Tactical Plan

Priorities, Tactics, and Metrics

The Tactical Plan in Action

The Tactical Plan is making an impact on campus with projects like the new outdoor basketball court (completed November 2021). 

Core Themes
  • Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity (DIBE)
  • Retention
  • Program Development
  • Physical and Technological Infrastructure
  • Competitive Compensation
  • TacticAction/MetricProgress

    Decrease student indebtedness overall, an offshoot of which will be narrowing the gap between the demonstrated financial need of our students and the available financial aid

    Remain below the current national average ($33,700) for student debt; maintain and continue to reduce the current (19-20) $31,832 Southwestern average for total indebtedness; increase need-based student scholarship amounts

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Average indebtedness for 2021-22 Southwestern graduates is $29,738.
    • Implemented Student Success Scholarships for Fall 2023 that assist students who are in financial need and who are performing well in the classroom and on campus.
    • Philanthropic contributions and pledges for current-use and endowed scholarships exceed $7 million during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

    Increase funding and improve advising to ensure that all students have access to two High Impact Experiences (HIEs): Study Away/Abroad, Paid and Unpaid Internships, Faculty-Student Research, Community Engaged Learning

    After analyzing existing patterns more fully and determining costs, enhance funding/access and guidance of students to HIEs, to increase from 2020–21 totals — 86% of graduating students have one HIE and 42% have two, to 100% of graduating students have two HIEs

    • Currently reviewing and streamlining the academic internship process using the HireSU platform.
    • Hired new Director of Academic and Funded Internships in Spring 2023, a position focused on providing clear pathways for internships.
    • In 2022-23, 78% of graduates participated in at least one HIE and 31% in at least two.
    • Philanthropic contributions and pledges for current-use and endowed high-impact experiences exceed $507,000 during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
    • Sixty students worked with eighteen faculty on summer research projects.
    • Summer 2023 study abroad had 113 students participate, and 29 students will study abroad in Fall 2023.
    • The Spring Internship & Career Fair featured 38 employers and 226 students in attendance - the biggest fair at Southwestern yet. Employers recruited for internships which students could pursue for academic credit.
    • Three new community-engaged learning classes offered in 2022-2023.

    Develop a new academic advising program that starts with first-year professional advisors and transitions to faculty/staff advisors

    Hire six professional first-year advisors and provide program support

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Six professional academic advisors were hired and started at Southwestern on June 1, 2021
    • To transition from first-year professional advisors to faculty advisors, students will be individually matched with faculty advisors throughout the summer in order for the faculty-student advising relationship to begin in the fall of their sophomore year

    Provide material and professional development funding for advisors in support of the advising program

    Develop a more proactive advising program that trains both professional advisors and faculty/staff academic advisors, including a new Student Relationship Management system

    • Nuro Retention has been selected as the new student case management system.
    • Professional development for staff and faculty advisors as well as Nuro training will be offered in August 2022.

    Develop inclusive teaching certificate program

    Support up to eight faculty per year in the inclusive teaching certificate program housed in the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CTLS) and led by the new diversity and inclusive pedagogy specialist

    • Anticipated 2022-23
    • Final pledged philanthropic contributions for current-use and endowed funds received in June 2022. Future funding to advance teaching, learning, and scholarship within the faculty will come from endowment withdrawals and new current-use contributions.

    Fund student and faculty research to document Southwestern’s commitment to a more inclusive University history

    Encourage ongoing documentation projects and develop new ones; establish a document archive as well as a web-based history

    • Philanthropic contributions received regularly to support student/faculty research
    • SCOPE (Summer Collaborative Opportunities and Experiences) undergraduate research project funded
    • “Reframing the Institutional Saga” Grant received from NetVUE for $40,000

    Fund initiatives in the Campus Master Plan designed to create a vibrant campus experience

    Build student life amenities such as an outdoor pool, outdoor basketball court, outdoor art studio, outdoor amphitheater for films, concerts

    • $5 million pledge received to support Campus Master Plan during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
    • Bishops’ Lounge and Commons were renovated and refurbished during the summer of 2023.
    • Designs of new first-year hall, 2nd-year hall, welcome center, and outdoor amenities are in progress with architect.
    • New outdoor basketball court and sand volleyball pit constructed at residence halls Summer 2023.
    • Pickle ball Courts scheduled construction Summer 2024.

    Create a more robust student training and employment program

    Analyze current wage structure and make appropriate increases to student wages through benchmarking positions with Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Consortium; review and strengthen student employment hiring and training programs

    • HR is in the process of internal benchmarking for student jobs.
    • Plans include developing high-level job descriptions for all student jobs, a defensible pay structure based on jobs, an supervisory guide for managers (including faculty managers) hiring students and an expectations guide for student workers.
    • The compensation package for Resident Assistants was increased and approved for 2023-2024.
    • The I-CORPS program concluded with 10 students having completed campus positions through the Spring 2023 semester, with most beginning their positions in the Fall 2022 semester. An additional 16 students were awarded Summer 2023 funding to supplement thei
    • The student Employment Committee is working to develop a project plan with milestones.

    Institutionalize Mosaic, Southwestern’s approach to encourage the development of the whole person

    Secure more permanent funding to support events, the residential experience, and mini-grants for students

    • A brand new MOSAIC program is being launched in the 23-24 academic year and will serve First-Year and Sophomore students in tracking their co-curricular experiences.
    • Philanthropic contributions of $130,000 are committed annually through Fiscal Year 2023



    Develop a Technology Master Plan to update technological infrastructure, classroom tech, university-wide software, and department-specific software

    Hire consultant and develop the IT Master Plan; IT Master Plan will include a review of current infrastructure and software purchases, such as advising software, and system redundancy

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • A consultant was hired and has completed a Current State Analysis of Information Technology (IT) in August of 2021. Assessment reviewed current infrastructure, software, system redundancy, and included an ITS 5-year pro forma with budget recommendations.
    • Completed classroom technology comprehensive assessment with upgrade plan and lifecycle replacement plan. Completed audio-visual upgrades in 4 classrooms with 4 additional classrooms scheduled for upgrade in spring of 2024.
    • Implementing redundant network paths, moving software engineering capabilities to cloud platforms and expanding administrative applications to enhance business continuity capabilities.
    • Software procurement has been centralized to provide more visibility and strengthen understanding of software availability.
    • Student Technology Fee. A new student technology fee was approved and will go into effect in fiscal year 2023/2024. The new fee will be used in support of projects directly impacting students.

    Provide more opportunities for staff to enhance their professional skills portfolios

    Establish Staff Steering continuing education budget

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • A Staff Training and Professional Development Fund was established in February 2021 with an annual budget of $5,000.
    • More than 40 staff members participated in a year-long professional development working group to learn more about the concept of Life Design and how they can incorporate Life Design in their work with students.

    Implement the first phase of Housing & Amenities Projects in the Campus Master Plan to support move to a three-year residency requirement

    Include sustainability values in constructing mixed-use first-year housing to replace two residence halls and increase physical plant capacity

    • Construction of 1st-year hall, 2nd-year hall, & Welcome Center planned for May 2023 - August 2025.
    • Renovated Mabee Hall Summer 2022.

    Provide improved faculty office space and classrooms in Mood-Bridwell Hall

    Implement major renovation plans for buildings identified in the Campus Master Plan

    • Mood-Bridwell renovation includes 5 classrooms, 54 offices, and other amenities. Construction May 2023 through August 2024.
    • Philanthropic contributions and pledges received to support the renovation of Mood-Bridwell Hall exceed $11 million.

    Enhance the Southwestern University Student Emergency Fund

    Distribute funds in response to student applications for support when emergencies arise

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Cumulatively, donations of $119,350 have been added to the SU Emergency Fund and $180,513 has been awarded to students.
    • Cumulatively, donations of $84,077 have been added to the SU Emergency Scholarship Fund and $130,082 has been awarded to students.
    • The Student Philanthropy Council held an event to educate first-year students on the emergency fund.

    Increase wages for non-exempt (hourly) staff

    Start moving the lowest-paid staff from $11.00 to a $14.00 minimum and perform a wage regression study for additional adjustments

    • The first phase of equity increases are targeted for July 1, 2023.
    • The minimum wage increased to $14.50 an hour effective July 1, 2023.
  • TacticAction/MetricProgress

    Build Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity (DIBE) efforts into into the structure and processes of Human Resources

    Hire a Title IX coordinator who will provide ongoing educational opportunities for faculty and staff; develop additional hiring and retention policies and programs within HR

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • A campus climate survey related to related to student perceptions about reporting issues of sexual violence and the prevalence of sexual violence on campus, was administered in 22-23 and preliminary results have been shared with a committee to review.
    • Policies concerning accommodations for staff with disabilities was added to the Human Resources website
    • Sexual harassment policies have been consolidated and updated into one Policy Prohibiting Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
    • Southwestern’s Nondiscrimination statement has been updated and is now present consistently in materials across campus.
    • The Coordinator has completed in-person training for approximately 1,300 attendees including: eight departments on campus, all student-athletes, all new-students, and two student organizations.
    • The University hired a full-time Title IX Coordinator in May 2022.

    Build DIBE efforts into the structure and processes of Student Life

    Hire a Diversity Education Coordinator

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Coordinator of Student Inclusion and Diversity hired on January 4, 2023.

    Increase support for student activities and wellness

    Reinstate an Assistant Director for Outdoor Recreation, 10-12 outdoor trips per year with travel outside of the Austin area and overnight camping; high-impact Fall Break and Spring Break trips for Southwestern students

    • Activities planned for Spring 2023 include: caving trip to Whirlpool Cave and a weekend camping trip to the Texas Outdoor Leadership Conference hosted by the University of Houston, climbing Guadalupe Peak, Kayaking the San Marcos River and Kayaking and Ra
    • An Assistant Director for Outdoor Recreation has been hired.
    • As of March 1, 2023 eight outdoor trips have been conducted.
    • Hired a Coordinator for Outdoor Adventure to begin August 1, 2023.

    Build DIBE efforts into the structure and processes of Academic Affairs

    Hire a Diversity and Inclusion Pedagogy Specialist

    • Anticipated 2022-23

    Support faculty in grant identification and application

    Reinstate a Faculty Grants and Sponsored Programs Coordinator

    • Anticipated 2022-23
  • TacticAction/MetricProgress

    Rise in rankings and increase national recognition of institutional excellence

    Monitor ranking guides for improvement; communicate the many attributes of the University on a continuous and strategic basis

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Implemented quarterly email newsletter from President Trombley to Presidents of US News & World Report Top 100 liberal arts colleges.
    • Marketing & Communication continues to monitor media placements of our faculty and staff to increase national recognition.

    Better define Southwestern’s distinctive identity as an innovative national liberal arts university anchored in the Southwest while being focused on the Paideia principle of connecting students to interdisciplinary knowledge, to each other, and to the world

    Convene a group of stakeholders to clarify, define, and brand Southwestern; work with Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD), University Relations, and Marketing & Communications to strengthen our connections to Austin as a vibrant cultural and economic location; connect to internationalizing efforts

    • A monthly email communication was developed and mailed to all email addresses on record in Williamson County to encourage local residents to attend SU events and activities.
    • A web page, The University in your Backyard, was developed to provide local residents with information on how to become engaged with the SU community.
    • The College Town Committee was reinvigorated to enhance the relationship between Southwestern University and the greater Georgetown community. 27 community partners joined the Committee for the 2022-2023 year.
    • The first Employer Recruiting Summit took place. A total of 22 employer representatives attended from Austin, Georgetown, and San Antonio participated, learning about upcoming opportunities to recruit SU students and to engaged in professional development

    Pursue Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation

    Maintain a Hispanic student population of minimum 25%; convene a group of stakeholders tasked with developing necessary programmatic support required to achieve and sustain HSI designation

    • Fall 2022 Hispanic population is 26.3%
    • Five students attended the Hispanic Association of Colleges and University’s 36th Annual Conference: Adelante Leadership Institute on October 8-10, 2022
    • Joined Excelencia in Education’s Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) program.
    • Spanish interpretation was made available at Commencement Convocation and Sprog orientation for our Spanish-speaking family members.

    Further internationalize the focus of our students’ experiences

    Review current cost structure for study abroad and study away to increase participation and affordability; at minimum move from 28% to 35% of Southwestern students, with increased participation by first-generation, students of color, and male students

    • Modeling indicate that a home-tuition study abroad model could work and a pilot program is being developed.
    • Of the 2022-23 graduates, 20% participated in study abroad/away and participation by first-generation students, students of color, and male students increased from 21-22 graduates.
    • Study abroad scholarships distributed for 2022-23: $297,799
    • Study abroad scholarships distributed in 2021-22: $245,345

    Improve and strengthen our student tutoring offerings

    Review and expand current tutoring programs and develop a more comprehensive approach for all student learning styles

    • A new pledge of $250,000-$300,000 to fund the establishment of a centralized Tutoring Center and program is being finalized in July 2023.
    • Received a gift of $50,000 to support tutoring
    • The Tutoring Development Specialist researched other school’s tutoring systems and surveyed Southwestern students. Their work has resulted in a proposal which will be shared with stakeholders in the fall.

    Develop more competitive faculty compensation with an annual analysis of salary trend resources, including Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

    Maintain current biannual salary study and overall budgeted salary increases; continue to offer appropriate market rate salaries to recruit assistant professors

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Biannual faculty salary study completed in summer 2021
    • For fiscal year 2023, faculty starting salaries were increased for each rank ($3,000 for Professors, $6,000 for Associates, and $5,000 for Assistants)
    • Monitor the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) salary report. Expect to reach target of salaries above the 60th percentile by fiscal year 2025.

    Maintain a strong student-to-faculty ratio by continuing to hire faculty as student enrollment and retention grow

    Maintain the current 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio and make progress toward an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Hired six tenure-track faculty for the 2021-2022 academic year
    • Hiring eight new faculty in the 2022-23 academic year.

    Encourage faculty retention through cluster hires, particularly for faculty of color

    Implement a cluster hire option in the Faculty Allocation Process

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Awarding lines in English, Political Science, History and Feminist Studies to the Race, Ethnicity and Social Justice hire in Black and Latinx Studies.
    • Thematic hire initiative implemented in fall 2021

    Institutionalize current model of Paideia

    Future funding will enhance and expand the opportunities for students to engage in various Paideia experiences

    • Awarded $100,000 awarded in Paideia study abroad scholarships.
    • Developing a proposal for a Mellon grant to increase funding for HIEs and interdisciplinary paideia minors.
    • Three Paideia Seminars were offered across the 2022-2023 academic year, with a further three planned for each subsequent year.



    Create more spaces of belonging on campus for student groups

    Prioritize creation of these spaces in existing buildings as available and include them in the Campus Master Plan

    • The counseling center, with members of the student body, created a support group for students who identify as trans, non-binary, or gender non-confirming.
    • The Office of Diversity and Education and the Cross-Cultural Center are merging into the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Center in the McCombs Campus Center. Discussion on the expansion of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Cen

    Expand the options in food services to be more intentional and inclusive of diverse food cultures, more sustainable, higher quality, and more welcoming to all students

    Survey students, staff, and faculty in spring 2021; initiate Request for Proposals for food service operator fall 2021; complete food service contract process by summer 2022

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Food contract consultant hired June 2021

    Develop DIBE professional development programs for staff and faculty

    Currently participating in the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA); we will include staff and faculty in programming and develop stronger support for DIBE in hiring and training policies and procedures

    • 3-year membership in LACRELA
    • Initiated training for staff search committees with general recruitment information, including labor and employment regulations and diversity.
    • The Title IX Coordinator is working with HR to introduce mandatory annual Sexual Violence Prevention training for all employees, as well as Diversity and Inclusion Education into employee on-boarding and annual training.

    Ensure that all staffing requests and hiring decisions for the next five years focus on achieving the Tactical Plan’s two most central targeted priorities: DIBE and Retention

    Establish hiring policies and procedures throughout the University that prioritize DIBE and retention objectives as part of candidates’ qualifications in addition to expertise and credentials

    • Faculty and staff advertisements will have language focused on DIBE. In addition, search committees will take diversity and anti-discrimination training as a part of the overall training about how to conduct a successful search.
    • HR has begun to collect voluntary pre-employment data, applicants who self-identify as a minority or veteran will be flagged for special review.

    Develop more competitive exempt staff compensation metrics

    Maintain annual salary increases for exempt employees; determine benchmarks and do an internal salary study to ensure that staff compensation is competitive

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • HR completed a compensation analysis that identified positions’ salary ranges. 93% of positions are within 90% of their target.
    • HR is identifying additional sources of data to provide more depth to the salary analysis, such as EduComp.
    • The first phase of the Exempt Salary Study allocations was completed July 1, 2022. Phase two is targeted for July 1, 2023. The salary study data will be updated prior to July 1, 2023.

    Ensure that campus buildings and grounds are in good repair and accessible, and for new construction consider accommodations beyond compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

    Include accessibility audit and repairs into annual maintenance budgets and practices; prioritize accessibility in Campus Master Plan for renovations and new building projects

    • All new construction and renovation projects will meet or exceed ADA/TAS standards.
    • Planned hiring of Texas Accessibility Standards consultant to audit the University for current status and recommendations to maintain and improve accessibility across the campus.

    Increase alumni involvement and alumni inclusion efforts

    University Relations will work with Alumni Council and local chapters to better integrate alumni into the University community

    • A new local chapter event menu was introduced to alumni officers to increase events in these regions.
    • Developed and published an inventory of career-related volunteer opportunities for alumni.
    • The Southwestern University Alumni Council conducted phase 2 and 3 of its program review of programs and initiatives, which included a benchmarking study and eight focus groups. The data will be analyzed during the 23-24 year.