ACU aggresively pursues strategic goals


For immediate release
Dec. 13, 2001

ABILENE, Texas -- Abilene Christian University leaders are in the process of making strategic decisions for the coming years and outlining plans to achieve goals that build academic quality and further the university's mission.

"We've chosen to pursue certain strategic directions that will make ACU stronger now and in the future," said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president, during a fall meeting with all faculty and staff. "Our aim is to be positioned among the best master's-level universities while remaining affordable to families. That creates pressure for resources. Therefore, we must consider strategic tradeoffs."

ACU is involved in an ongoing strategic reallocation process, and decisions will continue to be made during the next two years, Money said. In order to balance the enhancements ACU wants for the future, some reallocation of existing resources will be necessary.

For example, the industrial technology major will no longer be offered and the department will be closed, Money said. Students who have declared a major in IT will be able to graduate if they complete their degree requirements in a timely manner. In addition, the major in French will be discontinued; however, students who have declared a major in French will be able to graduate under their degree plan. The first two years of French will continue to be offered for students needing these classes for other degree programs.

The sign language program will be discontinued. During 2002-03, second-year courses will be offered for students who are already in the program and need these courses to complete their foreign language degree requirement.

In all three academic areas noted above, ACU officials have ensured students they can complete their current degrees at ACU, and department chairs and academic advisors will work with each student.

"This is a natural and ongoing process that is happening on college campuses across the country," said Jack Rich, executive vice president. 

Planning for these changes has been in progress for the past nine months, Money said, but the events of Sept. 11 shifted some economic assumptions and projections slightly.

"Whether we like it or not, we are significantly affected by the world economy," Money said. "However, now is the time when Christian universities such as ACU are needed more than ever, and our students have an even greater opportunity to live out our theme as they work to 'Change the World' in positive ways. This is a time for strength and confidence, and we are making intentional choices that will make ACU a stronger university."

ACU has consistently been ranked in the top quartile of quality in the U.S. News and World Report "America's Best Colleges" rankings and in the lowest quartile of tuition costs compared to similar institutions. One of ACU's strategic goals is to remain in that position.

Other goals include improving the quality of students' ACU experience and securing a solid future for the university by continuing to increase the endowment. Many of the university's goals culminate during the centennial year of 2006, including a goal to increase ACU's endowment to $250 million from its current value of approximately $140 million.

ACU's long-term plan allocates additional funds from the university's budget to accomplish the following:

1) Fully fund current investments in multicultural enrichment that have been funded up to this point by gifts from generous donors.
 
2) Reduce student-to-faculty ratios in the College of Business Administration.
 
3) Fully fund selected faculty positions in the College of Arts and Sciences that have been paid for by sources not permanently built into the budget.
 
4) Continue improving the relative level of faculty and staff salaries.
 
5) Fund increased utility costs.
 
6) Provide for the additional operating costs of bringing the Williams Performing Arts Center online.
 
7) Continue enhancing the professionalism of the university's alumni and development functions.
 
8) Preserve recent investments in faculty enrichment.
 
9) Provide for the increased cost of adequate educational and information technology.
 
10) Ensure the university can continue to adequately update and renovate facilities, replace computers and computer equipment as well as provide funding for major and minor repairs.

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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, university news coordinator, at wendy.kilmer@acu.edu, or call 915-674-2692.
Last update: Dec. 13, 2001

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