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FOREVER Strategic Plan | Year One Highlights 2014

122 YEARS Going Strong Meredith College is on the move. With a rock-solid foundation that’s based on a powerful combination of broad liberal arts education and effective professional preparation, Meredith is a testament to the lasting power of education. We are led by a commitment to honor our strong history as we plan for an even stronger future. We are inspired by our 19,000 graduates who are living lives of impact and distinction across the country and around the world. And we are guided by Meredith Forever, a strategic plan that provides a clear map to direct our efforts. In other words, Meredith is going strong. Join us.


“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

In October 2012, the Meredith College Board of Trustees approved the first phase of Meredith Forever, our rolling three-year strategic plan whose content recognizes the College’s numerous strengths and pushes Meredith toward an even greater future. In building the plan, we invited the public to participate in creating a collaborative perspective among faculty, staff, students, and trustees to address the College’s strengths and challenges. We chose to build the plan as an evolutionary set of priorities and accountabilities largely because of the increasing volatility of higher education, the economy, and shifting student demographics. The rolling, three-year plan, in short, gives us opportunities to set our course for excellence while adjusting the strategic sensibilities that change can bring. At the heart of the plan, however, are our ongoing commitments to six pillars: educational excellence, financial strength, optimal enrollment, information technology/ facilities, enhanced visibility, and support for a better quality of life for everyone in the Meredith community. The first year’s accomplishments provide wonderful evidence that the plan not only articulates clear direction for the future, but also, and just as important, that it has earned the goodwill and buy-in of the faculty and staff charged with its implementation. To say we couldn’t make progress on this plan without that goodwill and buy-in may seem obvious and even trite; it is not. My gratitude for the shared energy and enthusiasm for this plan is as deep as our shared commitment to ensuring and enhancing the future of Meredith. And, with this early success of the first phase of the strategic plan, we are on our way, going strong, and becoming even stronger. Jo Allen, ’80 President January 2014


Built innovative StrongPoints™ advising model

Established Certificate in Health Informatics – MBA

Partnered with Campus Kitchens – a new outreach program for feeding children in afterschool programs

Created Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-Health

Enhanced academic quality of incoming class

Developed faculty workshops – part of the Think Strong critical thinking initiative

PILLAR 1 | EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE The first, and most important, pillar of Meredith’s strategic plan builds on a strong tradition of educational excellence. Long recognized as an institution that prepares graduates to become leaders in the workplace and the community, Meredith’s strategic plan outlines steps to more fully take advantage of the College’s assets while creating opportunities for new areas of growth. Meredith students enrich their education through experiential learning opportunities that include internships (often more than one), study abroad, service learning, undergraduate research, and leadership development. The strategic plan provides explicit ways to build on this already-strong practice of experiential learning. Initiatives include an innovative StrongPoints advising model, faculty workshops designed to develop students’ critical thinking, and a new student-run community outreach program that provides meals for children in nearby after-school programs. As a women’s college founded when educating women was an anomaly, Meredith has a history of breaking new ground. The strategic plan emphasizes the need to continually refine Meredith’s offerings, adding programs that prepare students for 21st century professions and instill flexible skills and ways of learning that empower them to succeed – even in fields that are yet to emerge. Programs recently added include an option to earn a certificate in health informatics as part of Meredith’s MBA, a new undergraduate major in public health, and a post-baccalaureate certificate in pre-health.

ENROLLMENT Year One Highlights ■

Graduated largest 4-year class in history

Expanded recruitment territory

Enhanced alumnae engagement in recruiting

Strengthened retention rates

Designed enrollment pathways for transfer students

Created Impact Raleigh program

Expanded global diversity to 42 countries

Created Meredith Teaching Fellows program

Exceeded enrollment targets for freshman class

Enhanced academic profile of entering class

Celebrated 4-year graduation rates that surpass national averages

PILLAR 2 | ENROLLMENT Students are the lifeblood of every college or university. Meredith has a history of attracting highly-qualified students, and the path to the vibrant future outlined in our strategic plan emphasizes the need to build on that strong tradition. Attracting even more highly-qualified students is key, as is strengthening retention rates. And because we believe that every woman deserves the opportunities made available through a Meredith education, we’re working to expand our reach and broaden our scope. The plan includes a variety of enrollment strategies that are already having a positive impact on Meredith’s enrollment numbers. These strategies include encouraging alumnae, often our best ambassadors, to invite promising students to visit Meredith, developing new enrollment pathways for transfer students, and expanding our recruitment territory to focus on new geographic areas and diverse populations, including international and graduate students. Though Meredith’s reputation for educational excellence is consistently our strongest draw, we also attract students who are passionate about making a difference in their communities. New initiatives that speak to these students include Impact Raleigh, a program that provides opportunities to engage with and serve the Raleigh community, and Meredith Teaching Fellows, which builds on the College’s reputation for exemplary teacher education and addresses the need for exceptional teachers to make our state and country stronger.

MISSION Meredith College, grounded in the liberal arts and committed to professional preparation, educates and inspires students to live with integrity and provide leadership for the needs, opportunities and challenges of society.

VISION Meredith College is respected nationally as a vibrant learning environment in which students enhance their strengths, broaden their perspectives and prepare for lives of impact and distinction.


STRONG. 122 years, 2,000 students, 19,000 graduates, all going strong. Chartered in 1891, Meredith College opened with just over 200 women. Today, our student body has grown to nearly 2,000, and includes men at the graduate level. Meredith challenges students to explore their interests, expand their skills, and build on their strengths. Our graduates go on to use their intellect and abilities to make a positive impact on the world. At 122 years and counting, Meredith College is still going strong. STRONG RANKINGS: Ranked 2nd


among regional colleges in the South,

alumnae are employed or attending

and 6th for “Best Value” by U.S. News

graduate school within 9 months of

& World Report; among the top 20% of

graduation – and 93% said they’d

colleges in the country by;

choose Meredith again.

and named one of the “Best Colleges in the Southeast” by The Princeton Review. Meredith also received the highest rating for financial responsibility by the U.S. Department of Education. TOP ACCREDITATIONS: One of only two women’s colleges in the world with a School of Business accredited by AACSB International. Meredith holds

ENROLLMENT: 1,947 including 266 graduate students. STUDENT CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS: 100 SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS FUNDED BY MEREDITH IN 2013-14: $15.7 million

the highest levels of accreditation

ATHLETICS: 7 NCAA Division III teams

in business, education, social work,

(basketball, cross country, lacrosse,

nutrition, music, and interior design.

soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball)


CAMPUS: Historic 225-acre campus

a third of Meredith students study

includes a 1,200-seat amphitheater

abroad. And 94% of students tackle

on a lake, seven residence halls and

internships, undergraduate research,

student apartments, student center,

study abroad, or another form of

indoor swimming pool and fitness

experiential learning.

center, athletic field and track complex.

“A separate, but not separated community in the city of Raleigh, we at Meredith seek to question, to know, to lead, and to serve. Because we are a part of the whole, we take from and give to the community.� — Oak Leaves, 1967

FINANCIAL STRENGTH Year One Highlights ■

Launched largest campaign in Meredith history, Beyond Strong

Increased annual fundraising total by 27% in 2013

Increased annual giving donors by 68%

Raised level of faculty/staff giving to annual fund to 50%

Leveraged financial resources for capital improvements

Earned highest possible rating for financial responsibility from U.S. Department of Education

Enhanced percentage of alumnae giving

Enhanced growth of endowment value by 12% over 2012

PILLAR 3 | FINANCIAL STRENGTH If students are the lifeblood of the College, and educational excellence the heart, our financial strength is the oxygen that fuels our ability to effectively pursue our mission. Meredith has taken decisive steps to enhance its financial stability, with noticeably positive results. Efforts include more strategic investment of resources, an emphasis on careful budgeting practices, strong investment and stewardship of the endowment, and development of new revenues, including fundraising. Those who work in the fundraising field have long known that people give to strong, successful organizations that are making a difference. This maxim has been confirmed at Meredith during this initial year of the strategic plan. Across the board, giving levels are up as friends of Meredith choose to invest in the College’s vision of a strong and successful future. From increased alumnae giving to greater faculty and staff participation in the annual fund, Meredith’s community is expressing both a higher level of confidence and renewed sense of commitment through their financial gifts. That increased sense of confidence was validated by the U.S. Department of Education, which gave Meredith the highest possible rating for its financial responsibility. All of which sets the stage nicely for Beyond Strong, the largest campaign in Meredith’s history, which launched in 2013.


TECHNOLOGY Year One Highlights ■

Renovated and enhanced spaces across campus, including Belk Dining Hall, the Ellen Rumley gazebo and gardens, Cate Center, seating nooks in Johnson Hall, Carswell lobby

Re-landscaped Joyner, Martin, and The Oaks

Restored historic Heck Fountain

Moved and enlarged Meredith Community Garden

Upgraded technology infrastructure, including enhanced cabling for reliability and security of information technology network

Invested in energy savings and sustainability plan

Resurfaced tennis courts and improved gymnasium/stadium equipment

PILLAR 4 | FACILITIES AND TECHNOLOGY Meredith’s historic campus is one of its greatest strengths. A draw for prospective students and a point of pride for its alumnae, our campus is an undeniable asset that nonetheless requires an ongoing and significant investment of resources if it is to remain strong. This year has seen numerous improvements across campus, large and small, that have enhanced quality of life for students and helped to preserve the beauty of campus. Updates and additions include inviting new seating areas for students and visitors in Johnson Hall, an expanded patio in front of Belk Dining Hall and the restoration of Heck Fountain, a campus landmark. Today’s technologically-driven world demands a willingness to invest in information technology, particularly at an institution of higher education. Upgrades to Meredith’s technology infrastructure, with enhanced cabling for greater reliability and security, represent a significant step toward addressing technology-related needs of the College. Technology services staff have also begun to develop a campus-wide intranet to facilitate better communication among departments, programs, and current students.

VISIBILITY Year One Highlights ■

Launched new branding campaign, Meredith College | Going Strong

Launched new website and generated increased website traffic, with 75% more unique visitors in the first two months

Extended advertising on web, television, newspapers, magazines and billboards

Enhanced sports teams’ visibility

Released Status of Girls report

Increased positive media coverage, with approximately 1,800 media hits in 2012-13

Enhanced visibility of faculty and staff media experts in outlets including CNN, U.S. News and World Report, The Huffington Post

Increased social media engagement by 11% since brand launch

Hosted new program, Honoring Women Veterans

PILLAR 5 | VISIBILITY It became clear during the early stages in the strategic planning process that Meredith needed to increase its visibility and reputation throughout the region and the nation. Developing an authentic new brand that reflects the power, history, and vitality of the College was a primary component of this focus on visibility. In-depth market research was conducted with key constituents, including alumnae, trustees, faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students. That research was then used to develop our brand, Meredith College | Going Strong. The new brand inspires a sense of pride and reflects our values. It speaks to our history of educating women, while also making it clear that we are a dynamic institution that continues to evolve and grow. Featured in the new brand, Meredith’s strength has been promoted in highly visible venues – on billboards and major television network ads, in the Raleigh-Durham airport, and in magazines including Southern Living, Our State and Walter. Branded radio spots have run on Pandora and NPR. The new brand is also highly visible on our new website, Early results indicate that the Going Strong campaign and the new website are working well together. It’s clear that the advertising campaign is driving traffic to the new website and that the site is keeping users engaged at a higher level. And better engagement across various social media platforms is helping our community to see and then more easily share strong stories about Meredith.


OF LIFE Year One Highlights

Enhanced benefits and salaries of faculty and staff

Commenced study on work schedule flexibility

Committed to strengthening health and wellness for faculty, staff and students

Continued modified summer and holiday schedules

Enhanced commitment to sustainability with realized energy savings

Promoted professional and student development through StrengthsQuest™

Strengthened community relations and celebrations

PILLAR 6 | QUALITY OF LIFE The final pillar of the strategic plan recognizes the essential role every one of us plays in moving toward our goal of making Meredith stronger. As an institution of higher learning, Meredith’s primary strength lies in the people who make up our community: our expert faculty, professional staff, committed administrators and, above all, our strong students. Just as keeping a campus strong requires attention and maintenance, so too does a strong community. New programs such as an emphasis on wellness for all and a study on work schedule flexibility seek to support each person as a whole – and provide valuable real-world learning for our students, who begin to see the merit in seeking a more balanced lifestyle. Valuing our employees means that we honor their work for the College by compensating them fairly for their efforts. And modified summer and holiday schedules offer much-needed times of respite and renewal for staff and faculty who give their all to students every day because they are deeply committed to these students and to the mission of the College.

We are all working together toward a shared goal of helping our already strong students become even stronger. And we do so knowing that they will go on to use their intelligence and strength to make the world a better place. All going strong.






Going Strong

3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh NC 27607-5298

Meredith Forever | Strategic Plan Year One Highlights 2014  
Meredith Forever | Strategic Plan Year One Highlights 2014  

Highlights from the Strategic Plan Year One