History of Strategic Plan

Brief History of the Envisioning 2024 Strategic Planning Process at USD

August 2015: President Harris began his tenure as USD’s fourth president.  The Board of Trustees retreat weekend, September 25-27, 2015, included a discussion of the role and importance of strategic planning.

Fall 2015: After many discussions across campus, President Harris decided that USD’s mission statement did not need to be updated and that the new strategic plan should include its goals for the year 2024, USD’s 75th anniversary. President Harris formed a Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) to develop a new vision statement and new strategic goals.

October 2015: The Huron Consulting Group was contracted to help the SPSC develop a new strategic plan (see kickoff presentation). The President wrote a memo announcing the strategic planning process and invited the campus community to enter a period of reflection and to contribute ideas for the new plan.

Late 2015 to Early 2016: Huron focused on the external landscape and an internal scan.  The internal scan included historical performance data and stakeholder feedback from interviews and focus groups to help identify USD’s current state and help to determine future wants and needs for the University. The external landscape review included student and employer trends and an analysis of higher education.

January 2016: A monthly newsletter, Envisioning 2024 Update, was launched to provide the latest developments in the strategic planning process. The newsletter reported that 14 focus groups and 100s of 1:1 meetings and interviews had been conducted with students, alumni, faculty, and administrators where bold ideas were proposed to help shape the future of USD. Stakeholders were also encouraged to submit their ideas via an online form and more than 400 people did.

April 2016: Huron and USD hosted a Visioning Conference that included more than100 off-campus constituents such as elected officials, public school leaders, Linda Vista and San Diego community leaders, and alumni. Huron presented their internal and external data analysis in late April 2016.

May 2016: At the President’s Forum (see Envisioning 2024 video and PPT), the SPSC co-chairs presented the work completed on the strategic plan to date and a vision statement for 2024 was proposed.  The vision was to follow Laudato si', the second encyclical of Pope Francis, that called for people all over the world to take action on society’s urgent challenges of today. Huron and the University had developed six pathways to help us realize our vision: anchor institution; engaged scholarship; practice changemaking; access and inclusion; care for our common home; and liberal arts for the 21st century.

Summer 2016: Pathway Working Groups were formed to provide definition for each pathway and to create sub-goals. The working groups included more than 50 people. The SPSC wanted to ensure all working group decisions were based on common principles. The SPSC agreed to five guiding principles to steer the working groups’ planning moving forward: student and alumni success; global citizenship; culture of engagement; institutional effectiveness; and prominent profile. The finalized Envisioning 2024 Strategic Plan document was written by SPSC and Huron.

September 2016: The BOT approved of the new vision and strategic plan. The vision of the University of San Diego is to set the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges.

Fall 2016: At Convocation, the President provided an update on the strategic plan and the vision. The President explained that operational goals and opportunities (informed by the Pathway working groups) were needed next to help USD achieve its vision by 2024.

February 2017: An Operational Strategic Plan (more tactical in nature) was approved by the BOT. This plan included five goals (aligned to the six pathways and determined by the five guiding principles); see map below. To further operationalize the goals, the SPSC (with the summer working group’s help) determined opportunities to align to each Goal. See the February 2017 version to the operational strategic plan; this document is often referred to as the “placemat” because it is printed on an 11x17 sheet of paper and placed in front of each BOT’s seat at their quarterly meetings.

Goal was determined by the following Principles:                                     Goals aligned to the following Pathways:
  Anchor Institution Pathway Engaged Scholarship Pathway Practice Changemaking Pathway Access and Inclusion Pathway Care for our Common Home Pathway Liberal Arts for the 21st Century Pathway
Student and Alumni Success; Institutional Effectiveness Goal 1            X
Student and Alumni Success Goal 2        X    
Institutional Effectiveness Goal 3          X  
Culture of Engagement Goal 4    X  X      
Global Citizenship; Prominent Profile Goal 5  X    X      

March 2017: The President presented the five goals and underlying opportunities to the University Community via the President’s Forum. The five goals are:

  • Goal 1: Enhancing Student Learning and Success
  • Goal 2: Strengthening Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
  • Goal 3: Improving Structural and Operational Effectiveness
  • Goal 4: Elevating Faculty and Staff Engagement
  • Goal 5: Amplifying Local & Global Engagement and Reputation

Fall 2017: The President established a Division of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives (IESI) led by a Vice President to facilitate the implementation of the Envisioning 2024 Strategic Plan. In addition to the identified opportunities found in the operational strategic plan, the University started the Strategic Initiatives Funding Program to ensure resource allocation for continued development of opportunities and initiatives aligned to the five goals of the strategic plan. The funding program supports teams or individual faculty, staff, students, or administrators as they pilot new innovative initiatives in support of USD’s five strategic goals. New proposals are reviewed by five separate Goal Committees and the SPSC, and they are funded each year according to the requirements listed on the website. Initiatives are funded for a two-year period; the BOT approves $250,000 for year one and $250,000 for year two.

2017 to Present: Many of the opportunities listed for the Board in the operational strategic plan (AKA the “placemat” document) have remained; however, some have changed as the University has developed overtime and new strategic initiatives have been proposed through the funding program; see the most current version of the placemat utilized at the September 2020 BOT meeting. Current opportunities and initiatives for each goal can also be found on specific goal websites. Each opportunity/initiative under each Goal has key performance indicators with 2024 targets; see alignment. Progress on these opportunities and initiatives are summarized in a Strategic Plan Annual Report presented to the BOT each September. The annual report is written by the Goal Committees with facilitation by IESI.

2020-2021: The Goal Committees will analyze the KPI data for progress made on each opportunity, reflect on underperforming KPIs and the gaps between where we are and where we want to be, and develop implementation action plans to ensure we are able to meet our 2024 vision.