BOLIVAR — Southwest Baptist University President Eric A. Turner told the University’s Board of Trustees during its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 16, to expect a finalized strategic plan by the October 2019 board meeting.
“Our timeline is ambitious,” Turner said. “But our planning team is ready to get to work. To broadly represent the University, we expanded the planning team to include representation from a cross-section of SBU constituencies. Rather than prescribing a plan and course of action, I want us to develop this together.”
In addition to the Executive Cabinet’s involvement in the planning process, an 11-member Strategic Planning Team has been formed. It includes representatives of faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni and multiple campuses. Further steps include:
Listening sessions: Fall 2018 — University constituents are being asked two primary questions: “What should never change about SBU?” and “What should we change about SBU?”
Data compilation and review sessions: Spring 2019 — Planning Team will review the data and conduct listening sessions with the same constituents to review the emergent themes resulting from the initial data collection.
Mid-term report: April 2019 — Information will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the April 2019 meeting.
Finalized plan: October 2019 — To be submitted to the Board of Trustees in October 2019.
“We are focused on the fundamentals of being good stewards of the people, fiscal, physical and student resources the University is entrusted with,” Turner said. “This is vital in order for us to think and plan toward the next chapter.”
Board action during the meeting included:
• Trustees approved the Sunderland Foundation for induction into the SBU Philanthropy Hall of Fame.
• Trustees set total cost for Bolivar undergraduate students before scholarships and other financial aid for the 2019-20 academic year at $32,330. This represents a $500 tuition increase and $100 board (meals) increase from the 2018-19 academic year. The total 1.9-percent increase is the lowest annual percentage increase since the 1981-82 school year.
• Trustees approved a revision to the employee policies and procedure manual, accepted the FY2017-18 audit and adopted the revised FY 2018-29 budget.
“We have much to do, but our efforts are intended to be looking toward the next chapter of SBU,” Turner said. “Over the past four months, I have spoken often about the sesquicentennial. Our 150th birthday is rapidly approaching in 10 short years. It is my desire for us to embrace the opportunities and respond to the challenges presented to us in order for us to be the exemplar Christian university throughout the Midwest and beyond.”