To 2022: Inclusive, Innovative, Invested
Three strategic goals that arise from Cal Lutheran’s identity, mission and core values will be emphasized through 2022.
Goal: As a community committed to inclusion and excellence, to reflect the demographic composition of the state of California.
Setting our diversity targets to approximate those of the state of California provides clarity and is consistent with our “first name.” Cal Lutheran is a Hispanic-Serving Institution as well as one that is faith-based and committed to inclusiveness and interfaith dialogue. These commitments are firmly grounded in the values of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Although progress has been made, Cal Lutheran’s campus culture must be more inclusive and equitable in order to enhance education for all students. For Cal Lutheran, that means a commitment to diversities of race, class, culture, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, politics, and physical or mental impairment/limitations. Special attention will be paid to three areas: equity in recruitment and retention of faculty/staff of color; being a Hispanic-Serving Institution; and internationalizing the institution.
For more than a year, an “Evidence Team” formed by the Provost and members of the faculty has worked with the University of Southern California’s Center for Urban Education (CUE). The CUE staff and the Cal Lutheran Evidence Team crafted a vision for greater equity for faculty of color, with an emphasis on improvements in the search and hiring processes.
Equity and access will be crucial components in Cal Lutheran’s transformation into an authentically Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Cal Lutheran received its HSI designation from the U.S. Department of Education more than one year ago, and subsequently received approximately $6.1 million in federal HSI Title III grant funds. To capitalize fully on these positive steps and respond to the needs of a changing student body, the university needs to undergo considerable transformation.
A third crucial area in making Cal Lutheran more inclusive is to increase the pace of our internationalization efforts. As an institution that educates leaders for a global society, we are committed to increasing the number of students studying abroad, promoting international learning and study abroad in the curriculum, generating international exchange opportunities, integrating and assessing cross-cultural competency in the curriculum and co-curriculum, and expanding recruitment of students to new regions.
Goal: As a community of educators that develops programs for current and potential students, to foster a culture of innovation.
In the competitive world of higher education, it is important that Cal Lutheran continue to explore new programs and revise existing ones. Programs that draw together different disciplines, or multiple schools and colleges, or several administrative divisions, should be given special encouragement.
Understanding “innovation” in its broadest sense, the university is committed to facilitating the introduction of new ideas, programs and methods. Some will be new to Cal Lutheran; others will be new in our markets. Therefore, Cal Lutheran will become more welcoming to those who want to innovate by providing:
- A clear process for developing new programs
- Incentives to encourage innovation
- Investments in new programs
- Investments in existing programs being revised
- Clear guidelines by which unsuccessful new programs are ended
Among the goals of academic program development are increased cross-disciplinary and dual-degree opportunities, including those that offer seamless transitions between the undergraduate and graduate programs. An example is the “4+1” approach facilitating the completion of an undergraduate degree and a specified master’s degree in five years.
Goal: As a community committed to the future, to complete the physical master plan of the main campus, to enhance off-campus centers, and to increase the endowment.
Cal Lutheran will make significant investments in the physical plant to provide teaching and learning spaces across all disciplines and to meet our Second Nature goals for carbon neutrality and resilience.
Cal Lutheran’s Science Initiative Campaign aims to increase faculty and student access to innovative teaching and research by providing a state-of-the-art facility akin to what has come to characterize the sciences on campuses nationwide.
Purpose-built space for the Music and Theatre Arts departments are vital to our visibility in and relationship with our community.
The School of Management, while needing to remain visible in multiple locations to maintain connections to the business community, will benefit from a main building on the Thousand Oaks campus that brings together its scattered offices.
The university needs to update the campus master plan to account for changes, current and planned, in our uses of space. These include anticipated future housing needs for students as well as faculty and staff members.
Along with the critical need to raise funds for major capital projects, attention must be paid to increasing the endowment in order to provide more scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, fund faculty chairs, invest in sustainability leadership and capital upgrades, and underwrite key initiatives such as faculty-student research across the disciplines.
An aspirational benchmark holds that an institution’s endowment should be three times the size of its annual operating budget. For Cal Lutheran, that would mean more than tripling the size of the endowment, a goal that will not be reached in the term of this strategic plan. Still, even with the continuing emphasis on capital projects, the next years should see steps taken to close that gap.