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2016 THIEL 2016 The Thiel College 2011-2016 Strategic Plan Vision, Mission, Identity: A Unified Commitment to Excellence

Strategic Planning Steering Committee When work began on a new strategic plan for Thiel College, the strategic planning steering committee was chosen to represent the many constituencies of the College— board members, alumni, students, community leaders, staff and faculty. After many, many hours of hard work, careful consideration and thoughtful discussion, the members of the steering committee presented Thiel 2016, Thiel’s new strategic plan, to the Board of Trustees in November 2011. The final draft was approved in February 2012, 11 months after work began.

Ed Bartko ’72 Trustee Amy Becher Administrator Mark Benninghoff ’82 Trustee Rita Clemente Community leader Chip Dufala ’92 Trustee Brian Evans ’03 Trustee Kevin Fenstermacher Staff Dr. Lynn Franken Administrator Dr. Kathy Frantz Faculty Dr. Cory Grewell Faculty Ray Hanlon ‘74 Alumnus Dr. Cara Hoehn-Lapic ’92 Alumna Mike McKinney ’02 Administrator Dr. Matt Morgan Faculty Allen Morrill Staff Shane Murray Community leader Ron Owen ’71 Trustee Kraig Smith ’12 Student Nancy Solderich Staff Dr. Troy VanAken Administrator Katelyn Young Student

The strategic planning process was facilitated by consultant Peter T. Mitchell of Proactive Transition Management.

From the President Educating the next generation is more than a job; it is a sacred trust and a higher calling, and it is a responsibility we take very seriously at Thiel College. Thiel 2016, the strategic plan you hold in your hands, reflects a consensus reached by the students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and citizens of Greenville. It reaffirms that Thiel College is an institution of higher education providing transformative learning experiences and preparing its graduates for lives of meaning, purpose and significance. Excellence is a word you will see throughout this document. The Thiel College that this plan will shape will never accept what is merely good or passable. Our students deserve better. However, excellence doesn’t just happen. It is accomplished through thoughtful, inclusive planning coupled with deliberate, strategic doing, with a constant eye on the goal we wish to achieve—taking Thiel College from a good regional school to a nationally recognized and emulated liberal arts college. This brochure is an overview of the goals, objectives and actions of Thiel’s strategic plan, which came from nearly a year of hard work by a variety of Thiel College constituencies. Board members, students, alumni, staff, faculty, administrators and community members worked diligently to provide insight and inspiration to the vision of what Thiel College is and what it can be. We thank them all for their dedication of time and effort to this important process. Like all genuine strategic plans, Thiel 2016 is dynamic. It will be subject to ongoing assessment and improvement as we move toward the College’s sesquicentennial in 2016. With a unified belief in Thiel’s success and an inclusive commitment to making this plan a reality, Thiel’s legacy of empowering students to achieve their full potential will be stronger than ever in its next 150 years.

Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D. President

In a world increasingly defined by change, challenge and complexity, liberal arts education remains the gold standard in American higher education.

Commitment to Academic Excellence

A liberal arts education is transformative, seeking to draw from each student a personal best in thought and action. This comprehensive learning experience prepares students to be problem solvers in the interconnected spheres of work, family and community. The skills and competencies that a Thiel education provides—such as comprehension, presentation and communication (just to name a few)—are exactly what employers are looking for in future hires. Thiel students are prepared at graduation to take their next steps, whether into a classroom or boardroom, with confidence.


Thiel College is committed to providing the very best liberal arts education possible to our students, preparing them for whatever the future brings wherever life may take them.


HIGHLIGHTS OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AND RELEVANCE • The Kenneth and Marianna Brown Dietrich Honors Institute will attract, retain and invigorate academically advanced students with unique opportunities for academic challenge, intellectual exploration, critical reflection and creative expression. • A revised core curriculum will support and challenge students; stress connections within and among disciplines; apply liberal arts learning to real world tasks; and foster a strong academic work ethic. • An expanded career services program will exemplify best practices in the field to help graduates achieve initial and long-term career goals. • An emphasis on vocational leadership will express Thiel’s Lutheran heritage in a tangible way by encouraging students to support one another and the larger community and engage with the world through service. • A focus on enhancing teaching and advising and student/faculty research will foster a campus climate of high expectations that encourages and challenges every student.


The ideas to which this pillar are devoted express the main reason why we are all here—the education of our students is our highest priority. We seek to help our students discover their yet untapped abilities and demonstrate how active participation, critical thinking and inquiry can lead to their intellectual transformation. Education increases the understanding of the world around us and it is our goal to ensure that our students become good global citizens. Meeting this goal means that Thiel will become the a destination college for students who want to learn and serve transformatively. We will have an


environment in which students are active participants in their education, demonstrate deep motivation and interest in learning, and assume responsibility for developing and monitoring their academic course of study.

—Kathryn Frantz, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry

Fostering a sense of community creates an environment that encourages student growth in knowledge, faith and social responsibility. Students are engaged in their education through personalized extracurricular activities that complement classroom learning, blending challenge, support and opportunity to build confidence and satisfaction. Thiel College is committed to fostering collaboration among offices and individuals responsible for student success to create a supportive, stimulating culture where students can reach their full potential. HIGHLIGHTS OF CULTURE OF CARING AND CONFIDENCE • A sense of shared responsibility will guarantee that everyone on campus—students, faculty, parents, staff and trustees—is working together to ensure student success and is committed to maintaining high standards of effort, accomplishment, respect for learning, ethical application of knowledge and recognition of the contributions of others. • A life-long desire to learn and serve will be nurtured by emphasizing the development of critical thinking, synthesis and problem solving, communication skills and civic engagement. • Diversity and global perspective will be cultivated through global and international courses and programs, including accessible study abroad and study away opportunities, that will enrich campus with a diversity of intellectual thought, religion, spirituality, arts and culture—which in turn will make Thiel a more welcoming and open place for international students. • Thiel’s Lutheran heritage and embrace of Judeo-Christian values and ethics will affirm the dignity of each individual, regardless of faith or background, while allowing for the free and open exploration of ideas and development of individual talents. Students will come to understand, embrace and promote spiritual and ethical development in all its myriad forms. • A balance between athletic, academic and community service excellence will promote competition in an atmosphere of good sportsmanship, leadership, care for others and an understanding and embrace of health and wellness for life.


Commitment to A Culture of Caring



A ‘commitment to a culture of caring and confidence’ means that Thiel is committing to provide a place for students to experience a caring ‘family-like’ atmosphere that provides the confidence they need to develop into successful young scholars. This pillar shows incoming students what Thiel is committing to them as an institution—a


strong commitment to caring and confidence from the College makes for a positive transition from high school to Thiel. I personally find it to be one of the most important pillars. —Kraig Smith ’12

Thiel students, faculty and staff deserve high-quality academic, athletic, social, artistic and residential buildings, grounds and facilities.

Commitment to Enhanced Facilities




A comprehensive expansion and upgrade of classroom buildings, science laboratories, athletic facilities, fine and performing arts venues, indoor and outdoor social spaces, residence halls and infrastructure (including information technology) will enhance the recruitment, retention and overall campus experience of qualified students, faculty and staff. Thiel College is committed to identify, prioritize and plan for the expansion and enhancement of the campus environment at all levels. HIGHLIGHTS OF ENHANCED FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE

• A campus master plan will identify and prioritize long-term expansion and enhancement needs for the campus as well as address financing, financial resources, staffing and beautification issues. • A capital campaign will secure resources for the enhancement of facilities and infrastructure through the engagement of the Board of Trustees and other donors.

It is important to invest in people and infrastructure. It has been a long time since a new academic building was built at Thiel, and this is a very positive step. It shows that we


will never stop improving and growing just like our students! This is a pillar that we will improve but never conclude in my opinion. We will continue to invest in the future as we strive to maintain Thiel as a leading educational institution.

—Chip Dufala ’92, Member of Board of Trustees and Strategic Plan Steering Committee

Excellence in planning and preparation is nothing without excellence in execution. Doing the best job possible day-in and day-out makes a profound and enduring impact on Thiel’s students, our community and our success in the future. This entrepreneurial spirit fosters a culture of continuous improvement on campus as we work toward our goal of providing the best of the liberal arts tradition with career relevance and global citizenship to our students.

Commitment to Superior Delivery of Programs

Thiel College is committed to providing the highest level of service to our students and presenting a seamless synchronization of programs, practices and services to enhance student learning, development and engagement.



• Excellence in teaching, learning and advising will encourage and support faculty development in these areas through collaboration, mentoring, professional development and celebration of achievement. • Excellence in caring and confidence-building will foster student learning, development and engagement though a synchronizing of programs and services in an atmosphere of open communication, trust and teamwork. • Excellence in operations will encourage administrative staff to provide exemplary service and best-practice operations through regular review of services and ongoing planning for program enhancements. • Excellence in professional development will equip faculty and staff with the knowledge, tools and skills to enhance and expand the scope and effectiveness of their teaching, advising, duties and responsibilities. • Excellence in life/work quality will attract and retain outstanding faculty and staff and unite the entire campus in becoming one of the “Great Colleges to Work For,” ensuring that all employees feel appreciated and empowered.



I am excited about this pillar as it supports the day-to-day experiences of our students. The strategic planning committee brought together such a diverse group of people, united in their love of Thiel College, to shape the future rather than be shaped by it. The diversity of opinions and perspectives that were part of this process sparked lively discussion and debate about the best way to provide our students with the resources and support they need to succeed with the highest level of academic service, caring and attention. —Allen Morrill, Executive Director of the Langenheim Library and The Learning Commons


THE THIEL COMMITMENT STATEMENT OF VISION Thiel College is committed to developing and delivering innovative academic and co-curricular programs incorporating ethical and global perspectives, providing opportunities for students to discover and prepare for leadership in their chosen careers, enrolling students from the global populations, celebrating diversity within its community, and cultivating thriving living/learning communities.

STATEMENT OF MISSION Thiel College, an academic institution in the Lutheran tradition, empowers individuals to reach their full potential by assuring educational excellence, stimulating global awareness, promoting ethical and responsible leadership, and preparing students for careers so that lives inspired by truth and freedom may be committed to service in the world.

STATEMENT OF IDENTITY Thiel College, an independent institution related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and established in western Pennsylvania in 1866 as a co-educational institution, educates students in the liberal arts and professional students for service to society.




Office of College Advancement • 724-589-2160 • •

Thiel 2016: Thiel College's Strategic Plan