The Second in an Occasional Series on the University’s Struggles and Successes with Finances
The newest plan from the University to help drive enrollment in the future is the school’s BenU2020 plan. However, there has been some confusion about what the 2020 plan truly is..
BenU2020 is the university’s plan to enhance programs that are doing well and to improve areas that can be bettered according to the University website. The plan consists mainly of five separate parts:
- Improve recruitment and retention effectiveness to increase enrollment.
- Raise the academic profile of the University by assuring excellence in all academic programs.
- Improve organizational management and effectiveness.
- Cultivate talent within our Catholic and Benedictine culture.
- Strengthen financial sustainability.
The first main objective of the plan is to increase enrollment by 20% from the 2015 levels. By doing so, it would bring in more students in order to be able to pay for the improvements intended for Benedictine. Retention rates would be increased by “enhancing academic support, providing co-curricular and experiential learning opportunities and improving engagement,” according to the BenU2020 webpage. The portion of the plan is broken down into five key points in a presentation by Shelia Coffin, “1. Increase recruitment and target enrollment. 2. Improve financial aid. 3. Improve academic support 4. Enrich student engagement 5. Improve career development services 6. Improve facilities”
The second goal focuses on addressing enhancing the academic programs of Benedictine.
“Each program will integrate high-impact learning techniques and a learner-focused approach, and incorporate Benedictine values,” the webpage stated.
The University hopes to achieve this by implementing high impact learning techniques, inserting Benedictine values into the curriculum, and developing a strategic program that responds to mission, quality and stakeholder (students, alumni, parents, employers and graduate schools) needs according to the Coffin presentation.
The third goal of the BenU2020 plan is to improve organizational management and effectiveness. “To produce greater student and employee satisfaction, improved program performance, and regional and national recognition for best practices as a Catholic university thought leader,” stated the third expected outcome on the webpage. This will be executed by enhancing performance management, assessment and organizational excellence, improving operational effectiveness by reworking or eliminating poorly performing administrative or academic programs, improving technology systems, processes and support and defining, collect and enable better data access and reporting according to the presentation given by Coffin.
The fourth goal focuses on the culture enrichment of Benedictine. The University will execute this by increasing faculty to student interaction, improving staff satisfaction and effectiveness and embedding the Catholic and Benedictine mission and identity into the culture of the University according to the presentation. “This values-driven focus will enhance and enrich the culture of the University,” stated the University’s 2020 webpage.
The final goal of the plan is very straightforward and focuses on sustaining and enhance the financial status of the university. “Operating budgets returning margin revenue to endowments that support scholarship and facilities,” the plan states. The University will try to reach this goal through increasing revenue and operating margin, increasing non-tuition operating revenues, grow annual fundraising and maximizing investments in strategic areas according to the presentation by Coffin.
For more information on the BenU2020 plan, visit http://www.ben.edu/university-planning-research/strategic-plan/index.cfm and watch the video below: