Heading Into a New Decade

Notre Dame’s 5-year Strategic Plan: 2009 – 2014


Notre Dame College finds itself on the cusp of major decisions. Having experienced record growth over the past six years, the College can only secure its future by continuing on that path.

But why? Why grow even more?

The answer is the same today what it was in 1922, when the Sisters of Notre Dame founded the College. It is to provide a mission-focused, values-based, private Catholic education to students who might otherwise not have access to such an experience. It is to be faithful to the College’s Catholic heritage and identity. It is to be faithful to the charisma of the Sisters of Notre Dame, who sought to provide a student-centered education characterized by excellence.Heading Into a New Decade

The College’s vision is to continue its “voyage of discovery,” seeking to become an exceptional Catholic, comprehensive college in the Great Lakes Region. As it establishes itself, its future and its place in the educational galaxy of Northeastern Ohio, NDC affirms its commitment to the Sisters’ vision of educational excellence characterized by respect for the whole student and students’ needs to achieve a sense of self-discipline within which they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

The College seeks to provide students with an education that not only prepares them for the immediate world of work, but also provides the skills and knowledge enabling them to adapt to changing conditions and to assume leadership positions within their communities. The specific nature of that education which best prepares one for such a life is a liberal arts education. As it moves forward, Notre Dame College affirms its historic commitment to an education anchored in the liberal arts through a revitalized common curriculum and the pursuit of excellence in its academic disciplines.

The College seeks to educate students not only for professional competence, not only to be able to earn their living, but also to earn their living by doing good work. “Good work” is work fulfilling the College’s mission to educate for “personal, professional and global responsibility.” It is work characterized by excellence – that is, one does what one does well. It is work that is ethical and socially responsible – at Notre Dame that means acquiring an understanding and commitment to Catholic social teaching. It is work that is engaging and enjoyable – work one enjoys doing because it engages all of one’s self.


By 2013 Notre Dame College seeks approximately 1,300 full-time traditional students on its campus, of whom 700 would reside on campus. In addition, it seeks to build its non-traditional enrollment to more than 1,250 part-time and adult students, of whom 500 are online students, and its graduate student enrollment to more than 550, of whom 250 are online students. Online enrollment should grow to 750 FTE by fall 2013. These 3,100 students will secure the College’s future.

As it approaches its second century of service to Cleveland, Northeastern Ohio, the nation and the world, the College’s successful completion of its “voyage of discovery” will be characterized by:

  1. Mission Fidelity – an institution where it is obvious the mission is engrained in all the College does.
  2. Educational Excellence – an institution that seriously seeks to provide high quality learning experiences for its students facilitated by faculty engaged with their students in mutual voyages of academic and personal discovery.
  3. Graduates – an institution whose alumni blend professional competence with social responsibility by demonstrating excellence in their professional lives and a commitment to personal responsibility in the lives of their families, community and Church.
  4. Financial Stability – an institution based upon prudent budgets, stable enrollments, successful fund-raising and wise stewardship of its endowment and other assets. 

Planning ProcessHeading Into a New Decade

This strategic initiative is the result of the work of numerous individuals and groups since the departure of the Higher Learning Visiting Team in March 2007. Since that time, in the academic year 2007/2008, the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC) began the work to translate the Self Study’s “Strategic Thinking” document into the action plan that follows below. The IPPC gave way to strategic work by the President’s Council resulting in a draft document that was then reviewed by the faculty, students, Sisters of Notre Dame and the Board of Directors during the academic year 2008/2009. The plan, in the broad strokes delineated below, was approved by the Board of Directors at their June 2009 meeting.

Subsequently, action steps have been implemented to bring the plan to life – e.g. the Abrahamic Center referenced in Strategic Objective #3 has been established, a Director of Online Learning has been hired to implement Strategic Objective #4, the Faculty Senate through its Educational Policy and Planning Committee has begun work on a revision of the core curriculum and the establishment of an Honors Program, and the Enrollment Office has been tasked with establishing a comprehensive retention program. In addition, the President’s Council will continue to revisit the Strategic Plan to determine the proper prioritization of objectives, to ascertain progress on the various objectives and to revise the plan as necessary. In all, it has been and continues to be a comprehensive project involving all of the College’s constituencies.

Strategic Objectives Overview

  1. To build a College focused on mission fidelity.
  2. To create a “distinctive” Notre Dame College education that synthesizes academic and student development programming into a unified experience.
  3. Inherent in creating a “distinctive” Notre Dame College educational experience, the College will build the Tolerance Resource Center into a regional asset.
  4. The College will build upon its historic success in innovative program development and delivery to provide high quality, accessible and affordable educational opportunities through the use of technology.
  5. In order to achieve its mission and academic goals, Notre Dame must build an institution characterized by the wise stewardship of its resources.
  6. To develop community, corporate and public partnerships through an intense focus on community relationships and effective communications.
  7. To create a culture of both academic and administrative assessment and accountability.

The Seven Strategic Objectives

Strategic Objective #1: To build a college focused on mission fidelity.

1.1 Evaluate the College’s identity in light of the Gospel and the role of the College in carrying out the social mission of the Catholic Church.

1.2 Develop programs and activities ensuring that the Notre Dame College administration, faculty and staff possess a clear and substantial sense of the institution’s Catholic identity evident in all aspects of policy, planning, work with and for students.

1.3 Involve all the College’s stakeholders in efforts to value, appreciate and continue the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame, a tradition of clear vision, a tradition of self-giving, a tradition of confidence in God’s loving care and a tradition of excellence in education.

1.4 Reaffirm the importance of diversity at Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, diversity is not only about race or gender, but rather a mission-centric effort to be open, accepting and inclusive of all regardless of race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and differently-abled characteristics.

Strategic Objective #2: To create a “distinctive” Notre Dame education that synthesizes academic and student development programming into a unified experience.

2.1 Build a reputation for academic excellence.

2.2 Implement an assessment plan for all academic and student service programs.

2.3 Create a comprehensive student life/student development program centered on the College’s mission to educate for personal responsibility.

2.4 Strengthen the College’s academic infrastructure to promote student success.

2.5 Recruit, develop, evaluate and retain a properly credentialed faculty to advance the College’s core academic mission.

2.6 Redesign the academic administrative structure of the College to enhance academic program development, faculty development, faculty evaluation and academic advising for all students.

Strategic Objective #3: To build the Tolerance Resource Center into a regional asset.

3.1 Hire a Director of the Tolerance Resource Center no later than summer 2009.

3.2 Create an Advisory Board of members drawn from inside and outside the College Community by fall 2009.

3.3 Continue programming aimed at increasing Catholic-Jewish understanding and respect.

3.4 Develop an “Abrahamic Center” to promote dialog and understanding between the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic communities.

3.5 Develop programming linked to the College’s curriculum.

3.6 Develop programming for the Greater Cleveland community fostering mutual respect among all peoples.

3.7 Seek partnerships and cooperative relationships with other organizations which promote inter-group understanding and respect.

3.8 Seek a $1,000,000 endowment restricted to support of the Tolerance Resource Center and its programs by 2012.

Strategic Objective #4: The College will build upon its historic success in innovative program development and delivery to provide high quality, accessible and affordable educational opportunities through the use of technology.

4.1 Develop a comprehensive online educational program.

4.2 Develop a comprehensive non-traditional academic and professional development program.

4.3 Provide the necessary IT infrastructure to support technology initiatives, to enhance curriculum development and to support ongoing technology initiatives.

4.4 Develop a Center for Technological Literacy to provide just-in-time, on-demand training using a wide variety of technologies and applications.

4.5 Leveraging all of the above initiatives, the College will partner with the City of South Euclid to provide city-wide broadband access to spur the city’s economic development and to extend the College’s programmatic reach.

Strategic Objective #5: In order to achieve its mission, academic and student life goals, the College must wisely steward its student, financial, human and physical resources.

5.1 Attract a student population of sufficient size to ensure the College’s mission and financial viability.

5.2 Recognize that increasing enrollment means both attracting new students and retaining those students already enrolled at Notre Dame College.

5.3 Remain alert to the critical need for budget stability.

5.4 Develop a plan for the strategic management and utilization of debt as a capital resource.

5.5 Build a comprehensive institutional development program focused on friend-raising and fund-raising.

5.6 Develop an ongoing plan for the management of the College’s endowment.

5.7 Develop an operating model that links staff job requirements to program success factors, resource allocations and enrollment growth.

5.8 Acquire or build appropriate physical resources and facilities to accomplish the College’s mission.

5.9 Develop a “land bank” to fund the purchase of neighboring property, including houses, empty land and other facilities both within and outside the City of South Euclid.

Strategic Objective #6: To develop community, corporate and public partnerships through an intense focus on community relationships and effective communications.

6.1 Create an “Office of Community Relations.”

6.2 Create an “Office of Communications” responsible for all college communications.

Strategic Objective #7: Create a culture of both academic and administrative assessment and accountability.

7.1 Ensure that the goals and objectives of all departments and offices are outcomes-based, specific and measurable.

7.2 Ensure that all departments/offices measure their performance against their defined objectives and that the results are incorporated into the budgeting & planning process.

7.3 Ensure that assessment progress is being made that specifically supports our accreditation requirements.

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E.g., 06/22/19