Tarleton State University Strategic Plan Executive Summary

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2020-2030 Strategic Plan Executive Summary | TARLETON STATE UNIVERSITY 1

There has never been a better time to be a Tarleton Texan. Tarleton is thriving!

Our milestones are many, our tomorrows shiny and bright.

Our continued focus on educational attainment, opportunity and affordability is a testament to the 122-year vision of John Tarleton to provide a first-class education to students who otherwise might not have the chance.

We are determined to become the premier comprehensive university in the nation, and Tarleton Forward 2030 charts the course.

Let’s get started.



There is something special about this place. It’s a place where we rise to challenges and seize opportunities. A place that propels us to excellence. Ever forward, ever onward — that’s how H.A. Schmidt defined our trajectory in 1920 when he penned the Tarleton Fight Song.

Strive for ideals high

Guard your standards, your traditions

Raise them to the sky

On Ye Tarleton, on Ye Tarleton Biggest and the best

That is what we’re doing. That is who we are.

Our strategic plan — Tarleton Forward 2030 — will position us as a front-runner for anyone seeking a university degree. Anyone.

Built on our founder’s vision with its unshakable commitment to education, Tarleton Forward 2030 is certain to drive innovation and economic development in the region. It is a bold blueprint. A future-focused, student success-centric plan.

It declares our resolve to give all students the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to lead, and to stand beside them from the moment they apply through decades beyond graduation. It distinguishes us as a world-class, first-choice institution where students embrace their dreams and reach for the stars.

It defines the core values we stand on, and the vision that guides our great institution. Tarleton Forward 2030 will hold us accountable to five worthy goals and the strategies and objectives to achieve them — all created by students, faculty, staff, and friends as part of a seven-month process marked by focus groups, surveys, and workshops.

My sincerest thanks to our Strategic Planning Council and to each of you for your time and support. Working together, we are making a difference. It’s what Tarleton has done since it opened in 1899, and it’s what we will keep doing in the next chapters of our history.

On Ye Tarleton, on Ye Tarleton Break right through the line Ever forward, ever onward


On behalf of the Strategic Planning Council and with much excitement and optimism, I present Tarleton Forward 2030, our bold plan for the next decade.

It is the result of dedicated focus, discussion, and collaboration in the most challenging environment we’ve ever faced. The council and our Executive Steering Committee worked diligently to forge a path that will ensure the university continues to thrive no matter what comes our way.

The planning process has been a tangible example of how much faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends love Tarleton and are committed to a shared purpose to transform generations through education. The result is an action-oriented framework broad enough that all areas can plug in, yet specifically measurable so we can track and communicate progress. And Tarleton Forward

2030 is flexible, ensuring responsiveness to new challenges while we stay true to overarching goals.

President Hurley has asked me to continue serving as chair of the council, and I look forward to the work we have ahead of us to fully realize the fruits of our planning process. My sincerest gratitude for the ongoing support, commitment, and care you give to Tarleton.


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The first students enroll in John Tarleton College, thanks to a bequest by the university’s namesake and benefactor, John Tarleton, to create an institution of higher education for students of modest means.


Tarleton becomes a four-year, degree-granting institution.


Tarleton’s first sorority and national Greek organization, Alpha Gamma Delta, is chartered in 1983, and the oldest fraternity still on campus, Lambda Chi Alpha, is colonized a year later.


The coordinating board approves doctoral courses, and Tarleton welcomes its first doctorate of education cohort.


John Tarleton College becomes a founding member of The Texas A&M University System, and its name changes to John Tarleton Agricultural College.


The Wainwright Rifles perform at the inauguration parade for President John F. Kennedy.


The Ten Tarleton Peppers (TTP) are established as the university’s first spirit group. The Ten Tarleton Sisters (TTS) appear two years later. Together the two are known today as the Purple Poo — the oldest spirit organization in the state.


The 29 members of the Class of 1963 are the first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.


The first class of registered nurses receives their associates degree.


The Texas Legislature creates Tarleton’s Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER).


Online degree programs begin.


Tarleton expands to Southwest Fort Worth with the first building on an 80-acre campus on Chisholm Trail Parkway. The university starts its first PhD program.

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Yell Content 2019


The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approves graduate-level courses.


Tarleton’s storied rodeo program is established.


John Tarleton Agricultural College becomes Tarleton State College to reflect the school’s liberal arts offerings.


Tarleton State College becomes Tarleton State University.


The planetarium opens on the Stephenville campus, and the Tarleton Model for Accelerated Teacher Education (TMATE) debuts in Fort Worth.


Tarleton moves to NCAA Division I as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.


Memorial Stadium hosts its first football game.


The first Medical Laboratory Sciences program is offered in Downtown Fort Worth Medical District.


Tarleton establishes an outreach program with McLennan Community College in Waco, and the W.K. Gordon Center for the Industrial History of Texas opens to the public.


Tarleton elevates to R2 status of Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and is chosen as a prestigious member of the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities.

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August 2020

The Strategic Planning Council, led by Dr. Credence Baker, Dean of Tarleton’s College of Graduate Studies, begins collaboration with CampusWorks, Inc., a higher education consulting firm based in Bradenton, Fla.

September 2020

President James Hurley kicks off the seven-month, inclusive and transparent process at Tarleton’s annual General Assembly, encouraging students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and community members to take an active role in charting a 10-year course to become the premier comprehensive university in the nation.

Workshops exploring trends in higher education and defining the ideal student experience are followed by a SWOT survey sent to all stakeholders.

September 2020 – February 2021

Mission, vision, values, and strategy workshops take place.

November 2020

A half-day signature event in downtown Fort Worth, the Future Summit, brings together students, employees, and community partners to explore themes that have emerged from focus groups, surveys, and workshops.

A quartet of higher ed and business thought leaders share their insights:

•Dr. Mark Becker, President of Georgia State University

•Dr. Blake Decker, Assistant Vice Chancellor in Academic Affairs for Data Science for The Texas A&M University System

•Dr. Rachael Capua, Director for College and Career Success for the Tarrant To & Through (T3) Partnership

•Chris Del Conte, University of Texas Athletics Director

December 2020 – January 2021

Study and insights groups, made up of Strategic Planning Council members and other faculty, staff, and students, conduct in-depth research and analysis on leading practices in nine areas that emerged throughout the planning process and from the Future Summit.

January 2021

To support the new proposed vision, the Executive Steering Committee establishes five 10-year goals and the Strategic Planning Council begins to draft five-year strategies to help achieve them. Fifteen strategies emerge from the work completed by the Strategic Planning Council during strategy workshops.

March 2021

Measurable objectives with strong action plans are developed to ensure Tarleton Forward 2030 is ready for execution.

April 2021

Tarleton launches its 10-year, student-focused strategic plan: Tarleton Forward 2030. Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, is the keynote.

January 2022

Continual monitoring and execution of strategic plan: Tarleton Forward 2030 through the establishment of the Division of University Strategy.

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exceptional student experience

Tarleton State University will provide a life-changing education exemplified by a welcoming and empowering student experience, characterized by:

•An affordable, first-class education paired with personalized support from start to finish to help students grow academically, socially, and professionally

•Engaged faculty, staff, and alumni mentors who guide students in setting long-term goals and developing marketable skills with real-world application

•A community where all students feel a sense of belonging, safety, and acceptance

•Transformational educational experiences that challenge students to achieve excellence and prepare them to lead meaningful and rewarding lives

Tarleton’s faculty, staff, and administration support this experience through:

•Integrated services and clear communications that help students effectively navigate academic, financial, and administrative processes

•A supportive learning environment that connects all students with campus resources and empowers them to take responsibility for their success

•Innovative technology that provides options for learning and engagement, enhances academic and social connections, and allows students to track their progress toward achieving their educational goals

•Curricular and co-curricular programs that engage students in research and workforce experiences, immerse them in global and civic activities, and develop their leadership skills

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Tarleton State University, a founding member of The Texas A&M University System, transforms generations by inspiring discovery, and leadership through educational excellence.


Tarleton will be the premier comprehensive university in the nation, with a keen focus on student success, teaching, and research.



Tarleton Texans pursue greatness in all efforts, promoting a spirit of leadership, adaptability, and innovation for exceptional outcomes and a better world.


Tarleton Texans hold to the highest ethical standards and commit to serving others through transparency and accountability in everything we do.


Tarleton Texans create community by embracing varied perspectives with civility, honoring tradition, and promoting teamwork so everyone thrives.

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Goal I: Student Opportunity & Success

Strategically grow enrollment and foster a thriving learning environment characterized by transformational educational experiences that promote the holistic development, economic mobility, and success of all students.

Strategy I-A: Support the well-being and success of all students, consistently outpacing our peers in engagement and achievement rates with a strong commitment to enhancing opportunity, access, and affordability.

Strategy I-B: Optimize the university’s educational impact through recruitment, strategic offerings and flexible learning formats, particularly in graduate and professional programs.

Strategy I-C: Promote student socio-economic mobility and gainful employment through market-driven pathways, streamlined program navigation, and career readiness.

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Goal II: Academic Distinction

Achieve academic excellence through innovative instructional practices, strategic program expansion, and a robust academic and technological infrastructure.

Strategy II-A: Leverage high-impact teaching and learning practices, technology, and quality instructional design of all courses to provide a transformational and future-focused educational experience.

Strategy II-B: Adapt and expand nationally-recognized academic programs, schools, and colleges through prestigious accreditation, program review, and benchmarking against aspirational institutions.

Strategy II-C: Continue our future-focused development of Tarleton Fort Worth and expansion of academic programs and support at all outreach campuses to provide educational attainment opportunities to meet the growing marketplace needs of the region and state.

Goal III: Global, Community & First-Gen Initiatives

Promote work, service, and leadership readiness for a global economy and transnational workforce by advancing mission-focused partnerships and community values across all aspects of our multi-campus institution.

Strategy III-A: Build and sustain the infrastructure to enhance a culture of connection and access at all levels of the university within the communities we serve.

Strategy III-B: Enhance academic, financial, and wellness support to become a premier destination for all learners and employees from global pathways to promote success opportunities.

Strategy III-C: Integrate experiences for students, faculty, and staff to increase understanding of perspectives that enhance intercultural competency.


Goal IV: Research Excellence, Innovation & Economic Impact

Cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem to enhance research, scholarship, and regional partnerships that drive innovation and economic development.

Strategy IV-A: Enhance university resources and invest in sustainable research infrastructure to mobilize faculty and student research, scholarship, and creative activities and support personnel in the process of securing and administering research funds to reach Carnegie’s Very High Research Activity status by 2030.

Strategy IV-B: Become a leader in higher education, industry, and government partnerships, innovation, and entrepreneurial strategies that advance community engagement and economic development.

Goal V: Institutional Prominence

Attain national prominence through student achievement, a thriving employee experience, a culture of philanthropy, and fiscal sustainability.

Strategy V-A: Foster a thriving employee experience through meaningful communication, competitive compensation, interprofessional collaboration, and an ongoing commitment to growth and wellness.

Strategy V-B: Ensure fiscal sustainability through strategic resource management, alternative revenue generation, and rigorous fundraising.

Strategy V-C: Elevate the institutional profile by capitalizing on national visibility and distinction.

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The spirit that inspired a rancher 122 years ago to start a college is the same spirit that propels us today.

John Tarleton’s commitment to educational opportunity and affordability is part and parcel of everything we do. It’s the foundation of Tarleton Forward 2030.

Our 10-year, future-focused plan positions us for limitless opportunities and extreme successes. It is a bold projection. A North Star for the world to follow.

For the complete plan — goals, strategies, objectives, action plan — visit TARLETON.EDU/TARLETONFORWARD

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