Our Process

Our Process

The NKU strategic planning process began in fall 2012 with a call by President Mearns for nominees to serve on a Strategic Planning Committee. The committee of 11 members, chaired by President Mearns, was introduced at the Spring Convocation in January 2013.


During the spring and summer semesters, the planning process included:

  • A website to facilitate communication about the process and timeline
  • An online forum to receive feedback about the process and content
  • Seven work groups of 112 faculty, staff, students, and community members that examined trends and market forces
  • 10 open forums with faculty and students for discussions on themes
  • A comprehensive survey completed by nearly 1,000 faculty and staff and 1,900 students
  • 20 meetings with external constituents to discuss the needs of the region
  • A stakeholder conference with more than 100 internal and external participants to provide advice on the mission, vision, values, and SWOT analysis
  • A preliminary presentation at a summer retreat with the Board of Regents to get feedback on the direction and scope of the working draft

The strategic planning committee shared a preliminary draft of the plan with governance groups, leadership councils, and the entire University community in August 2013. That fall, additional open forums and meetings were held to receive feedback from campus constituents.

The plan was presented to the NKU Board of Regents by the Strategic Planning Committee on November 13, 2013, and the Board unanimously approved it.

Our Pledge

Executing this strategic plan requires a renewed investment of time, energy, creativity, and resources. We will take innovative approaches that make NKU more responsive, efficient, and flexible. We will strengthen existing partnerships and reach out to new partners to accelerate progress. Strategies and practices will be informed by data and research, and we will give our partners solid evidence about the University’s performance. We will garner public support and make the case for sustained, adequate resources to help fulfill the commonwealth’s objectives of increasing college attainment and fueling regional progress.

The faculty, staff, and administrators across this campus eagerly accept shared responsibility for implementing this plan. As an immediate next step, cross-divisional teams will develop focused, university-wide implementation plans to ensure that resources and activities are aligned with the strategic goals of the University over the next five years. Every division, college, department, and office will develop alignment plans that assign responsibility and set timelines.

The University pledges to dedicate existing resources and target future investments to our highest priorities. Transparent and strategic resource allocation processes will help the University stay focused on our stated course.

To ensure our success, we will identify performance metrics and monitor our progress toward the results we desire to achieve. These metrics will help us answer questions such as these: Are more students enrolling? Are they engaged in learning, research, and real-world experiences that lead to academic and career success? Are students completing their degrees? Are they progressing and graduating in a timely manner? Are we training teachers who are equipped to graduate regional high school students who are ready for college? Are graduates critical thinkers and lifelong learners? Are they ready for work? And have we inspired them to be civically engaged and lead meaningful lives?

Our diligent focus on successful student outcomes will ensure that we achieve our 2018 vision with innovative, student-centered education that empowers our graduates for a competitive, global society. Excellence. Integrity. Inclusiveness. Innovation. Collegiality. These are the core values that will guide our work as we fuel the flame for knowledge within each student.