Grounded in Mission: The Plan for DePaul 2024 launches with retention, diversity, and student support initiatives

Grounded in Mission
 
At the beginning of the academic year, DePaul's new strategic plan, "Grounded in Mission," burst out of the gates with the announcement of several new initiatives. They include: 
  • A retention program that expands support and peer mentorship for freshmen and new transfer students 
  • A new partnership with City Colleges to support enrollment of low-income CPS graduates 
  • A program that expands support for student internships and career development
  • New scholarships to increase participation of underrepresented students in the STEM fields
These are the first of dozens of tactics that will emerge from the university’s new strategic plan, as DePaul pursues its vision of ensuring academic success for a diverse community of learners.

"I hope everyone has been asking themselves, 'Where do I fit in and what is my role?,'" says A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., president of DePaul, in emphasizing collective responsibility for implementing the plan.

The first step in answering that question should be a visit to the president’s website, where the detailed plan is posted under the Strategic Directions tab. In a dual effort toward environmental and financial responsibility, for the first time, the university did not print large quantities of the plan. Rather, a PDF has been posted to the president’s website so those who prefer a hard copy can download one.  

Awareness of the new strategic plan is growing. Over the summer, about 70 faculty, staff, students and executives participated in a brief video​ produced to create excitement about DePaul’s new goals, which address:
  • Deepening a commitment to the Catholic, Vincentian, and urban mission
  • Ensuring a welcoming and inclusive campus environment
  • Preparing all students for global citizenship and success
  • Expanding access to a portfolio of high-quality, affordable academic programs
  • Elevating academic excellence and embracing a culture of creativity and discovery
  • Employing bold approaches to ensure fiscal strength for future generations
Provost Marten denBoer is excited about the impact the plan’s earliest initiatives will have on students, including the goals of increasing first-to-second year persistence to 90 percent, boosting the proportion of freshmen who start their second year having made satisfactory progress toward a degree to 70 percent, and narrowing achievement gaps between various student groups. 

Last month, university leadership participated in two planning retreats where they began to establish benchmarks and measures to plot progress toward goal achievement. 

"The task was to set quantitative goals, including some stretch goals and set timelines for achieving those goals," Esteban says. "Where performance is already high, the task was to establish smaller, incremental goals that take into account performance in recent years."

Momentum for researching and launching new initiatives is building. Three working groups are among several that are being established to address issues vital to DePaul’s future.

The DePaul Tomorrow Task Force, for example, will be asked to imagine what the university should look like over the next few decades. It will consider optimum enrollment numbers, appropriate mix of undergraduate and graduate students, and online verses on site course delivery, among other topics. 

The DePaul Experience Working Group will develop and implement new ways to create a greater sense of engagement among students and enhance school spirit on campus.

There also will be a task force to explore the quarter versus the semester calendar. 

These initiatives and others, according to Dr. Esteban, were designed to help the DePaul community answer the Vincentian call—“What must be done?”— and in so doing, keep DePaul grounded in its mission. 
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