Grove City College announced the start of a historic strategic planning effort in 2021 that envisions the launch of major initiatives that will further distinguish the school as one of the elite liberal arts colleges in the country.
With the College’s current five-year strategic plan “Building for a Strong and Faithful Future” in its last year, leaders of the private Christian liberal arts school are working to build on this firm foundation for the next five years.
“We have seen how valuable it is to have a mission-centric and initiative-driven strategic plan guiding our College,” President Paul J. McNulty ’80 said. “The College is blessed with a deep bench of wise and experienced leaders excited about this challenge. At the same time, we appreciate the proverbial truth that while we make our plans, God determines our course.”
Adopted in 2017, the “Building for a Strong and Faithful Future” strategic plan was designed to position the College as “the best Christian liberal arts college in America” delivering an outstanding higher education while strengthening the College’s commitment to timeless Christian truths and values.
At the heart of that plan are six main goals to increase academic excellence, enhance the campus’ Christian environment, improve enrollment, raise brand awareness, streamline fiscal management and build up financial resources. Extensive progress has been made in fulfilling these goals. The plan also introduced revised vision and mission statements and, for the first time, codified key values: Faithfulness; Excellence; Community; Stewardship; and Independence.
The College will steadfastly pursue its vision as a comprehensive Christian liberal arts college, grounded in conservative values and dedicated to the development of leaders of the highest proficiency, purpose and principles ready to serve the common good.
Work on the new plan comes at a critical time for the College and American higher education, according to Craig W. Jones ’74, vice chair of the College’s Board of Trustees who is spearheading the planning process for his alma mater. “We need to be bold and creative in looking to the future as we assess the current environment and shifting sands, if you will, in higher education,” he said.
While Grove City College occupies a unique place in higher education – it is one of a handful of schools that does not accept any federal funding, including student grants and loans, and remains aligned with the Christian faith it was founded upon – it is not immune from the same pressures facing most American colleges and universities. Demographics and economics are driving more schools to rely on federal support and engage in financial gimmicks to attract students from a shrinking pool.
So far, the College has defied many of these trends, with applications surpassing last year and the past 10-year average. Its commitment to affordability generates heightened conscientiousness about the cost for students and their families. Tuition is still under $30,000, and the College ranks as one of the best values in higher education. That fiscal restraint is distinctive, as is the College’s approach to planning for the future.
“We don’t want to take a linear approach and just continue along the path we’re on. We don’t want to be constrained by anything that’s currently is going on,” Jones said. “We’re going to talk about a vision of where we want to be in three, four or five years and that will be significant in terms of furthering the college’s mission, vision and values.” A major part of the planning process will be determining “what’s the gap between where we are and where we’d like to be,” Jones said. “That begins with identifying the strategic issues – what we want to do – and developing a strategic plan that outlines how we’re going to get there.”
Jones is working closely with Board Chair Edward D. Breen ’79, McNulty and a strategic planning committee of trustees, administration, faculty and staff. Breen and Jones were elected to their positions last year, bringing broad perspectives and experience to charting the College’s future. Breen, the executive chairman and CEO of DuPont de Nemours, Inc., is an internationally recognized expert in corporate restructuring; Jones is the retired president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association and has decades of experience helping institutions adjust to sweeping changes.
Also serving on the Strategic Planning Committee are:
- Lisa M. Antoszewski, Chair of the Department of Biology and Associate Professor of Biology
- Michael Buckman ’82, Vice President for Business and Finance
- Elizabeth Bulette, Trustee, Vice Chair of the Governance Committee
- Kenneth P. Carson, Chair of the Department of Management and Marketing and Professor of Management
- Peter Frank ’95, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Economics
- Susan Grimm, Director of Operations
- Deborah Holt '84, Treasurer of the Board
- H. Collin Messer, Assistant Dean for the Calderwood School of Arts and Letters and Professor of English
- Douglas Muetzel '80, Trustee, Chair of the Development Committee
- Dawn Owens ’90, Trustee, Chair of the Enrollment and Student Affairs Committee
- David Porter ’88, Trustee, Secretary of the Board
- Jeffrey D. Prokovich ’89, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
- Richard Savage, Dean of the Hopeman School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics and Professor of Engineering
- Mandy Sposato ’00, Director of Career Services
- Betty Tallerico, Assistant to the President
- Donald C. Templin ’84, Trustee, Vice Chair of the Enrollment and Student Affairs Committee