President Julie Sullivan hosted a discussion about possible changes to St. Thomas’ vision statement with faculty, staff and students Monday during her fourth brown bag luncheon.
Sullivan said she felt it was time to update the vision statement to better represent the university’s aspirations.
“I think as you go into strategic planning, often you write completely new vision, mission and core value statements,” Sullivan said. “I certainly didn’t think we needed to start from scratch … but I thought we had to take the time to consider updating our vision statement.”
The current statement, created in 2004, states “We seek to be a recognized leader in Catholic higher education that excels in effective teaching, active learning, scholarly research and responsible engagement with the local community as well as with the national and global communities in which we live.”
Attendants discussed three drafts of new statements during the luncheon and then put them to an unofficial vote.
The drafts read as follows:
“The University of St. Thomas, a recognized national leader in Catholic higher education, will prepare students for the complexities of the 21st century through interdisciplinary and multicultural inquiries that inspire them for leadership, work and service vital to the betterment of local and global communities,”
“Integrating Catholic social thought with the liberal arts, the University of St. Thomas will be recognized as a national leader in Catholic higher education. It will provide excellence and innovation in teaching, research and learning that leads to the formation of ethical and engaged citizens who will create a better world,” and
“Educating students for the complexities of the 21st century through interdisciplinary and multicultural inquiry, the University of St. Thomas will be known nationally in Catholic higher education for excellence and innovation in teaching, research and learning, leading to the transformation of lives, communities and society.”
A team picked from Sullivan’s cabinet drafted the three options over several months. The group included: Doug Hennes from University Relations and Susan Alexander, the executive assistant to the president, as co-chairs, as well as Jane Canney, Corrine Carvalho, Michael Cogan, Mari Ann Graham, Sara Gross Methner, Terry Langan, Mark Neuzil and Rob Vischer. The group had its first meeting in September and has had several meetings since then.
“At one point, I think we were pushing 20 different ideas,” Hennes said. “We boiled them down to three draft vision statements.”
Hennes said the group aimed to include different ideas in all three drafts.
“We wanted different ideas, different thoughts, different words in each of the statements to see if one resonated better with people in the community than the other,” Hennes said.
After the unofficial vote taken at the luncheon, 35 people favored the first draft statement, 19 chose the second, and 33 picked the third. Hennes and Sullivan said the group hopes it will decide on a statement by 2014.
“Hopefully (we’ll) finalize and updated vision statement that will help guide our strategic planning process,” Sullivan said.
Grace Pastoor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.