In fall 2019, the Provost’s Office began a comprehensive and collaborative process to develop a new Strategic Plan that could serve as a roadmap for the growth and sustainability of UD’s educational mission.
Over the subsequent months, guided by the Board of Trustees’s Strategic Planning Committee, great care was taken to include input from a wide cross-section of university constituencies, from faculty, staff, and student leadership to administrative staff, through a series of listening sessions, an online survey and ongoing discussions with UD’s University Council.
The result is the following Strategic Plan, approved by the Board of Trustees on May 29, 2020, and presented to faculty and staff in the fall of 2020.
Academic excellence embodied in a rigorous Catholic education dedicated to a lifelong pursuit of wisdom, truth and virtue.
The University of Dallas aims to provide the paradigm for Catholic university education. It seeks to do this through combining a comprehensive liberal education with disciplined formation in a wide variety of majors and graduate programs in a manner unmatched by any other Catholic university. Through its rigorous and intimate approach to educating the whole person, the University of Dallas cultivates in current, past, future and lifelong students those habits of mind and heart that enable them to live flourishing personal and professional lives in service to their families, communities, country and faith.
Through a commitment to excellence at every level — in its faculty and academic offerings, in its campus ethos and student life and ministerial activities, and in its outreach to the community, country and Church — the University of Dallas endeavors to achieve permanent financial well-being in order to fulfill more perfectly the ends of its distinctive mission. Strategy guides action, and requires a prudent arrangement of priorities to realize the university’s vision. This strategic plan is the fruit of critical discernment of our strengths and weaknesses, as well as careful reflection on our opportunities for revenue and endowment growth in light of the current challenges to higher education in our local and national landscape. The strategic plan is structured thematically around several areas for immediate and long-term concentrated efforts for the long-term financial health and the fulfillment of our vision. It is meant as a dynamic guide, as opposed to a static blueprint, to enable the university to adjust for unanticipated challenges — like the COVID-19 pandemic — and opportunities.
For the foreseeable future, we will focus our efforts on the following themes:
In pursuit of each of these themes, constant attention needs to be given to marketing. Our new approach to marketing will center on telling compelling stories related to these four themes. These stories will seek to strengthen existing relationships with our alumni, parents and friends, and to build new relationships with friends and prospective students. The central message of our future marketing efforts will consist of emphasizing first that the University of Dallas provides an exceptional Catholic liberal arts education on the undergraduate level, and second that its graduate programs are fostering a new generation of competent and visionary leaders in every area of society, with a special emphasis on forming those who can in turn provide such an education to others.
The University of Dallas is dedicated to inquiry into timeless truths, but in no way does it sacrifice preparing our students for the present and future by doing so. Such dedication swims against the current in higher education in two fundamental ways: by assuming there are essential truths to be discovered, and by prioritizing their study. Some institutions, out of expediency or ambivalence about this foundational approach to higher education, prioritize what today’s trends and forecasts judge to be the most relevant for job preparation. While devoting sufficient attention and resources to the task of career preparation and development, the University of Dallas is nonetheless convinced that it is a mistake of the first order to treat a formation in wisdom, truth and virtue as a secondary concern. The larger goal and ambition of our undergraduate and graduate core curricula is, therefore, to provide a foundational education in first principles with a view to forming students for a lifetime of success in both their personal and professional lives. We work to provide an education that prepares students not only for their first job, but also for their fifth and fifteenth. Coupled with our undergraduate and graduate core curricula are majors and concentrations that ready our students for the here and now, as well as the beyond. It is the combination of the timeless with the contemporary, a combination that is especially evident in the ways in which the sciences and business studies are integrated with the humanities, that makes our education one that always matters.
In order for the University of Dallas to achieve its vision, it also needs to establish long-term financial stability. Ultimately, that requires that we make significant strides in advancing the reputation of the university and broadening recognition of its excellence and distinctiveness. Making progress on this theme is essential to higher enrollments, increased engagement and support from current donors, more networks for student and alumni career advancement, and new donors and friends.
There has been an unprecedented decline in emotional and psychological health amongst college-aged students in the past decade. We know there are many causes, including isolation from community, a growing sense that life is meaningless, and a growing lack of integration of the mind, body and spirit. These are causes that the University of Dallas is well poised to correct with its formation in the intellectual, moral and theological virtues, as well as our emphasis on cultivating a resilient and entrepreneurial spirit in our students and alumni. We aim to be a paradigm for an integrated and rich approach to preparing students for lives of meaning and purpose.
The University of Dallas has been recognized in recent years for its academic rigor in its unique combination of classical and contemporary learning and for its Catholicism. These recognitions have been welcome, but too often overlook a central feature that runs deep in the veins of the University of Dallas, its cultivation of the classical virtue of patriotism. The University of Dallas strives to make its students better human beings, and that includes helping them to thrive as members of religious and political communities who dedicate themselves to serving others. We seek to prepare our students for an eternity with God, and for their day and age as active contributors to building a culture of justice and love. Love for America’s founding principles is genuine at the University of Dallas, as is love for God and neighbor, expressed in principles of solidarity and the common good. Our rigorous and faithful curricular and extracurricular emphases prepare students for dual citizenship in both the city of man and the city of God, and make our graduates uniquely prepared to serve in positions of civil, military and professional leadership, and to build up the institutional Church through significant contributions as lay and religious leaders.