Historical image of a group of women walking through Rogers Gate. Distant view of the Columbia College main campus red brick buildings, with a field of pink and yellow tulips in the foreground.

Embracing Change, Ensuring the Future

Strategic plan, 2022-2027

Since our founding in 1851, Columbia College stands for quality educational opportunities, resilience and innovation. This plan renews our commitment to the values we hold dear while blazing new paths in the quest for knowledge and enlightenment.

Columbia College will continue to produce graduates with high-quality post-secondary degrees and credentials that are valuable to individuals, future employers and communities.

Goal #1 of our strategic plan, “Strengthen academic excellence and student success,” outlines six main strategies, 16 sub-strategies and 33 key performance indicators dedicated to achieving academic excellence!

Our efforts will center on providing students with relevant, flexible and creative academic programs and credentials through continuous academic program evaluation and development. We also seek to provide our students with excellent academic support experiences as they complete their education with Columbia College and connect their academic learning to professional success. Recognizing that academic success is strongly connected to well-being, belonging and inclusion, we have several strategies to support our students in these areas. In partnership with Student Affairs, Enrollment Management & Marketing and Columbia College Global, we seek to improve student retention, persistence and completion by creating and deploying graduation teams to support students at every stage of their career at Columbia College.

Enrollment Management & Marketing is developing a multifaceted, data-informed approach to sustain and increase enrollment. Goal #2 of our strategic plan, “Attract and retain students who thrive at Columbia College,” outlines nine main strategies, 14 sub-strategies, and 13 key performance indicators.

With the implementation of a new and lively recruitment model, Columbia College is poised to grow enrollment by creating a viable, desirable, vibrant and meaningful student experience through deliberate and cross-divisional collaboration and planning. Along with our new recruitment model, Enrollment Management & Marketing will develop enrollment-positive, enduring strategic corporate and education partnerships that transform the student experience college-wide, better serving contemporary, current and future students.

We must understand who we are as a college. Enrollment Management & Marketing will strengthen the Columbia College brand, identify value propositions and regain marketing primacy through national, regional and local marketing efforts. Growth in new students alone won’t get us where we need to be. We must also retain and graduate the students we have by constantly engaging them and by providing them with the necessary resources to stay and complete their educational journey. We will do this through excellence in teaching, mentoring, service, advising and coaching. Everyone plays a role in the enrollment health of Columbia College. Students are our credentials and proof that Columbia College is the right choice for a complete college experience.

At the core of every organization is its workforce. Goal #3 of our strategic plan, “Promote a diverse and welcoming work environment by attracting, retaining and developing a professional workforce,” outlines five strategies, 14 sub-strategies and 15 key performance indicators.

We believe all employees deserve a workplace that allows them to achieve their full potential, encourages employee engagement and ensures their well-being. Therefore, the college is committed to promoting a diverse and welcoming work environment by attracting, retaining and developing a professional workforce that consistently delivers exceptional services to the students and communities we serve.

The college recognizes the importance of strong financial management, state-of-the-art technology, accessible infrastructure and a strong ability to fundraise. Goal #4 of our strategic plan, “Strengthen financial management, infrastructure and philanthropy,” outlines six strategies, 19 sub-strategies and 17 key performance indicators.

Columbia College will build upon its strong financial position through a study of existing technology and facilities, careful financial modeling and fiscally sound management of resources. The college will enhance and improve upon our fundraising results to ensure excellence for the future.

Under financial management, we often find that we can’t establish the cost benefit of proposals in such key areas as enrollment growth, academic programs and the operational efficiency of Columbia College Global locations. The chief financial officer will develop models to help with such decisions.

The college will conduct a comprehensive infrastructure review of our Facilities Master Plan to ensure that we are getting maximum service from our existing infrastructure and find ways to be good stewards of space management. In the area of technology, we want to improve and optimize our ability to make data-informed decisions by modernizing our technological and analytic capabilities. This capability does not currently exist at Columbia College, yet it is an essential element in informing our strategic enrollment decisions, measuring program and course effectiveness, and analyzing the fiscal and operational needs of Columbia College Global locations.

A healthy culture of philanthropy is integral to achieving our mission at Columbia College. Building upon our past success so that we can increase our reliable annual fundraising will help ensure a successful future for our institution. Obtaining board approval to move forward with our next comprehensive fundraising campaign will give us the tools necessary to generate excitement with our donors and lead to gifts that support scholarships, faculty and the ability to build academic programs of excellence that will assist in the recruitment and retention of students.

The Columbia College Strategic Plan is founded on a set of principles that guide the college in its work:

  • Today’s fast-paced, ever-changing society demands an educated citizenry. Columbia College’s role is to instill in our students a commitment to lifelong learning, social responsibility and selfless service while providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a global economy.
  • To ensure student success, we believe all students deserve access to a student-centered education that is affordable, timely, individualized, flexible and accountable for learning outcomes.
  • The Board of Trustees and the Administration are committed to a fiscally responsible approach to making decisions that will ensure the future of the college.
  • We believe a liberal arts core curriculum is essential to produce citizens who are creative, curious, ethical, devoted to the quest for new knowledge, critical thinkers and engaged in the world around them.
  • As a learning community of scholars, we believe our students, faculty and staff of all beliefs and backgrounds should embrace civil discourse, demonstrate mutual respect and support for others at all times, and celebrate the diversity of ideas and opportunities that have defined Columbia College since its founding in 1851.
  • Columbia College is proud of our alumni nationwide and strives to strengthen our affinity and forge enduring relationships.

because a future built by you is a future built for you.

Too many people have been made to feel that higher education isn’t a place for them— that it is someone else’s dream. But we change all that. With individualized attention and ongoing support, we help you write a new story for the future where you play the starring role.