Introduction and Overview

Introduction and Overview

Coastal Carolina University President David A. DeCenzo

Since the beginning of my presidency in 2007, we have taken great steps to grow a comprehensive university with exceptional programs, dedicated staff and faculty, and an expanded campus footprint, with a focus on collectively supporting heightened achievement and success among our students and a broader reputation as a high-quality institution of higher education. The changing environment of higher education and the shifts occurring within our disciplines and among our students, both current and potential, demand that we make adjustments to assure our continued success. We cannot remain passive, but rather must accelerate our commitment to create and support high-quality transformational learning experiences that are accessible, ensure the ongoing professional development and currency of our staff and faculty, and operate with a philosophy that enhances sustainability in all of our practices. This commitment will guarantee that we will be effective in meeting our mission to “develop students who are knowledgeable in their chosen fields and prepared to be productive, responsible, healthy citizens with a global perspective.”

Over the past several years, our campus has committed to experiential learning as a core focus of the educational transformation for our students. For this reason, the plan that will carry Coastal Carolina University forward to 2021 is entitled “High-Impact Engagement: The Coastal Carolina University 2016 - 2021 Strategic Plan.” The plan focuses on ensuring academic excellence and instructional quality, guiding student success, supporting an engaged staff and faculty, assuring accessibility and inclusion, communicating the achievements and commitments of Coastal Carolina University effectively, and adhering firmly to practices that assure our financial stability and appropriate infrastructure. Attention to these practices will empower us to deliver programs that provide all our students the opportunity to achieve the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to realize their professional dreams and to engage as active members of their communities, both local and global.

We began this process by developing a Strategic Planning Steering Committee that represented voices from a broad range of Coastal Carolina University campus community members. We focused on our mission statement and realistically assessed the University in a number of critical ways. We listened through focus groups and surveys and shared those results with the campus community for further review and idea generation. We evaluated changes in the higher education environment, and we assessed the activities of our peers and aspirant institutions to determine how we could better deliver a high-quality learning environment. Six key strategies were identified, and cross-campus task forces were developed to bring clarity on specific and measurable goals and objectives with clear timelines for completion. We gave considerable attention to the implementation of this plan, and revised campuswide processes for annual planning, budgeting and assessment as a result. The cooperation, enthusiasm and energy that wove this process together remained undiminished, and within six months, the new plan was endorsed by students, staff and faculty. The resulting comprehensive strategic plan is presented on the pages that follow.

I am confident that this plan charts a bold and productive future for Coastal Carolina University. Its heightened emphasis on engagement across all sectors of the institution will help drive an improved higher education environment for our state, region and world, and will engender a lifelong dedication to CCU. I welcome your continued involvement and support in advancing the future of Coastal Carolina University, a place of proud tradition, integrity and excellence.


David A. DeCenzo
President, Coastal Carolina University