Welcome to Vision 2018
September 4, 2012
By Lynn Safranek
As the new academic year begins, DePaul embarks on Vision 2018: Dedication to Excellence, Commitment to Community, an ambitious six-year strategic plan to reinforce the university’s strengths and enhance academic excellence.
V|2018 was formed with input from all corners of DePaul. Information was gathered from a series of university-wide town halls, steering committee meetings, retreats and electronic feedback to successive drafts. The plan was approved by the Board of Trustees at its May 2012 meeting.
To officially launch the plan, the university is inviting faculty, staff and students to a kickoff picnic celebration on Sept. 14. The celebration will be held at the Lincoln Park Quad from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“The DePaul community deserves recognition for the special care and thought that went into creating Vision 2018,” says the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president. “I know this plan will inspire new ideas and motivate all segments of the university to search for ways to make an even stronger DePaul.”
Moving forward, schools and colleges will be encouraged to form specific initiatives and unit plans with V|2018’s objectives in mind, says Jay Braatz, vice president for planning and presidential administration.
“The feedback we received from more than 2,000 individuals at DePaul was the driving force behind Vision 2018,” Braatz says. “It will be exciting to see how the university community incorporates the goals and objectives into their own departmental plans.”
Some plans are already under way.
Dean Charles Suchar of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (LAS) asked the college’s chairs and program directors in early 2012 to consider ways they could engage V|2018. Soon, LAS faculty, staff, students and alumni will form six task forces dedicated to major points within the plan. The task forces will target these areas:
- Enhancing student success
- Focusing on the needs of faculty as teacher-scholars
- Emphasizing the internationalization and globalization of academic curricula
- Emphasizing the college’s engagement with and connection to Chicago
- Focusing on diversity and strengthening the college’s Catholic and Vincentian identity
- Strengthening and supporting the fast-developing relationship between technology and the college’s overall educational mission
The LAS task forces will pool their best departmental ideas and look at potential college-wide initiatives, Suchar says. “The goal for each of these task forces will be to generate ideas and concepts for new initiatives by the end of the first year of the plan,” he says. “These ideas will form the more concrete initiatives that LAS will begin implementing during the second year of Vision 2018.”
Vision 2018 Kickoff Picnic Celebration
3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012
Lincoln Park Quad
Student Affairs is tailoring its V|2018 preparation around improving student learning and success, part of the strategic plan’s first goal. The division has spent significant time writing learning outcomes to define student learning throughout the co-curriculum. In the next phase of this initiative, they will connect student learning experiences across the division to demonstrate learning related to the revised university learning goals.
To focus on advancing student success, Student Affairs will partner with several other departments and programs on a new retention initiative. The division is also implementing a new health promotion and wellness initiative for students.
“The current strategic plan for Student Affairs lays a solid foundation for connecting to Vision 2018,” says Cindy Summers, interim vice president for Student Affairs. “The division’s focus on student learning and student engagement serves as a critical connector to our new university initiatives. We look forward to being a partner in accomplishing the strategic goals.”
DePaul is capitalizing on external advice for ways to implement part of the plan. In late August, more than 50 Fellows from the American Council on Education (ACE) met at DePaul to discuss measurable ways to operationalize V|2018’s second goal: to deepen DePaul’s distinctive connection to the global city of Chicago.
The ACE Fellows, all senior academic leaders from campuses across the country and abroad, met with small teams of DePaul administrators to gather information and begin to talk about the ways that Goal 2 might be realized in individual units. Four groups of Fellows focused on Objective 2a, “Leveraging the global diversity of Chicago, infuse international and comparative perspectives throughout the teaching, research and service missions on the university.” The remaining four groups focused on Objective 2b, “Deepen DePaul’s connection with Chicago, enriching students’ educational experiences.”
Guided by a set of questions developed by the university, later this year the Fellows will issue a series of white papers, including recommendations of best practices and ideas to continue to build DePaul’s global and urban engagement.
“The Fellows visited DePaul, because it is a university that cares about turning plans into action,” says Sharon A. McDade, ACE Fellows Program director. “The Fellows look forward to contributing to the university’s commitment to maximizing its ties to the city and through Chicago to an evolving global world.”
To learn more about the plan, visit V|2018 online at vision2018.depaul.edu.