The St. Mary's College of Maryland Board of Trustees reviewed significant progress made by the College as implementation of the 2023-2026 strategic plan got underway. The Board also approved $1.66 million in Plant Fund Capital Budget projects to be completed over the summer and several other items.
"St. Mary's College of Maryland was pleased to report significant progress on our first semester of implementing our 2023-2026 strategic plan, The Rising Tide," said President Tuajuanda C. Jordan, PhD. "The Rising Tide builds on the momentum of our two prior strategic plans – one foundational and one transitional – to be a transformational process."
“The progress we heard today from across campus reflects the hard work of students, faculty and staff alike in building a truly caring community,” said Susan L. Dyer, chair of the Board of Trustees. "This is particularly significant considering the challenges confronting higher education today. This plan addresses innovative programming, community wellness including mental health, empowering students for success, and engaging with the local community as a regional resource.”
The College's three-year strategic plan, The Rising Tide, was a focus of much of the board's discussion as the College's leadership reported on the first full semester's implementation. The Rising Tide's four pillars - to create a unique honors college identity, empower students for success, build a vibrant multicultural institution and become a sought-after community resource - have been the focus of an integrated, campus-wide effort. The strategic plan website (https://www.smcm.edu/
Senior leadership provided detailed updates to the board on strategic plan initiatives that are currently being implemented grouped in three broad areas: Recruit, Retain and Rise. Recruitment efforts include not only initiatives aimed at student recruitment but also at attracting the best faculty and staff. This includes, in addition to building on the College’s commitment to the state of Maryland to attract and support first-generation and traditionally underserved student populations, initiatives to bolster out-of-state and international recruitment. Notably, the applicant pool for fall 2024 is double that of 2019, with other indicators all showing progress toward admission goals.
Similarly, retention efforts include strengthening the system of support and community building to improve student retention while also fostering efforts to retain and develop faculty and staff talent. A campus wide student retention effort; improved support for students and faculty pursuing awards, grants and fellowships; and a comprehensive wellness program support these goals.
“Rise” efforts focus on community outreach, both on and off campus. Focused marketing and promotion efforts in support of the National Public Honors College brand and the College’s Learning through Experiential and Applied Discovery (LEAD) initiative help drive this effort. A robust series of on-campus events, centered around the Nancy R. & Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center and signature events such as the River Concert Series, the Mulberry Music Festival and the Governor’s Cup yacht race help engage the local and regional community, while traditional alumni-focused events such as Hawktoberfest and Alumni Weekend strengthen bonds within the internal campus community.
Supporting all of the strategic plan efforts is Taking the LEAD, the College’s five-year, $20 million fundraising campaign. The board noted that, midway through its fourth year, the campaign has already achieved 95% of its goal and continues to make progress through dedicated fundraising efforts. Most recently, a “Taking the LEAD Tour” of alumni events across Maryland has generated significant momentum in mobilizing additional financial support.