When Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler assumed office in 2008, he set into motion a strategic planning process that sought the aid of all those with a stake in the University’s future — faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local and regional leaders — in discerning the ideals at the core of the University’s mission and the ways Valpo and its graduates can best lead and serve communities around the world.
In 2009, the Valparaiso University Board of Trustees approved statements of the University’s vision and core values, and President Heckler appointed new members to an expanded Strategic Planning Committee. This group’s initial charge was to engage faculty, students, staff, and alumni in identifying the University’s strategic priorities and developing goals and objectives that advance the University toward achieving those priorities.
Valpo’s Board of Trustees approved the strategic plan in 2010, but the Strategic Planning Committee’s work did not end. Indeed, one of President Heckler’s key recommendations was not only to broaden the committee’s membership, but also to expand its role: the committee was charged with developing ways to measure the University’s progress in implementing the plan and evaluating progress annually.
A Living Document
Annual evaluations of the University’s progress toward achieving its strategic goals result in more than accountability: they also encourage Valpo’s leaders to anticipate significant currents in higher education and adapt the Univerity’s strategy to changing conditions while they are still on the horizon.
Valpo’s mission, vision, and core values remain polestars, guiding judicious amendments to the strategic plan as needed. Each year the plan is updated to set the course for the next five years and prepare the University’s leaders for the potential challenges of the next 20 years.
A flexible and inclusive planning process, regular assessment, and constant communication with the Valpo community worldwide undergird President Heckler’s efforts as he navigates the University toward its goals: enhancing the compelling and distinctive educational experience at Valpo; imbuing graduates with a deep understanding of their gifts and their vocation in life; widening Valpo’s reach and impact; deepening faculty, staff, student, and constituent commitment to the University; fostering a sense of belonging among our graduates that will last a lifetime; and ensuring the financial and environmental sustainability of Valpo’s campus.