In his October 2004 inaugural address, President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. outlined his vision for Fairfield University's future. He envisioned a University recognized for leadership in producing graduates whose lives reflect personal integration, competence in multicultural understanding, and a commitment to professional responsibility. To achieve this vision, Father von Arx identified three strategic priorities - integration of the core curriculum, integration of living and learning, and integration of Jesuit values in graduate and professional studies - and insisted that these be accompanied by an institution-wide commitment to diversity and Fairfield's Jesuit and Catholic identity.
|MISSION and IDENTITY|
Integration of the Core Curriculum
Integration of Living and Learning
Integration of Jesuit Values in Graduate & Professional Education
During the next year, members of the University community took this message from Fr. von Arx and, in December 2005, produced "Learning and Integrity: A Strategic Vision for Fairfield University." What began as a strategic vision has been solidified into a strategic plan through the efforts of the three groups working on the goals and many other members of the community who have participated in meetings and retreats.
Integration and Engagement: a strategic vision for Fairfield University
In order to implement the strategic plan, we chose to bring the entire plan - the three "numbered" goals, mission and identity, and diversity – into a single framework. There is considerable overlap between the goals, so integrating them into a framework allows us to identify initiatives, establish timelines, develop a funding plan, design assessment plans, and more.
We are using a framework that examines objectives for students as they progress from pre-college into the college years and then beyond. The chronology serves as an organizing rubric to assist the implementation of the strategic plan. When we focus on the college years, our conversations in committees and retreats have led us to connect this developmental approach to values which are central to Jesuit education - community involvement, vocational exploration, civic engagement, and discernment.
|COLLEGE YEARS||Community involvement|
|POST-COLLEGE||Graduate Studies and Lifelong Learning|
|Careers and Community Citizenship|
More than the Jesuit labels in the chart makes this developmental model consistent with and supported by our mission and identity. Our students will be engaged at Fairfield University getting to "know the world" as a part of an open-minded, diverse community. They will use this knowledge and experience to explore career and life paths with an understanding of how they will serve others as citizens and leaders. Throughout their years at Fairfield and presumably beyond that time, they will reflect on their choices and chart a path that demonstrates their values and beliefs.
This site summarizes the status as of September, 2008, of our strategic vision implementation plan. Included are descriptions, goals, assessment plans, selected activities, and the 15 new initiatives (summarized in the table below). The initiatives can be found on the lower left of pages 1 through 8 where, for convenience, each new initiative is attached to a specific developmental stage, but many extend across more than one or all of the stages (most notably, electronic portfolios and faculty learning communities). Also, the stages should not be viewed in a strict linear progression. At their own pace, our students will be making developmental progress in all the stages.
The figure below illustrates the influence of our strategic goals on the developmental stages, then on our strategic initiatives and assessment. The improvements that come from effective assessment will, in turn, influence updates of our strategic goals, objectives for the developmental stages, and new or revised strategic initiatives. Thus, this is an organic process. For example, when initiating new actions to achieve developmental objectives, we may find that the objectives need revision or refinement. When designing assessment, we may find that the set of actions that are meant to support a developmental stage are missing a key objective.
This document will serve as a road map for the coming year and, as we update it annually, a map for implementing Fairfield's strategic plan for many years to come. As these 15 initiatives are implemented, other initiatives will evolve. Which new initiatives receive priority will depend on the success of these first initiatives as measured through assessment.
It is important to remember that the academic enterprise is at the heart of the institution and thus it is critical that we focus on faculty teaching, scholarship, student development and learning. With that in mind, in addition to ensuring that our strategic initiatives have a significant impact on academics, there are plans for additional faculty positions, more financial aid, new facilities and maintenance of our infrastructure. All of these must move forward simultaneously if we are to achieve our ambitious goals for Fairfield University.
What will we have if we realize the goals we have set? This is a vision of a transformed Fairfield University; a community made up of significantly engaged individuals which serves as an important resource and change agent far beyond its physical boundaries. Fairfield will attract and stay engaged with talented and diverse faculty, staff, alumni and students (undergraduate, graduate and lifelong learners). All members of the community will be challenged intellectually and spiritually to reflect on the interconnectedness of their Fairfield experience and its empowering qualities that enable them to positively impact their world. The success of members of the University community will breed further distinction and attractiveness in terms of the institution's reputation for delivering a premier education.