Strategic Plan Beyond 2010
In no other realm does human excellence approach so closely the paths of the gods as it does in the founding of new and the preservation of already founded communities. [Marcus Tullius Cicero]
Founded by Methodist pioneers, nurtured by generous friends and loyal alumni, Southwestern University, Texas’ first and best liberal arts college, stands at a most important crossroad. Its vision for the future and the path it must take to follow that vision will comprise the considerate conversation which our constituents must have if we hope to move forward with confidence and commitment. It is now the time to engage our constituents in this crossroad conversation.
As William B. Jones suggests in To Survive and to Excel, this is not the first time our precious University has arrived at an important juncture. Nor will it be the last. What is important to our generation, however, is the answer to this question: What bold new path must we carve out for Southwestern which honors our heritage, reaffirms our core purpose and core values, sets an example for our graduates and other liberal arts colleges, and improves the human condition?
A part of this crossroad conversation will revolve around basic questions:
- Who will we educate?
- How many students will we educate?
- How will we, and they, finance this education?
On the other hand, important philosophical questions will comprise this conversation as well:
- How will we define ‘a liberal arts community’?
- What will be our interpretation of a ‘teacher/scholar model’?
- How does our Methodist identity affect our philosophy of education?
- What decisions about our future will allow us to stay true to our core purpose while also thriving in Texas?
- Which among all of our constituents must we count on to secure the future of our great institution?
- How do we tell the saga of Southwestern in a way that continues to inspire us and others?
The Southwestern story has always been about commitment, advancement, and inspiration. Bill Jones’ book is a testament to this. Therefore, we must be diligent.
The torch is ours to carry at this time. We must do the work necessary to create a new and compelling shared vision for Southwestern’s future.
Very few educational institutions possess the positive possibilities enjoyed by Southwestern University. Beginning now, our crossroad conversation will prepare Southwestern for a bold new venture along our historic journey of commitment, advancement, and inspiration.
Key decisions to be made or reaffirmed as a result of crossroad conversations:
- Size of student body;
- Appropriate mix of academic programs;
- How to finance Southwestern; three income streams (endowment, gifts, tuition) auxiliary and unrelated business income;
- The tuition increase/financial aid dilemma/challenge;
- Definition of the Southwestern teacher/scholar model;
- Academic load for students and faculty;
- Organization of the academic year;
- Clearer definition of the place Southwestern hopes to attain in higher education;
- Role and depth of intercollegiate sports at Southwestern;
- Exploration and definition of the role of Southwestern in the greater Georgetown community, i.e., relationship to Sun City, TLCC, etc.;
- Who attends Southwestern and from where do they come;
- The increasing role of Paideia in defining the Southwestern University education experience;
- Telling the Southwestern University story – advancing the saga; and
- How to craft a future which inspires us while sustaining us.
As we begin these conversations, I look forward to working with you to serve this great and storied University.
Jake B. Schrum