With Vision 2020: The University of Lynchburg Experience we clearly state our intention to enhance the signature Lynchburg experience that generations of students and alumni hold dear. We will do this by pursuing our primary aspiration to be nationally recognized as the leader for student engagement in the classroom, athletics, and leadership. In support of this overriding goal, we must modernize and enhance campus facilities and technological infrastructure and strengthen and foster a culture of philanthropy.
Lynchburg will be distinguished by a mix of academic rigor, experiential learning, championship athletics, leadership, and great diversity and breadth of undergraduate and graduate programs. Lynchburg will be a first choice for talented scholars, leaders, and student-athletes who seek a community of engagement, service, and active learning.
Out of necessity, we will need to improve facilities. Academic, athletic, and residential spaces will need to be improved to maximize student engagement, allow for active and collaborative learning, and support future programming growth.
As we face a future of significant change, we must rely on our alumni to stay connected and involved. Lynchburg alumni have a special fondness for the institution that is grounded in their experiences on campus. This good will represents our best opportunity for success as we build a case for advancing the institution.
This planning effort ensures that the identity, traditions, and values of University of Lynchburg – the essential foundations of the institution – will best be maintained while allowing for intentional growth to an undergraduate population of approximately 2,500 and a graduate population of 1,000.
As we look to the future, we face major demographic shifts resulting in fewer high school graduates – 10 percent fewer projected over the next decade. Competition for this dwindling pool of students has increased with public institutions in Virginia, as one example, pursuing a mandate to increase enrollments. We also face an uncertain economy with ongoing challenges in revenue growth, student recruitment, fundraising, construction, renovation, and financial aid.
We see continual changes in the demographics of our student population and must work to anticipate the needs and desires of future generations who will be more ethnically, economically, and geographically diverse. At the same time, they will come to us with increasingly sophisticated technological expectations. Lynchburg students of the future will come from a consumer-centric culture, will always be connected, and will view a college degree as a necessity – not a luxury – to a secure future.
Fortunately, Lynchburg approaches this changing environment intentionally and proactively. Undergraduate enrollment is stable with room for growth, new graduate and professional programs have been introduced with great success and increasing demand, and the new Drysdale Student Center has helped boost an already strong student experience outside of the classroom.
The University of Lynchburg community has a clear sense of who we are and the will to accomplish our goals. Our purpose in strategic planning is to enhance the LC experience, not transform it radically. As we respond to the economy and limited resources, we must identify the short- and long-term initiatives that will benefit our students the most, with both immediacy and consideration for the future. Strategic planning allows us to make choices that promise the greatest benefit to the University.
Strategic planning might best be described as a process of self-determination. What are our institutional strengths and weaknesses? Is our current mission consistent with our values and traditions? Are we envisioning our future strategically, keeping in mind ever-changing demographics, economic uncertainty, and the challenges and opportunities posed by future generations of students?
The University of Lynchburg Board of Trustees began asking these important questions – and many more – in the spring of 2015. The Board continued its conversation with students, faculty, staff, and leadership at a fall retreat. These extraordinary discussions began a planning process that is designed to set our course and ensure that the University will not only survive but thrive, as one of the nation’s preeminent mid-sized universities, combining the best of the liberal arts and residential traditions with critical and needed graduate and professional programs.
What quickly emerged from the Board retreat were four areas of focus: The University of Lynchburg Experience and Culture; Academic and Co-Curricular Programs; Facilities and Technology; and the University’s Fiscal Health and Well-being. Through a series of open forums and online discussions, the strategic planning team posed a series of questions to our community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Over the course of many months, countless working groups have synthesized and refined the many responses into Vision 2020, which focuses on the primary goal of Engagement with the critical supporting goals of Facilities/Infrastructure and Stewardship.
Vision 2020 ensures that the identity, traditions, and values of the University of Lynchburg – the essential foundations of the institution – will best be maintained while allowing for intentional growth to an undergraduate population of approximately 2,500 and a graduate population of 1,000.
While many institutions only begin such a process of self-examination and self-determination when they experience difficult times, Lynchburg begins from a position of strength. Historically an undergraduate residential institution grounded in the liberal arts, Lynchburg in recent years has expanded its graduate and professional degree offerings; completed the Drysdale Student Center; built its endowment to more than $100 million; remained strongly positioned in US News and World Report and USA Today rankings as a medium-sized, regional university; and continued to be included among Colleges that Change Lives and The Princeton Review’s Best Colleges.
Vision 2020 is a living document and, as such, will be revisited and refined as we move forward. As we reach our goals and reimagine the institution and our aspirations, we will provide regular progress reports here.
From its beginnings in the spring of 2016 when the Board of Trustees began to develop priorities, Vision 2020 has involved nearly 1,000 members of the University community.
- Strategic Planning Team reviews competitor data, recommends consideration of university status
- Student Development Long Range Plan
- Board of Trustees prioritization exercise
- Board Retreat planning
- Deans’ Council – Ideas for Growth
- Grow Athletics Plan
- Cabinet Workshop: Ways to support growth, implications of growth
- Department Chairs: Ways to support growth
- Faculty discussion with Academic Vice President
- Three open forums
- Big Ideas website goes live, soliciting input from students, faculty, staff, and alumni
- Board retreat with administration, students, faculty, staff, and alumni: Vision 2020
- Five open forums explore the Lynchburg experience, future student needs, changing environment, facility and technology needs, college vs. university
- Open forum with SGA, student groups
- Two faculty forums with Tom Longin
- Strategic Planning Team workshop explores goals, objectives
- Planners meet with SGA Senate
- Board of Trustees receives the first draft of Vision 2020
- Technology Council holds two open forums
- Cabinet retreat
- Strategic Planning Team meets regularly
- Sub groups shape plan around three goals: Engagement, Facilities, Stewardship
- Alumni Town Hall Meetings held in six cities: Boston, New York, Charlotte, Baltimore, DC, Richmond
- Three Town Hall Meetings held on campus for students, faculty, and staff
- two Town Hall Meetings held in Lynchburg for local alumni
- Kick-off Meeting
- Two Open Forums held for faculty, staff, and students
- Space Planning open forum
- Board of Trustees endorsement of Strategic Plan, October 21, 2016
University of Lynchburg, a private coeducational institution founded in 1903 in covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), offers distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs that reflect its commitment to teaching and learning, scholarship, and service to the broader community.
The mission of the University of Lynchburg is to develop students with strong character and balanced perspectives and to prepare them for engagement in a global society and for effective leadership in the civic, professional, and spiritual dimensions of life.
University of Lynchburg provides its students with a wide range of rigorous educational experiences delivered through multiple modes of instruction. Undergraduate programs are grounded in the liberal arts, enhanced by professional studies, and nurtured by a residential community. Further, the University’s quality graduate programs respond to identified community needs, advance scholarship in the discipline, and promote student career goals. University of Lynchburg extends its reach beyond the campus through experiential learning, cultural opportunities, and service by sharing the expertise and commitment of faculty, staff, and students with the broader community.
In support of its mission, the University of Lynchburg is an academic community that:
- fosters a student-centered environment
- develops the breadth of knowledge associated with liberal arts education
- develops depth of knowledge and promotes focused inquiry in academic disciplines
- respects and supports diversity
- values and celebrates diverse faith traditions
- sustains close working relationships among faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community
Revised by the Board of Trustees, October 2012
In keeping with the traditions of University of Lynchburg and consistent with our relationship with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the University affirms its commitment to a set of core values that inform the work of the University, ensuring that our planning and programs embody principles that offer educational experiences of the highest quality.
- Academic Rigor: Students and faculty meet high standards of academic excellence, intellectual honesty, and commitment to open inquiry.
- Active Learning: Students take responsibility for developing themselves into lifelong learners. Faculty foster that development, while modeling their own commitment to learning through scholarly and creative activities.
- Commitment to Success: Our programs, advising, and services provide students with the guidance and support they need in order to successfully complete their education at University of Lynchburg.
- Integrity: Our policies and procedures, our treatment of one another, and our own behaviors demonstrate a commitment to fairness, honesty, and principle.
- Diversity: Our community benefits from the contributions of individuals from a variety of ethnicities, nationalities, sexualities, religions, ages, political beliefs, and gender identities.
- Community: We work to strengthen a sense of community on campus, to foster active engagement with the larger Lynchburg community, and to maintain mutually beneficial connections with our alumni.
- Wellness: We strive to foster the well-being, in its many forms, of the members of the University community.
- Sustainability: Everyone benefits when we recognize and act upon our environmental obligations to future generations.