I MMA C U L ATA MA G A Z I N E * W I N T E R 2 0 1 5
t a gathering of the Immaculata community on August 28, 2014,
Immaculata President Sister R. Patricia Fadden, IHM, Ed.D., presented the
new Strategic Agenda, “A New Era: Inspired by Vision, Cultivated in Tradition,”
to the University. For many in the room, this marked the beginning of the
implementation of a framework that will define the University’s direction over
the next five years, and build the foundation for Immaculata’s second century.
In actuality, it was the culmination of 14 months of work by dozens of people
across the campus.
In April 2013, twenty-seven members of the Immaculata community
representing the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, administration and students
attended the first meeting of the Strategic Agenda Planning Committee
(SAPC). The full committee was divided into five sub-committees which
were charged with gathering information and assessing Immaculata within a
certain area or topic. The committees gathered data, researched information,
and assessed programs and processes. A primary way that data was collected
was through a series of campus-wide open forums that engaged the entire
community, learning individual perspectives regarding the University’s strengths
and weaknesses. After their assessments, the sub-committees wrote white papers,
which were shared with the University community on each of these five topics:
• Organization/Communication and Faculty/Staff/Administration
• Student Experience
At this stage in the process, a subset of the SAPC formed the Operational
Planning Team (OPT). This team was charged with taking all the information
from the white papers, open forums, and SAPC meetings to build the
Operational Plan. A new component was added at this time, the Financial
Planning Model. The model is a critical component of the Strategic Agenda
because it provides a template for decision making based on financial impact.
As part of the planning process, Immaculata partnered with Stevens Strategy.
This higher education consulting service assisted Immaculata in the past with
the decision to make the College of Undergraduate Studies coeducational, as
well as with the creation of the current three-college structure. Their familiarity
with the University was greatly beneficial, as was their breadth of experience as
demonstrated by their lead consultant Brendan Leonard, who has assisted with
this important process at other institutions.
The Operational Planning Team met for seven full-day sessions over a period
of months to craft the Strategic Agenda. These meetings were characterized by a
true collegial spirit that encouraged questioning the status quo, challenging long-
held processes practiced by the University, and embracing debate to ensure that
the outcome of the process offered Immaculata a path to a bright future.
The Board of Trustees was involved throughout the process, with two
members serving on the SAPC – Maryann Romeo ’67 and Jim Gabriele.
Their participation is representative of the strategic planning process. All
members of the SAPC were encouraged and expected to offer their opinions
on all areas of the University regardless of their area of expertise or function
within the University. This open participation presented new perspectives on
the direction that Immaculata could contemplate pursuing. This openness
resulted in the consideration of some very different options for the University.
However, throughout all of the debate and conversation, what remained
central was the group’s collective commitment to the Immaculata mission
and to the IHM charism.
“A goal without a plan
is just a wish.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery