Strategic Directions, now in its sixth year, has come a long way since it was launched in October of 2003. The mission, core values, vision, and strategic goals established during the first year are now an integral part of USD, and the Strategic Directions initiatives have brought us closer to achieving different aspects of our strategic goals.
Each of the four original initiatives – Catholic Social Thought, Inclusion and Diversity, Internationalization, and Integrated Learning – has been integrated into the organizational structure of the university. Each mode of integration has been different, but each has brought the initiative to a point of success in the project plan. The committees that first guided the initiatives have been replaced by administrative leaders and advisory groups responsible for continuing the feedback loop in the project cycle to move forward.
The newest initiative – Sustainability – was launched in 2007-08 on a fast timeline and is now in the implementation phase.
Here's a brief summary of the current status of each initiative:
- Catholic Social Thought: The Transition Committee is helping to plan the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture. Until the center is established, the committee will continue to coordinate educational programs for the campus community. The first program was a workshop for faculty, "Integrating CST into Your Teaching," presented by Dr. Barbara Wall, Special Assistant to the President for Mission Effectiveness at Villanova University. Dr. Wall also gave a public lecture while on campus. The second public lecture was given by Dean William Headley on the topic, "Happy 40th Anniversary Populorum Progressio: Reflections on a Papal Contribution to Humanitarian Service." The committee also maintains a website explaining Catholic Social Thought.
- Inclusion and Diversity: The newly-formed President's Advisory Board on Inclusion and Diversity (PABID) assumed primary responsibility for monitoring inclusion and diversity at USD and advising the president on relevant issues, policies, and practices. Dr. Alberto Pulido chairs the advisory board, and Dr. Beth Dobkin serves as vice chair. PABID called for proposals for the 2007-08 Inclusion and Diversity Grants and reviewed all proposals submitted using the Grant Application Guidelines.
- Internationalization: Administrative offices for many international programs have been consolidated in the International Center, located in Serra Hall 315. The center welcomed the campus community to their new offices with an open house held on October 12. The International Council, active during 2006-07, has been replaced by two new committees. Faculty appointed to the International Studies Abroad Committee continue to develop USD's opportunities for study abroad, and the International Center Advisory Council assists the center staff in developing internationally-oriented programs. The center also maintains and develops the International Gateway website.
- Integrated Learning: The first area of emphasis under this strategic theme was the first-year experience, a cooperative venture between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Together, they created the new "Torero Days" freshman orientation program, added peer mentors and training workshops to improve the preceptorial experience, and developed educational and social programs in the residence halls to smooth students' adjustment to college life. The First Year Experience website explains these programs in more detail, and the FYE Advisory Board is assessing the success of the initial efforts. The next area of emphasis for the integrated learning theme being developed by the Second Year Experience committee. That group prepared a proposal for Provost Julie Sullivan and Vice President Carmen Vazquez with recommendations for an integrated second year experience. The proposal has also been presented to Unversity Senate and will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their meeting on December 7.