During the summer, the Board of Trustees held a retreat to pave the way for a new five-year strategic plan for Chapman University. Our institution is, in this sense, quite remarkable.
Most universities, like corporations, prepare glossy strategic plans that are rich in rhetoric but not always in substance. These strategic plans speak highly of the ideals of the university but often lack the concrete aspects of how those ideals will be upheld.
Chapman University has a tradition of putting together very concrete and focused strategic plans. The concreteness is expressed in a series of tables, in which we describe how much money will be necessary to achieve any of the stated goals, and how those resources will be obtained. In the most recent plan, for example, we indicated the need for an ambitious fundraising goal, and gave ourselves a deadline of May 31, 2017, to raise the funds needed for our projects. In an exciting twist of fate, the confirmation that we had achieved that goal came with a new and significant gift made … drum roll … on May 31!
But our plans are not only concrete, they are also focused, which means each of them is designed around a central theme. The strategic plan that runs through next May has focused on the development of the health sciences, and the Rinker Health Science Campus is its natural embodiment. Of course, being focused does not mean that a variety of goals won’t be pursued; it means that the focus is clearly on one major item.
We have been preparing to present the new plan to the Board of Trustees at the December meeting. Per the ideas that emerged during the retreat, the development of the Fowler School of Engineering will be the central focus of the new plan, which will cover the period 2018 –19 through 2022–23. At the same time, we will also continue the growth of the Rinker Campus, and we will develop strategies to adapt to the changes in student demographics, including a continuation of our efforts to create an inclusive and diverse campus. All of these ideas will be tied together by a commitment to the development of what I like to call the “Chapman Experience,” namely a coherent approach to our interactions with the various communities around us (parents, prospective students, students, alumni, employers) in a way that will create a special allegiance to our institution.
While the full plan is still being completed, I consider myself blessed by being able to develop such an ambitious future for Chapman, and for having the privilege to lead our beloved University through its completion.
This story appeared in the fall 2017 issue of Chapman Magazine.