Stakeholders considered as committee forms, revises Strategic Plan 2022

Andrea Guzman

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In his first update of the spring semester regarding Strategic Plan 2022, President George Martin said, “the only certainty about the university’s future is that it will be more challenging than any time we’ve experienced in our past.”

The announcement, sent via email to the St. Edward’s community, laid out work the steering committee for Strategic Plan 2022 will complete in the coming months. One of the committee’s assignments is to have a draft of the plans for Martin by May.

According to Martin, strategic plans are formal assessments of institutions that are used to determine how to proceed in the coming years. This plan departs from the typical decade-long endeavor of strategic plans at St. Edward’s University.

“We’ve come up with shorter plans for that now because things are changing so much faster and some other reasons too,” said Martin. “Basically it will establish the directions in which we should be moving forward in 2022.”

The directional statement of the plan deals with Holy Cross values, student experience, growth, sustainability and exchange between the university and the Austin community. Addressing these topics is the steering committee, which consists of faculty, staff, students, administration and alumni. Sub-groups within the committee will work in their respective areas and the steering committee will convene as a whole.

Student Government Association President Jamie Cardenas sits on the committee to represent the student body.

“I think what’s really going to be interesting within those [directional statements] is that they all play off of each other. We’re going to be workshopping to see how can we take this into the future and not just have ideals, but implement them and ensure that we are actually achieving these things,” said Cardenas. “It’s a fun process, it’s really exciting to be part of these conversations to look into how to better the SEU experience five years from now, because as we continue to better the institution in the future, it kind of says something about our own degrees that we’re getting now.”

The examinations of the plan will encompass various aspects of life at St. Edward’s. One such aspect of the plan includes the Master Plan, which is set to be completed this semester.

Noting the next steps for the new strategic plan, Martin said that Sasaki Associates, a consulting firm and sub-committee of the steering committee, will oversee development of the Master Plan. Sasaki has been hosting listening sessions with students, faculty, staff, students and neighbors to the university since October.

Mike Kelly, who lives in the surrounding neighborhood of St. Edward’s and attended the neighborhood forum last semester voiced criticism against the fact that Sasaki holds the listening sessions.

At the forum last semester, Kelly said, “I was surprised that the administration was not present… it just seems odd to put a consultant who doesn’t know anything about that in front of a public audience; it’s an interesting form of interface with the community.”

The Board of Trustees will have a meeting in September, where a refined draft of Strategic Plan 2022 will be presented.