October 2006


The University of Saint Mary educates students of diverse backgrounds to realize their God-given potential and prepares them for value-centered lives and careers that contribute to the well being of our global society.


The University of Saint Mary will realize its mission by developing a regionally recognized nursing program, building on its liberal arts foundation, with the introduction of program and strategic partnerships in allied health, and foster financial stewardship to further promote and enhance its reputation of academic excellence.

In the fall of 2005, as the University of Saint Mary (USM) neared completion of the strategic plan adopted in 2003, a new strategic planning process was undertaken. A Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) was formed, with representatives from each internal stakeholder group, to begin development of a new strategic plan. The strategic plan is now complete and has reaffirmed the current mission statement and produced a new strategic vision statement. The plan will provide direction and focus for USM for the next five year period.

This report will summarize each key step in the creation of the strategic plan. The SPC followed a fairly standard planning process with one notable exception: the development of a vision statement, generally occurring early in the process, was intentionally delayed until well into the planning process. This was done so that the SPC could ensure the vision statement addressed the strategic issues raised during the process and was informed by data.

The USM community agreed that the school needed to focus its efforts and resources to distinguish it from the other Catholic and private liberal arts schools surrounding us. To the extent possible, the planning process was data-informed with a great deal of effort put on the external environmental scan. The entire USM community spent a full day providing input and prioritizing issues. This process resulted in the identification of the two foci of the plan: a strategic focus on allied health and a concentrated effort on improving fiscal stability. The plan is built on these two strategic issues. Action plans were developed to implement these two initiatives.

The action steps for the strategic focus of allied health have clear, measurable objectives The action steps for fiscal stability fall into two categories: those that have clear measurable objectives, such as enrollment, and those that needed benchmarks set before informed goals could be established, such as the profit margin for each program. In these cases, the action was to first establish data informed benchmarks and then set action steps to reach the informed goals. The plan is monitored on a quarterly basis with full reports to the Board of Trustees and the university community through the University Assemblies.




The Process

The University priority, the identification of strategic issues, completed, the Committee needed to develop the strategic initiatives necessary to address the issues. Strategic initiatives also provided the framework from which action plans would be developed to carry out these initiatives. As the Committee considered possible alternatives, the following criteria were used to ensure the initiatives were viable for USM:

•  Fit with Mission
•  Fit with Mandates for Services
•  Fit with USM strengths and opportunities
•  Required resources available
•  Financial stability improved

The Outcome

To address the strategic issue “USM lacks focus,” the first strategic initiative is:

USM will develop allied health, starting with nursing, as a niche for which the university will be recognized

To address the second strategic issue, “USM is challenged by limited resources,” the second, broader strategic initiative is:

USM will improve its financial stability through revenue enhancement, fund development and cost containment.




1. Establish a Degree in Healthcare Informatics

2. Explore, study and develop a Doctorate in Physical Therapy

3. Explore, study and develop a Bachelors in Information Management

4. Explore, study and develop a Masters in Dietetics and Nutrition

5. Explore, study and develop a Masters in Occupational Therapy

6. Explore, study and develop a Masters in Nursing and Doctorate in Nursing Practice

7. Develop Professional Development courses in Healthcare

8. Enhance overall fiscal stability

To view the entire strategic plan, please read the Strategic Plan Summary Supplement.