • Monica Madera – Coordinator, Diversity Program
    • Tami Navarro – Assistant Professor and Chair, Pan-African Studies Program
    • Christa Racine – Director, Athletics
    • Raúl Rosales – Professor, Spanish
    • Shawn Spaventa – Director, Instructional Technology

Messages to the Drew Community

“Strategic Planning update: Working Group members” (October 23, 2023)

Dear colleagues,

I am very pleased to share the names of the nine faculty and staff who were selected by the Cabinet and myself to comprise Drew’s Strategic Planning Working Group. They will engage closely with John Mills and me on Drew’s strategic planning work:

Brianne Barker – Associate Professor, Biology
Stacy Fischer – Executive Director, Launch
Louise Hood – Assistant Vice President, Advancement
Dong Sung Kim – Assistant Professor, Hebrew Bible
Monica Madera – Coordinator, Diversity Program
Tami Navarro – Assistant Professor and Chair, Pan-African Studies Program
Christa Racine – Director, Athletics
Raúl Rosales – Professor, Spanish
Shawn Spaventa – Director, Instructional Technology

Thank you to these colleagues for committing to this important work for Drew’s future. John Mills has already met with this group via Zoom and shared, “I was impressed with the diversity in the group and its commitment to the project. The stakeholders at Drew should feel confident they have the team to accomplish the tasks ahead and openly communicate our progress.”

John will be on campus for his first round of in-person meetings this week. He will make several trips to Drew and there will be a number of opportunities announced soon for all campus stakeholders to share their ideas, give feedback, and weigh in on the plan as it is developed.

Stay tuned!

Sincerely,

Hilary L. Link

“Strategic Planning” (October 6, 2023)

Dear colleagues,

I am excited to update you all on upcoming efforts to develop an exciting new Strategic Vision and Direction for Drew University.

As I have been meeting with many colleagues across campus and beyond, I have been struck again and again by hearing a shared interest in framing and communicating what a bold future for Drew will look like and how to get there. A strategic visioning/planning process is a way of framing this effort as an inclusive and actionable set of goals, while also addressing the funding structures needed to get us there. As you may know, universities typically undergo such a process every five to ten years. Drew has not had a true strategic planning process (nor strategic plan to follow) since 2011. What I have heard, as well, from many of you is that there has perhaps been a lot of planning initiatives over these past years but not a lot of “taking action” or deciding on a long-term vision and then sticking with it to reap the benefits down the road. I have taken all of this under consideration as I have framed out this process.

It is of course important to note that this effort will accomplish the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s recent request to provide further evidence of comprehensive long-range planning processes in our Supplemental Information Report due in September 2024.

To lead this community-wide process, I have decided to engage my close colleague and mentor Dr. John Mills, who has served as president of Northern Vermont University, Paul Smith’s College (NY), and Mount Aloysius College (PA) and has led a variety of institutions through five strategic planning processes. John and I will lead this process together, and I am so thrilled he has agreed to work with us. Given John’s experiences with many different types of institutions, I am confident that he will provide to us all both expert guidance and important outside perspective. The Cabinet has already had the pleasure of meeting John, and I am confident that you will all enjoy working with him. John will be on campus to kick off this process later in October. His bio is attached.

There will be many different ways for members of the Drew community to get involved in developing the new strategic plan over the coming months, and we will communicate those opportunities to you as the project unfolds. Keep an eye out for a website to document progress, access documents, review past meetings, and announce upcoming meetings for our community. I am simultaneously continuing my meetings with various stakeholders in our community throughout the coming year, and I continue to be excited about all the future holds for Drew.

I look forward to working with you as we set out on this important journey.

Sincerely,

Hilary L. Link

Meetings

Introductory Meetings

    • October 24: Cabinet, Working Group, Theological School Dean’s Office
    • October 25: Arts & Sciences Dean’s Council, Representative Stakeholders Group 1, Drew Staff Association, CampusWorks
    • October 26: Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office, Representative Stakeholders Group 2, Representative Stakeholders Group 3, Representative Stakeholders Group 4
    • October 27: Theological School Dean’s Council, President Link, INTO Drew University

SWOT Matrix Review Meetings

    • November 3: Working Group

SWOT Summary and Conversation on Strategic Issues

    • November 10: Working Group
    • November 29: Arts & Sciences Dean’s Council, Stakeholders Group 1, Drew Staff Association Executive Board, Cabinet
    • November 30: Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office, Stakeholders Group 2, Theological School Dean’s Office, Stakeholders Group 3
    • December 1: CampusWorks, Theological School Dean’s Council, INTO Drew University, Stakeholders Group 4

Strategic Planning Process and SWOT Summary Review

    • November 29: Open Forum for Faculty and Staff
    • November 30: Student Government Leaders

Discussions to Narrow Down Strategic Issues

SWOT Summary and Conversation on Strategic Issues

    • December 7: Board of Trustees

Initial discussion of Strategic Issues List

Review of external ‘Who We Are’ messaging with Admissions, Advancement and Communications

Continued discussion of “Who We Are” and Strategic Issues List

Review of Strategic Issues Categories and creation of draft Master List.

In-depth discussion of Strategic Issues

Review of Four Tenets with Strategic Questions

    • February 12: Drew Staff Association, Stakeholders, Theological School Dean’s Council
    • February 13: Cabinet, Stakeholders
    • February 14: Arts & Sciences Dean’s Council, Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office, Student Government Leaders
    • February 15: Theological School Dean’s Office, CampusWorks, Stakeholders, INTO Drew University
    • February 16: Board of Trustees

In-depth discussion of Strategic Issues