Strategic Plan 2019-2025

Aquinas College welcomes you to read Sent to Witness: Aquinas College Strategic Plan 2019-2025 also presented in the Spring 2019 Aquinas Magazine. 

Sent to Witness

Aquinas College Strategic Plan 2019-2025

 

The founding of Aquinas College in 1961 was the realization of a long-held dream of the Dominican
Sisters of St. Cecilia of Nashville, Tennessee: to have a place where the newest members of the
religious community could receive their initial degrees to serve in the community’s teaching
apostolate. Over the years, this fundamental mission has remained, even as the sisters have
continually found ways to be of service to the educational and catechetical needs of the Nashville
community and beyond.

In the fall of 2017, Aquinas College embarked on a path of reconfiguration in order to

  1. focus its academic programming on preparation of educators and to
  2. strengthen its service to Catholic school teachers, leaders, and catechists through spiritual
    and professional formation programs.

As a consequence of this new focus, a strategic planning process was initiated. In order to respond
to the needs of Catholic education and evangelization locally and beyond, the Aquinas College
Strategic Planning Committee broadly surveyed internal and external constituencies including
bishops, superintendents, principals, directors of religious education, and educators in various
dioceses, long-term friends and associates, faculty and staff, alumni, philanthropists, and other
groups and individuals engaged in Catholic education and catechesis.

These groups were asked to identify areas of greatest need in Catholic education and catechesis and how Aquinas College might be uniquely situated to respond to those needs.

Overwhelmingly, the data collected through surveys, interviews, and focus groups identified faith
formation and leadership development as paramount needs, and challenged Aquinas College to
cultivate relationships that allow for the mutual sharing of gifts in service of Catholic education, while at the same time making academic and ongoing formation programs affordable and accessible.Various stakeholders told us of their appreciation for the Dominican charism with itsrich and balanced spiritual, intellectual, and educational tradition, and of its particular expression in the life and apostolate of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.

These data have informed and shaped the present strategic plan and the strategic goals we have set for the coming six years.The four strategic goals are:

1. Academic Life: The program of studies at Aquinas College will form students to be educators
who allow Truth and Charity to transform their own lives and the lives of those they will serve.

2. Student Experience: Aquinas College will provide a strong educational community that
integrates the human, spiritual, intellectual, and professional formation of all students.

3. Service to the Broader Community: Aquinas College will serve the broader community through
academic and institutional initiatives and through the work of the Center for Catholic Education,
the Center for Evangelization and Catechesis, and the Center for Faith and Culture.

4. Advancing the Mission: Aquinas College will implement plans to steward and develop its unique
gifts and resources in order to advance its mission.

Four strategic goals in the areas of Academic Life, Student Experience, Service to the Broader Community, and Advancing the Mission are presented along with the objectives that flow from each of these goals. 

Aquinas College at a Glance

Mission Statement

Aquinas College is a Catholic institution of higher education in the Dominican Tradition. The College directs all its efforts to the intellectual, moral, spiritual, and professional formation of the human person in wisdom. Students are formed individually and in Christian community so that the harmonious integration between faith and reason can permeate every dimension of their lives. Immersed in exploring the relationship between human civilization and the message of salvation, the College community embraces the Dominican imperative to preach the Gospel, serve others, and engage culture in truth and charity.

Vision

To be a leader in the formation of educators who are sent forth to teach, preach, and witness to
Truth and Charity for the salvation of souls and the transformation of culture.

Core Principles

Our core principles are derived from the Catholic and Dominican moral and intellectual tradition.

  • The dignity, freedom, and flourishing of every human person as made in God’s image
  • The complementarity of faith and reason as the basis for academic community
  • The prudent stewardship of God’s individual and communal gifts

Organizational Goals

1. Provide academic programs in education and in the liberal arts that foster the intellectual
and moral virtues, professional excellence, and integration of faith and life.

2. Provide services and support that facilitate academic progress, inquiry, and achievement.

3. Cultivate a student experience directed toward the formation of the whole person in virtue,
wisdom, maturity, and Christian friendship through social, spiritual, and academic activities.

4. Provide opportunities to engage with the local and broader communities, especially in
endeavors related to cultural and intellectual interests, continuing education, catechetics, and
faith formation.

5. Steward the gifts and resources entrusted to the College to advance its mission.

Academic Life

“‘Intellectual charity’ … calls the educator to recognize that the profound responsibility to
lead the young to truth is nothing less than an act of love. Indeed, the dignity of education lies
in fostering the true perfection and happiness of those to be educated … Here they will experience
‘in what’ and ‘in whom’ it is possible to hope, and be inspired to contribute to society in a way
that engenders hope in others.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Catholic Educators, 17 April 2008

STRATEGIC GOAL 1: Academic Life

The program of studies at Aquinas College will form students to be educators who allow Truth and
Charity to transform their own lives and the lives of those they will serve.

Objectives:

1.1 Provide an integrated and robust course of studies grounded in the Catholic liberal arts
tradition, Christian anthropology, and Thomistic philosophy of education that prepares students to
understand and serve contemporary needs in education and evangelization.

1.2 Prepare a faculty development program that supports an integrated Catholic education
across the disciplines.

1.3 Identify means to provide a Catholic school leadership program through graduate-level
program and certificate offerings.

1.4 Identify ways to diversify course delivery to increase accessibility of graduate programs
to a wider audience.

1.5 Implement a comprehensive admissions plan for all programs and majors.

1.6 Provide targeted ongoing professional formation for education program graduates during
their first three years in the classroom.

Student Experience

“A Catholic University pursues its objectives through its formation of an authentic
human community animated by the spirit of Christ. The source of its unity springs from a common
dedication to the truth, a common vision of the dignity of the human person and, ultimately, the
person and message of Christ which gives the Institution its distinctive character. As a result of
this inspiration, the community is animated by a spirit of freedom and charity; it is characterized
by mutual respect, sincere dialogue, and protection of the rights of individuals. It assists each
of its members to achieve wholeness as human persons…”
Pope St. John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, § 21

STRATEGIC GOAL 2: Student Experience

Aquinas College will provide a strong educational community that integrates the human, spiritual,
intellectual, and professional formation of all students.

Objectives:

2.1 Formulate a program of activities that fosters community among faculty, staff, and students,  preparing and motivating them to be at the service of communion within families, schools, parishes, and society.

2.2 Provide enriched opportunities for liturgical and devotional prayer in common.

2.3 Increase opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to collaborate and share ideas in
pursuit of wisdom as an academic community.

2.4 Enhance academic and non-academic support services to meet the needs of all students.

Service to the Broader Community

“Catholic education is one of the most important challenges for the Church, engaged as she is today in implementing the new evangelization in a historical and cultural context which is in constant flux… Catholic academic institutions cannot isolate themselves from the world, they must know how to enter bravely into the areopagus of current culture and open dialogue, conscious of the gift that they can offer to everyone.”
Pope Francis, to Participants in the Plenary Session of the Congregation for Catholic Education, 13 February 2014

STRATEGIC GOAL 3: Service to the Broader Community

Aquinas College will serve the broader community through academic and institutional initiatives and through the work of the Center for Catholic Education, the Center for Evangelization and Catechesis, and the Center for Faith and Culture.

Objectives:

3.1 Determine the mission and scope of each center’s service to local, national, and international communities.

3.2 Develop a series of programs and conference opportunities that can be customized for various audiences, settings, and platforms of delivery.

3.3 Develop customized ongoing formation programs with dioceses, parishes, and schools that address the local Church’s needs in evangelization, catechesis, and education.

Advancing the Mission

“The same is true of many of my gifts and graces, virtue and other spiritual gifts, and those things necessary for the body and human life. I have distributed them all in such a way that no one has all of them. Thus have I given you reason – necessity, in fact – to practice mutual charity. For I could well have supplied each of you with all your needs, both spiritual and material. But I wanted to make you dependent on one another so that each of you would be My minister, dispensing the races and gifts you have received from Me.”
God the Father to St. Catherine of Siena in The Dialogue

STRATEGIC GOAL 4: Advancing the Mission

Aquinas College will implement plans to steward and develop its unique gifts and resources in order to advance its mission.

Objectives:

4.1 Deepen all constituents’ understanding of the relationship of Aquinas College with its founding religious congregation, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, and ways in which the College participates in the Congregation’s charism and mission.

4.2 Develop and implement a comprehensive communications and marketing strategy to convey to internal and external constituents the mission, identity, programs, and services of Aquinas College.

4.3 Develop and implement a comprehensive advancement program with an emphasis on identifying sources for philanthropic support and/or partnership opportunities that ensure affordability and accessibility of programs to target audiences.

4.4 Form mutually beneficial partnerships and ongoing relationships with dioceses, schools, foundations and donors in service of the Church’s mission of evangelization, catechesis, and education.

4.5 In collaboration with the entities comprising The Dominican Campus, identify means to strengthen the sharing of resources and designated services.