Focus of the Strategic Plan
Coastal Carolina University stands at the intersection of many challenging times and exceptional opportunities. The impressive growth of Coastal Carolina University from 7,872 students in Fall 2007 to 10,263 in Fall 2015, expansion of the University’s programs, and the dynamic higher education environment around the country and world, along with the expiration of our previous, largely successful strategic plan (Tradition, Integrity and Excellence: Building a Comprehensive University, 2008 – 2013), encouraged the University to open again a stakeholder-engaged process to craft the new strategic plan to guide the institution from 2016-2021. As noted in the timeline, many important changes have taken place at the University over the past several years, among which was embracing the emphasis on high-impact experiential learning as a hallmark of the institution’s unique contribution to student development.
As such, the new strategic plan needed to build on this initiative to support high-impact educational practices for all students, to serve staff and faculty in their currency and development to support effective student learning, and to bring to the community a clearer understanding of and engagement with the expertise and resources of the University. This process was dynamic, engaged and inclusive in support of the type of high-impact learning that the University committed to deliver in all areas of activity. As one of the 20 fastest-growing universities in the United States, it was important to define a clear growth model and communicate that model as a part of the new strategic plan. Furthermore, it was noted by President David A. DeCenzo that the University would seek to grow by 2.5 percent to 3 percent annually, with the goal of being in position by 2021 to achieve 12,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) students by 2023. A clear and inclusive process was necessary to deliver effectively on creating an institution that was stronger rather than just larger. A Strategic Planning Steering Committee led the process through evaluating external opportunities and threats, internal strengths and weaknesses, and identifying the new key strategies. Task forces comprised of 69 members of the University’s community then worked to identify goals and objectives to advance action on each of the noted strategies. An Executive and President’s Council cooperative retreat evaluated and accepted accountability for action on the goals and objectives noted. Finally, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee evaluated current practice and made recommendations adjusting the current planning, budgeting, assessing, and evaluating timelines and processes institutionwide.