In March 2007, after widespread campus discussion, the Board of Trustees approved a new strategic plan for Alvernia, guided by revised Mission and Vision Statements, and accompanied by a campus master plan and the Values and Vision Campaign, with a goal of $27 million. Implementation of the university plan was divided into two phases: Phase 1, which included 2007-2008 and stretched to 2012-2013; and Phase 2, which covered 2013-2018. It was understood that some goals, such as university status, would be pursued immediately, while others--such as the shaping of an academically stronger, more diverse undergraduate profile--would be deferred until Phase II. As is typical, the campus master plan was designed to look out 20 - 25 years. Guided by the strategic plan’s major goals, it specified a set of Phase I projects (2007-2013), with the expectation that Phase II goals (2013-2018) would be identified before 2013. The fundraising campaign was organized around the priorities of the strategic plan and was timed to achieve its ambitious goal by Summer 2013, the end of Phase I.
The scope and pace of progress between 2007-2011 has been, from any perspective, remarkable. Most prominent among many highlights was the achievement of University status, the cornerstone of the strategic plan, accomplished in the fall of 2008. This milestone helped launch the public phase of the Values and Vision Campaign, itself linked to the celebration of Alvernia’s 50th Anniversary and our Bernardine Franciscan heritage. Equally important, the awarding of university status confirmed Alvernia’s significant progress throughout the previous decade (1997-2007) and its evolution into a comprehensive institution with significant commitments to both graduate education—at the doctoral and master’s levels—and a greatly expanded and enhanced undergraduate, residential community. It also has made possible the imperative expressed in the University’s Vision Statement: “To Be A Distinctive Franciscan University.”
Mindful of the deteriorating economic conditions and Alvernia’s considerable momentum as well as the approach of the midpoint of Phase I (2007-2013), early in 2010 President Flynn called for a process that would reassess the changing landscape of private higher education and also update Alvernia’s direction for the remaining years of the plan (2011-2018). The Board reviewed a comprehensive summary of institutional progress and goals yet to be met, with a subsequent report shared with the University community at the August 2010 State of the University address. Trustees, senior administrators, and faculty and staff participated in mini-environmental scans, or SWOT analyses. Subsequently, new goals have been identified, all within the framework of the strategic plan’s original five priorities and the University’s mission and vision statements. Following campus-wide discussion and feedback during early fall 2011, the revised plan was approved by the Trustees’ Executive Committee and later by the full Board on December 8, 2011.