The Strategic Plan as Foundation for the Future
by Dr. Dale Jones, Vice President for Strategy, Administration, & Board Affairs
The Hampden-Sydney College mission for 237 years has been “to form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.” As we prepare for the future, we have developed a strategic plan guided by the vision statement “to become a model liberal arts college recognized for excellence in educating men for the 21st Century.”
Under the leadership of President Christopher B. Howard with strong support from the Board of Trustees, Hampden-Sydney College is poised for future opportunities. Propelling the College forward is a new strategic plan, “H-SC 20/20: Recognized for Excellence in the Education of Men.” After an all-inclusive development process, the plan was approved by the College’s Board of Trustees on November 5, 2011.
Serving as a blueprint for implementing our historic mission in the 21st Century, H-SC 20/20 is the link between recent and future decades. The strategic plan is the foundation for the future of the College.
Strategic Planning Process
Hampden-Sydney College will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2025. Participants in the strategic planning process were cognizant of this important milestone and created an eight-year plan that can be completed as we approach this historic milestone. The overarching purposes of the planning process were to achieve beneficial, strategic changes to adapt to the rapidly shifting higher education environment, to enable proactive strategic renovation for our future in the fast-changing world, and to align and prepare us for fundamental transformations underway.
The plan’s development relied on a comprehensive and collegial approach, ensured open and consistent communication, and involved an iterative learning process. Furthermore, the strategic planning process benefited from engagement by all College stakeholders. Starting in August 2010, the plan developed over a period of fifteen months and included consultation with students, faculty, administration and staff, the Board of Trustees, alumni, parents, donors, and supporters from the local community.
Vision and Values
Essential components of the strategic plan are a vision statement and an expression of core values. The vision statement, expressed above, was the guiding light during the planning process.
The values of the College are proclaimed in the introduction of the strategic plan: “Hampden-Sydney College is an institution of higher learning that offers a rigorous liberal arts education to prepare its students for the future. The College is committed to a set of fundamental and enduring core values. They explain what we believe and define how we will execute this plan. These values shape the life of the college and can be found on the Education Goals page."
Strategic Plan Goals
During the development of the strategic plan, three areas were given high priority: the nature of a liberal arts education in the 21st Century; the importance of an environment for character and leadership development; and attention to admission of highly qualified students, the enrollment level, and student retention. The outcome is a strategic plan with five pivotal goals to guide the College during the next eight years. The goals center on the development of good men, excellence in the educational environment, an efficacious community, marketing, and financial sustainability.
Goal #1: To graduate capable, confident men who are committed to serving with honor and character – Good Men, Good Citizens.
Goal #2: To achieve an environment for the education of men that is recognized for excellence in learning, teaching, living, and working.
Goal #3: To build and retain a more diverse, civil, and engaged college community.
Goal #4: To market the College to select national and international audiences for awareness, student recruiting, and fundraising.
Goal #5: To assure the financial sustainability of the College.
Early Stage of Implementation
Since its approval at the fall 2011 Board of Trustees meeting, College staff are in the early stage of the strategic plan’s implementation. President Howard enjoins the implementation team to prioritize what should be accomplished first in order to generate revenue to fund other actions. Thus, Phase I from 2012 to 2014 is the short-term period of implementation with 15 no-cost goal action items, such as actively engaging parents and alumni in the recruitment process and giving more attention to the total experience of students’ freshman and sophomore years, including programs of orientation, advising, student life, and academic support.
Phase II stretches from 2014 to 2017 as the middle interval for 34 goal action items, such as broadening the definition of the Hampden-Sydney tradition of honor to include personal conduct, character, ethics, and integrity throughout life.
Ultimately, Phase III represents the long-term from 2017 to 2020 with nine challenging goal action items.
Creating this strategic plan for Hampden-Sydney College has been, appropriately, a learning process. Everyone involved has challenged assumptions and evaluated “the givens.” Strategic planning takes considerable effort and is, not surprisingly, truly iterative in nature. Developing this plan has taught us about our aspirations, needs, and priorities. Most of all, however, it presents great opportunities for the College.
Hampden-Sydney College is at an exciting time in its history. With dynamic leadership paving the way and a highly energized community of committed stakeholders, we are galvanized on strategic pathways. The H-SC 20/20 strategic plan reinvigorates existing programs and business practices and injects fresh ideas, innovations, and initiatives. The College is well on its way to a new future.
For more information about the Strategic Plan, visit www.hsc.edu/Strategic-Plan.html.