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
  • Tactic Action/Metric Progress

    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 $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.
    • Philanthropic contributions and pledges for current-use and endowed scholarships exceed $3.02 million.

    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

    • 40 students participated in faculty-mentored research in 21-22.
    • Awarded internship funding to 26 students.
    • In 2021-22, 82% of graduates participated in at least one HIE and 32% in at least two.
    • Increased the number of faculty-lead study abroad programs by 2 for Summer 2022
    • Philanthropic contributions and pledges for current-use and endowed high-impact experiences exceed $666,000.
    • Supporting three new community-engaged learning classes in 2021-22.
    Impact Stories
    • SCOPE Program Showcases Faculty-Student Research 

    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

    • Annual philanthropic contributions of $40,000 received to advance teaching, learning, and scholarship within the faculty
    • Anticipated 2022-23

    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

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

    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

    • Proposal are being evaluated, and vendors will host a tasting of their food in early March.
    • Senior leadership, including Athletics, was engaged in a comprehensive Capital Plan that aligned with the Master Plan to create and enhance the campus experience.

    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

    • Student employment survey results were reviewed. A proposal is being written to address pay, centralized opportunities, and professional development for student staff.
    • The I-CORPS program employed 17 students across 15 host offices.

    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

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • 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*
    • 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.
    • The multi-year classroom technology update plan is underway and will include upgrading and improving at least five educational spaces in 2022-23.

    Provide more opportunities for staff to enhance their professional skills portfolios

    Establish Staff Steering continuing education budget

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • A NetVUE grant was secured for $10,000 to support staff professional development on the topic of Life Design.
    • A Staff Training and Professional Development Fund was established in February 2021 with an annual budget of $5,000.

    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

    • Projects are still in the planning and design phase

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

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

    • Philanthropic contributions and pledges received to support the renovation of Mood-Bridwell Hall exceed $10.5 million.

    Enhance the Southwestern University Student Emergency Fund

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

    • *Complete/Maintaining*
    • Donations of $53,677 were added to the SU Emergency Scholarship Fund and $112,121 was awarded to students.
    • Donations of approximately $69,132 were added to the SU Student Emergency fund and $126,446 was awarded to students.

    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 for hourly staff was increased to $13/hour.
    Tactic Action/Metric Progress
  • Tactic Action/Metric Progress

    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

    • The coordinator is assessing current institutional policies to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.
    • The coordinator is creating educational materials and planning training for 2022-23.
    • 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

    • Anticipated 2022-23.

    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

    • An Assistant Director for Outdoor Recreation has been hired.
    • SIRA will offer several outdoor trips during Fall 2022. Including to Bracken Bat Cave, the LCRA Survival Program, and Rock Climbing at Reimers Ranch.

    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
    Tactic Action/Metric Progress
  • Tactic Action/Metric Progress

    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

    • Conducted focus groups with current Southwestern students in Fall 2021 to gauge their perception of Southwestern’s brand and reputation.
    • Over Summer 2022, engaged Board of Trustee members in conversations about their perception of the university’s brand and reputation.
    • Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Public Relations firm posted July 2021

    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

    • Joined Excelencia in Education’s Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) program.
    • The Fall 2022 student population is projected to remain above 25% Hispanic.

    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

    • 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

    • 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*
    • Annual monitoring of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) salary report completed for 2021
    • Biannual faculty salary study completed in summer 2021
    • Recommendations have been made to increase faculty salaries to better align with the AAUP benchmark targets and to be more competitive. These increases will be included in the FY 2022-2023 Proposed Operating Budget and future budget years.

    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



    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    • 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

    • A full-time landscape architect was hired to create a landscaping master plan. A 5-Year Major Maintenance Plan was developed.
    • An annual cycle of ADA maintenance projects has been included in the budget

    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

    • Collected and shared 50 alumni stories regarding life after graduating from Southwestern.
    • Developed and published an inventory of career-related volunteer opportunities for alumni.
    • Redesigning the Alumni Association’s local chapter model to focus on chapter events, employer relations, philanthropy, and student retention.
    Tactic Action/Metric Progress