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Augustana Observer

Augustana develops strategic plan for 2024-2029

Augustana College and Academic Leadership Associates (ALA), a consultant firm in Southern California, have partnered to develop Augustana’s 2024-2029 strategic plan, “Augustana Unbound.” A team of Augustana College staff members and the firm’s associates have been working on the plan since January. Augustana students also received an email with an invitation to attend a virtual session held on Nov. 13 with the partners, as well as a copy of the proposed plan. 

Although not yet finalized, the strategic plan is set to be voted on in January by the Augustana Board of Trustees.  

Senior Partner of ALA, Mark Robinson, has collaborated with others to develop three main goals for Augustana to follow in the upcoming school years. According to Robinson, the first goal focuses on engaged and hands-on learning for students.

“Here’s what the goal says, prioritize engaged learning, anchor, curricular and co-curricular learning around interdisciplinary, active, hands-on learning to prepare graduates for success as impactful leaders,” Robinson said. 

Within this plan, Augustana wants to prioritize hands-on learning, so students can work within the field that interests them. Mike Diamond, managing partner of ALA, has been working closely alongside this proposal as well. 

“It’s the idea to break down the barriers that sometimes exist between the university and the community,” Diamond said. “That sense of being able to take what goes on in university and find ways to have a chance to have experiential learning and things happening, that you can explore and learn on the job and then take back to the classroom and do it in an integrated way.” 

According to Robinson, the second goal of the strategic plan revolves around helping students find their path in life. According to Augustana Unbound, the goal is to make student success a top priority.  

“Goal two says maximize student potential, make student success our central focus, by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of our students so we can help them achieve their life and career goals,” Robinson said. 

The final goal is to partner with the community of Rock Island to better the neighborhoods around campus and increase “neighborhood vitality,” according to “Augustana Unbound.” 

“So the idea is that the college wants to be a good neighbor to the city of Rock Island and the Quad Cities, broadly speaking, and in doing so, more richly integrate with the community,” Robinson said. “Where people in the community feel like college is a part of their lives and a resource to them, and people at the college feel a part of the community in all the ways one does.”

Augustana College plans to partner with Rock Island to better understand what they can do to improve relations with the community surrounding the campus, including safety concerns.  Augustana Alumnus and Associate VP of Finance, Jacob Bobbitt, is a staff member try-chair of the strategic planning process. 

Bobbitt, a former student at Augustana College, recalls the sort of campus “bubble” Augustana has. The strategic plan hopes to better merge the Augustana campus and the surrounding community. 

“So, in a way, knocking down those walls, but also focusing on safety and teaming up with the Quad Cities and the community to make it safe close to campus, but then also to build connections in the community to do community-based education,” Bobbitt said.

The goals being made won’t take immediate effect on campus, but over the course of several years, the college hopes students will be able to see adjustments made because of the strategic plan. 

“I think the folks who have been working on this want students to have the benefits of it as soon as possible. But I mean, think about all the different courses in the college right?” Robinson said. “So, I think it might be the kind of thing where with each passing year, you’d see changes in more courses or in more things that you do. So fewer in the first year and more in the second and more after, and by the time we’re five years out, it’s a demonstrably different kind of experience.”

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