Learning and Integrity:A strategic vision for Fairfield University
In his October 2004 Inaugural address, University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., called Fairfield University to a new aspiration: to become 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 within the next 10 years, he identified three strategic priorities, insisting that these would exemplify learning and integrity only if accompanied by an institution-wide commitment to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity among students, faculty, staff, and administrators and to foster an environment that supports their success.
Now, nearing the conclusion of a collaborative and comprehensive planning process to articulate a vision for the University, Fairfield University reaffirms its commitment to the mission of its founders, to its Catholic identity, and to its grounding in the values that characterize the Jesuit educational tradition. We also affirm, as the compass by which we will chart our future course, the strategic priorities proposed by Fr. von Arx and given shape during the planning process. These are:
I. Integration of the Core Curriculum
- A. The Academic Division will create coherence within the core curriculum, both horizontally across disciplines and vertically in relation to the major.
- B. Students will come to understand the impact of the core curriculum on their overall education and as the framework on which their major studies build.
- C. The Academic Division will create specific structures, drawing on the resources of the Center for Academic Excellence and the Office of Mission and Identity, to foster discussion of the spirit and specifics of the core among faculty who teach it.
- D. The Academic Division will develop a system for the coordination and regular assessment of the core, and increase the number of full-time faculty teaching within it.
II. Integration of Living and Learning
- A. Working across traditional boundaries, Fairfield University will create a more intentional and holistic living and learning environment, one that includes a comprehensive advising system and support for faculty initiatives that foster the integration of students' intellectual, social, ethical, and spiritual growth.
- B. We will develop a comprehensive, four-year living and learning program for our undergraduate students, with a range of goals articulated for each segment of the formative process.
- C. Most important, we will collaborate across divisions and departments to promote a campus culture that sustains our desired living and learning environment and a residential life setting that welcomes diversity and encourages respect.
III. Integration of Jesuit Values in Graduate and Professional Education
- A. The graduate schools will develop a comprehensive plan to promote and support the power of a Catholic and Jesuit education for all Fairfield students.
- B. Fairfield's graduate and professional programs will foster and support enhanced diversity among their faculty and students.
- C. Using data-driven strategies, the University will enhance the quality of graduate, professional, and part-time programs, and define and market what distinguishes Fairfield from other regional competitors.
This strategic plan also calls for specific supporting commitments:
Funding the Plan: The Advancement Division will focus on endowment building, especially for financial aid and faculty positions, and will increase major gifts and the donor base. The Finance Division will help identify and develop new revenue sources and evaluate existing programs.
Information Services and Technology: The Information Services Division will evaluate new technologies and services, and strive to reach consensus among faculty, staff, and students as to what these instructional, operational, and research enhancements should be and what timetables will best achieve our goals.
Shaping New Parameters: The institution will work across traditional organizational boundaries, adapt business practices that improve efficiency and effectiveness, and give priority to strategic considerations in the annual budgeting process.
Communicating the Fairfield Story: The University will develop and execute a sophisticated marketing plan based on research and analysis, to more clearly communicate to prospective students and benefactors the value (and values) of Fairfield's Jesuit education.
Looking Ahead: During the ten-year timeframe of this plan, the projects and programs it generates will require a willingness and commitment to work across divisional boundaries. To ensure effective financial planning and management, we will need to explore and weigh options, aware that certain decisions may lead to a reallocation of resources. Fairfield University will, through strategic long range planning, sharpen its focus in choosing between strong and weak programs and directing resources to areas for which the University decides it wants to be known.