Strategic Plan Overview

Think Boldly. Act Decisively.

In the fall of 2013 Samford University commenced work on creating a plan to guide the University over the next decade and beyond. Over the course of the next year, we conducted hundreds of hours of interviews, surveyed thousands of stakeholders, and engaged all corners of the university community.

From students and faculty, from alumni and parents, from trustees and supporters alike, the message was clear: think boldly, act decisively. With discipline and great care, we keep this mission clearly in mind.

In December 2014 the Samford University Board of Trustees approved Planting Trees – The Strategic Plan of Samford University.

A Samford Distinctive

Why does Samford place so much emphasis on strategy? The short answer is that – more than any other time in our history --higher education in general, and Samford University specifically, face an unparalleled array of opportunities presenting themselves at an unprecedented pace. We seek to be considered in thought and intentional in action.

Most strategic plans are stagnant documents filled with lofty statements, few specifics and no deadlines. At Samford University, this is not the case. Unlike traditional plans, we have created an evolutionary document. Our plan seeks to be uncommonly anticipatory. We have defined guideposts while providing agility not usually associated with educational institutions. Beyond what you will find here, Samford’s plan is exceedingly specific. Every initiative has defined, quantifiable goals and deadlines. Each initiative’s priority is established by weighing its urgency, importance, cost, benefit and complexity. And, the Samford Strategic Plan is flexible: as new opportunities and priorities arise, our plan self-calibrates.

Planting Trees: The Strategic Plan of Samford University

We invite you to review Planting Trees: The Strategic Plan of Samford University. In doing so, we hope you remain as confident in the future of Samford University as we.

  • Emphasize Student Success
  • Enhance Our Community
  • Extend Our Reach
  • Ensure Financial Strength

Emphasize Student Success

In furtherance of the Samford mission, the success of our students includes a commitment that transcends the tenure of our students on campus. We seek to shape our students by nurturing their maturation as young adults; stewarding the development of their faith; preparing them for the world beyond the gates of Samford University; and, following them on their journey through life. We maintain a deep connection so that Samford University remains an integral part of our students’ personal and professional growth.

Create a remarkable environment for teaching and learning.

  • Provide experiential education to all undergraduate students.
  • Enrich external partnerships in support of Samford's Career Development Center.
  • Expand undergraduate, graduate and alumni support in the Career Development Center.
  • Generate best practices report for internships and externships.

Nourish and recruit a faculty and staff committed to exceptional standards for learning.

  • Create faculty reward and recognition systems appropriate to each school.

Design and offer experiences that expand and illuminate traditional learning.

  • Improve opportunities for transfer students to attend Samford.
  • Integrate on-line offerings into residential curriculum.
  • Identify the essential elements of curricular and program success for focused time-frame offerings.
  • Administer an annual survey of Samford students, faculty and program directors to optimize schedules and identify conflicts.

Attain extraordinary goals for retention, graduation and placement.

  • Clearly articulate learning outcomes by degree program.
  • Achieve extraordinary levels of academic success among all athletic teams.
  • Maintain a championship attitude in athletics.
  • Develop an empirically based model to identify retention and student success factors.
  • Implement an Honor Code system as an outgrowth of an SGA-sponsored initiative.
  • Expand early intervention strategies capturing academic and student life.
  • Track and report annual retention rates and strategies by school.

Enhance Our Community

The Samford community exists on campus, around the globe and across generations. We aspire to provide a sense of inclusion and nurture, regardless of location or span of time. Samford seeks to maintain and grow the physical campus with a keen eye to its remarkable aesthetics and safe environment; engender intellectual curiosity; provide programs that develop the mind, body and soul in furtherance our Christian mission; and, invigorate the communities we serve through outreach, participation and a sense of grace. The Samford community includes students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, trustees, advisors, vendors and citizens of the larger communities – real or virtual – we serve.

Offer the love of Christ to all people.

  • Generate new sources of funding for need-based scholarships.
  • Inculcate a sense of diversity consistent with our mission and our call to offer the love of Christ to all.
  • Promote a culture of Christian love while seeking to reconcile inconsistencies in our words and actions.
  • Expand student and employee applicant pools.
  • Enhance student engagement and interaction.

Unite the campus through meaningful student programming.

  • Create community technology hubs.
  • Enhance the interaction of all student athletes with and among all students throughout campus life.
  • Closely coordinate class scheduling and administration.
  • Study and provide recommendations to enhance Samford's Academic Advisors program.
  • Promote innovative curricular offerings while streamlining approval processes.
  • Improve utilization of IT enabled academic support platforms.

Engage employees through communication, development and support.

  • Create and commence a Samford leadership development program.
  • Develop a robust training program to accompany technology and pedagogy investments.
  • Conduct annual assessments of employee learning needs.
  • Promote greater interaction between administration, faculty and staff.

Encourage Samford's role as a convening place for people and ideas.

  • Digitally capture on-campus speakers and provide open access to recordings.
  • Create and promote a Samford speakers bureau.

Extend Our Reach

Samford University is an institution of exceptional academic rigor and focused mission. Samford will extend our reach in four ways: globally; culturally, virtually, and in program breadth. We will grow the University with intentionality, pursuing opportunities vigorously while balancing fiscal prudence, academic integrity, spiritual commitment, and a keen sense of community . We seek an evolutionary mindset that allows the University to embrace change positively, but to do so with deep regard for embedded wisdom.

Pursue creative ways to promote learning for new and existing audiences.

  • Implement an on-line education platform consistent among all schools with standardized infrastructure.

Connect alumni and friends to Samford in unprecedented ways.

  • Nurture and recognize community engagement and servant leadership.
  • Meet and exceed best practices of Alumni Engagement with benchmarked performance.

Expand the borders of the campus through regional, national and international engagement.

  • Increase international student enrollment.
  • Launch the Samford Global Initiative while offering superior support services.
  • Enhance Samford's global study partners network.

Tell the Samford story far and wide.

  • Consolidate admissions functions.
  • Consolidate key student support services into a common location central to campus.
  • Initiate regular strategy conversations among the Samford community.
  • Promote the achievement of Samford students, faculty and staff internally and externally.

Ensure Financial Strength

Samford University unapologetically seeks to be an institution of uncommon financial stability. We believe such stability allows us to achieve ever-higher academic distinction in support of our students, faculty and staff while doing so in an environment of unparalleled beauty and sophistication. We seek to optimize the experience of our current students, faculty and staff while positioning the institution to address the demands and needs of the future.

Achieve planned and disciplined enrollment growth.

  • Expand offerings to non-traditional students.
  • Expand academic program offerings to innovatively address student needs.
  • Improve and expand non-degree program offerings.
  • Implement annual, multi-year enrollment plans in each school.
  • Improve analytics functions adding, where appropriate, forward-looking assessment.

Increase operating margins and endowment through gifts and prudent fiscal management.

  • Increase endowed athletic scholarship funding.
  • Adequately address pension plan liability.
  • Attain an endowment per undergraduate student in excess of $100,000.
  • Attain a Moody's Rating of A1
  • Promote a robust program to secure grant funding.
  • Reduce athletics department dependence on revenues from general operating budget.
  • Launch new capital campaign.
  • Maintain total spending level in the endowment to 5% or less.
  • Design and implement a dashboard metrics system.
  • Identify and track revenue and expenses, including overhead allocations, by academic and business unit. Conduct annual assessment.

Plan, maintain and enhance the physical campus and infrastructure.

  • Monitor strategic acquisitions of adjacent property.
  • Improve campus facilities in support of superior teaching, learning, student life and stewardship.
  • Update and revise Campus Master Plan.
  • Create and implement self-sustaining preventative maintenance program for all campus facilities.

Conserve all resources.

  • Create and implement a quantifiable Sustainability Plan.