Hamline News

Creating Pathways to Distinction

creating pathways article

During the last year, the university community has come together to plan for Hamline’s future. Students, faculty, and staff explored opportunities for providing leadership and creating distinction. They conducted research and gathered ideas from the university community, and ultimately presented their recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

On Friday, May 11, 2007, the Board of Trustees gave its unanimous approval to the Hamline University Strategic Plan 2007-2012.

The plan is aspirational and transformative, intentional, and most of all, achievable. It calls for both the specific—building a new student center and growing the endowment—and the expansive—implementing a new way to honor and achieve diversity. It reaffirms and expands upon Hamline’s values and signature programs and creates a cohesive plan to advance these elements into points of true distinction.

Each year of the strategic plan will be guided by an action plan detailing the specific initiatives that will be accomplished during the year. Progress will be measured annually, based on student success, enrollment, and financial performance.

The strategic plan is organized into six strategic directions accompanied by eighteen objectives and more than sixty specific initiatives. We have provided a short summary of the six directions and their initiatives for this article. If you would like more information on the plan or to share your thoughts, please visit the Strategic Plan website at www.hamline.edu/strategicplan.

We are proud to share this plan with you.

From the president

This plan is a testament to the strength of spirit and community at Hamline University and sets a bold vision for the university’s future. The product of countless hours of effort by hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and trustees, this strategic plan confirms the values on which we are grounded and inspires a common vision for a diverse, learning-centered university.

The plan calls for an achievable response to changing realities of our increasingly complex and globally compact world, yet retains the characteristics for which Hamline is well known. The strategic directions focus on strengthening the academic programs where we have the capacity to make a distinctive and powerful difference in the lives of students. The plan is remarkably intentional and positions the university to advance our legacy as a learning community.

Throughout the planning process, we examined, discussed, and debated the assumptions we held about the university, our world, higher education, and the needs and desires of our students. We gained invaluable insights, confirmed some previously held beliefs, and dispelled some thoughts we once thought irrefutable. We confirmed and enhanced our historic and enduring connection with the United Methodist Church. We expanded our understanding of our mission as one university that exists to create a diverse and collaborative community of learners dedicated to the development of students’ knowledge, values, and skills for successful lives of leadership, scholarship, and service. And we made a plan—this plan—that creates pathways to distinction that will ensure a stronger, more dynamic, and lasting Hamline University, now and in the future.

As this plan becomes a living guide and chronicle of our steps forward, I invite you to share with others our dedication, purpose, and focused intention to achieve our vision, live out our values, and fulfill our shared mission.

Mission, Values, and Vision
The Strategic Plan recommits Hamline to its mission, uniting the university under one mission. It also dedicates Hamline to its values and to a new, aspirational vision.

To create a diverse and collaborative community of learners dedicated to the development of students’ knowledge, values, and skills for successful lives of leadership, scholarship, and service.

Hamline University recognizes its roots in the traditions and values of the United Methodist Church, and aspires to the highest standards for:

• Creation, dissemination, and practical application of knowledge

• Creativity and innovation in teaching, learning, and research

• Multicultural competencies in local and global contexts

• An individual and community ethic of social justice, civic responsibility, and

inclusive leadership and service

Hamline University will be recognized as a diverse, learning-centered university that is:

• Rooted in a tradition of liberal education

• Dynamic and actively inclusive

• Locally engaged and globally connected, and

• Invested in the personal and professional growth of persons

We exist as a collaborative and diverse community of learners with a unified purpose: to develop students’ knowledge, values, and skills for successful lives of leadership, scholarship, and service. We believe that our primary responsibility is to create and nurture a scholarly teaching and learning environment that is rooted in the tradition of liberal education. This vision represents an intentional, strategic shift from a group of affiliated graduate and professional schools and a liberal arts college to a unified, cohesive university committed to a fully integrated educational experience for traditional arts and science disciplines, graduate study, and professional fields. By delivering all academic programs within the framework of liberal education, we align the Hamline experience with the rapidly changing realities of our local and global communities.

Strategic directions
The strategic plan is organized into six strategic directions. Each direction responds to a critical area that Hamline will face as a university over the next five years. The directions are supported by specific objectives and initiatives that break down each direction into concrete, measurable steps. The following is a summary of each strategic direction and its major initiatives. To view the full plan, visit www.hamline.edu/strategicplan.

Unite as a mission-driven university
The relationship that Hamline’s five schools have to the university as a whole was one of the most important considerations of the strategic planning process, and one that influenced every other strategic direction. It became clear during the process that if Hamline was to become more distinctive, it needed to be united as a cohesive university driven by one mission, the university’s mission: to create a diverse and collaborative community of learners dedicated to the development of students’ knowledge, values, and skills for successful lives of leadership, scholarship, and service.

The premise of the strategic plan rests on this unification of the university and on this commitment to the mission. Creating and sustaining a unified identity is integral to achieving distinction as a university, being competitive, and making a difference in the world.

Hamline’s mission, values, and vision will be better understood as the foundation and inspiration of our identity; Hamline will more effectively market itself regionally and nationally, communicating the distinctive Hamline experience; Hamline will measure how each part of the university strengthens our identity and advances our mission.

Create a distinctively Hamline experience
When asked by someone to “Tell me about Hamline,” alumni, faculty, staff, and friends have said that they sometimes are not sure how to respond. It is not that Hamline lacks a collective experience. Alumni of all generations and from all schools tell the same story: that they left Hamline a different person from when they arrived; that they learned how to serve, collaborate, and lead, and how to solve problems in innovative, integrative, analytical, and ethical ways.

This strategic direction calls for Hamline to develop and enhance the Hamline experience, ensure that it is being delivered across all schools, and communicate its value to prospective students, families, and employers. While its main focus is on student learning, the direction also recognizes the importance of cocurricular opportunities as integral to the student experience.

Achieving this direction will require Hamline to rethink the way it delivers academic programs. Innovation has allowed Hamline to develop a strong array of undergraduate and graduate offerings, but it has not allowed the university to organize them to best meet an increasing and expanding group of student academic interests. Prospective college students seek a Hamline experience but do not find their program of choice.
Hamline will expand the undergraduate program array to offer programs in areas such as business and finance, science, technology, mathematics, and allied health, to increase undergraduate enrollment to 2,500 by 2012; Hamline will create new undergraduate schools to better serve students; Hamline will increase the competitiveness of its Division III athletic teams; Hamline will provide a network of programs and services to complement curricular offerings.

Serve the changing needs of society by investing in students
Hamline has always offered more than just an academic experience. Students choose Hamline not only to gain skills in an academic discipline, but also because they desire to develop emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, physically, and socially.

While this focus on “the whole person” has always been a hallmark of a Hamline education, meeting the needs of students has become increasingly complex. In less than forty years Hamline has progressed from enrolling mostly traditional-aged undergraduate students to serving a more varied student body, with nontraditional-aged college students as well as graduate and professional students with a wealth of different experiences. These students come from a wide range of ages, cultures, ethnicities, health and abilities, financial statuses, and geographic locations.
If Hamline is to develop its focus on the whole student into a point of distinction, it must ensure that it prepares all students, of all backgrounds, for a world that is rapidly changing and increasingly complex. Students must be prepared to serve as leaders in both local and global communities.
Hamline will align the curriculum with mentoring and career exploration and preparation opportunities; Hamline will globalize the curriculum to prepare Hamline students to contribute and prosper in a changing world.

Become an exemplar in diversity
Hamline’s commitment to diversity has been a point of distinction since its founding. Hamline’s charter stipulated that no religious test could be used for admission into the university, an unusual decree for a church-related university at the time. Hamline was also one of the first coeducational institutions in the United States, enrolling its first class, students Emily and Elizabeth Sorin, in the fall of 1854.

Central to our success will be the meaningful connection of the principles of inclusive excellence to the university’s identity; its mission, vision, and values; curricular and cocurricular activities; student support and services; recruitment and advancement; decision-making, management, and budget practices; human resource development; and all other functions of the university. Through this effort, Hamline University will become an exemplar in this vital enterprise and provide members of underrepresented and marginalized communities with access, representation, and opportunities for participation and decision-making in the life of the university.
Hamline will attract and retain a more diverse community of students, faculty, staff, and trustees; Hamline will provide faculty and staff with the resources to apply the principles of inclusive excellence; Hamline will implement diversity standards for business practices; Hamline will support research related to diversity.

Create effective learning and living environments

Hamline was once able to fulfill the needs of students out of one building—Old Main. Now Hamline’s forty-seven buildings and sixty-acre campus are straining to keep up with the pace of the university’s growth. The academic needs of students are greater than they were in 1854, or even 1974 or 1994. Hamline students are not just young adults living in residence halls or nearby apartments—they are both part-time and full-time, resident and commuter, traditional and nontraditional age. They need facilities that are open when they need them, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Hamline will develop a long-range campus plan that will guide the renovation of current facilities and the construction of new ones, enhancing technology, accessibility, and safety; Hamline will build a new student center that meets students’ needs and allows Hamline to remain competitive with other colleges and universities; Hamline will investigate the feasibility of additional locations to serve students in the greater metropolitan area.

Steward our resources

The story of Hamline’s history is one of enduring values and academic principles, but it is also one of resources. Achieving the aspirational goals set forth by the other areas of the plan will only be possible if Hamline develops and utilizes the required resources.
But Hamline is not seeking gifts merely to build facilities and create programs—the plan calls for the university to steward its resources mindfully, ensuring that its education remains affordable and that its operations are managed effectively. The plan also considers all of the university’s resources—such as its human and physical resources—and makes a commitment to investing in these areas as well. Hamline will increase the affordability of its education by vigilant management of tuition rates and scholarships; Hamline will build the endowment to $120 million to fund a greater portion of the financial aid discount, sustain accessibility to diverse students, and establish endowed faculty chairs to strengthen teaching and scholarship; Hamline will formally embrace an ethic of sustainability and environmental stewardship—committing Hamline to beliefs and practices that have long been valued by the university; Hamline will invest in the university’s human resources—its faculty and staff—by developing hiring, retention, training, and compensation policies that ensure a diverse, competent, and service-oriented work force.