Since March 2019, the Hilbert community, including the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and alumni has been engaged in an intensive planning process involving four distinct elements: “Enhancing our Franciscan Mission and Identity, Growing Enrollment, Strengthening Academic Performance and the Student Experience and Strengthening the Financial Position,” which assessed our overall challenges and opportunities. I am happy to report that the strategic planning process is now moving to the next phase in sharing Hilbert’s vision.
The Hilbert 2025 Planning Group, a 12-member Committee that consisted of a broad cross-section of faculty and administrative leaders, was responsible for guiding Hilbert’s strategic planning efforts and discussion. It was a highly productive and collegial conversation, and it was energizing to work with such an experienced and collaborative group of colleagues.
The Committee was charged with reviewing and prioritizing the recommendations that emerged in the pre-planning process in light of the challenges facing higher education and Hilbert specifically, as well as to integrate other planning efforts at the College. This group then shared their work with the faculty and staff for their valuable input, and will continue dialogue throughout this academic year and into the next to continue the discussion and ensure that Hilbert 2025 remains a living breathing document as we move forward.
I greatly appreciate the time, dedication and hard work that has gone into developing the foundation of Hilbert 2025. I invite you to read the plan and embrace the strategic initiatives to understand how you may contribute your time, talent or treasure in supporting Hilbert and these bold next steps.
My hope is that the efforts of the Hilbert community will position Hilbert to respond to challenges and opportunities in the years ahead, while remaining innovative, engaged, and forward-thinking.
Our intent is to grow enrollment while deepening our Franciscan and Catholic college mission, strengthening our financial position, optimizing our current intellectual and physical assets, and fulfilling our potential as a vital liberal arts institution in Western New York.
Enhancing our Franciscan Mission and Identity
Strengthening Academic Performance and the Student Experience
Strengthening Financial Position
We will enhance our Catholic, Franciscan identity by deepening our engagement with our values and heritage. Our understanding of the dignity and worth of every human being inspires us to serve and develop all members of our community, and to give special welcome and support to those among us who experience marginalization and injustice.
Ensure that our Catholic, Franciscan mission is comprehensively integrated, widely known, and effectively measured.
1.1 Foster employee engagement with the Catholic, Franciscan mission of Hilbert College by developing a robust and ongoing orientation and formation program, including a Virtual Assisi experience.
1.2 Develop a hiring program to recruit and support a diverse, equitable, and mission-driven workforce.
1.3 Infuse Catholic Social Teaching and the Franciscan tradition into our academic programs, particularly within the Hilbert Blueprint and online.
1.4 Design and implement a college-wide mission assessment process.
Cultivate a shared Catholic, Franciscan identity across campus in and through visible celebrations of our mission and heritage.
2.1 Foster a deeper appreciation of sacred space and Catholic sacramental life by enhancing St. Clare Chapel with renovations and refreshed liturgical decorum.
2.2 Commission a mural on campus to celebrate our mission, history, and heritage
2.3 Engage the entire campus in a celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph
2.4 Create an interactive Mission & Heritage Exhibit inside Franciscan Hall.
Strengthen our commitment to social justice and create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive college.
3.1 Ensure appropriate exposure to diversity throughout the curriculum.
3.2 Create a community that respects and appreciates the inherent dignity and uniqueness of all.
3.2.1 Establish a diversity, equity, and inclusion training and development program.
3.2.2 Implement and publicize a biennial cultural climate survey with targets for improvement.
Enhance the student experience of our Catholic, Franciscan mission.
4.1 Develop digital ministry programming to nurture spiritual development and mission engagement among students.
4.2 Affirm our common beliefs by increasing ecumenical dialogue and interfaith engagement.
4.3 Design an annually occurring student retreat experience.
We will diversify and develop our enrollment to strengthen the college’s financial position. In addition to increasing applications for traditional enrollment, we will improve the experience of our prospective students, including application and recruitment processes, communication, services, and visits. We will seek new populations of students, expanding Hilbert’s impact to include online and international student programs, increased graduate programs, and a more robust athletics strategy.
Generate sufficient applications from prospective students to meet or exceed overall traditional student enrollment growth projections.
1.1 Increase first-year student enrollment.
1.2 Increase new, transfer student enrollment.
1.3 Increase international student enrollment.
1.4 Increase graduate student enrollment.
1.5 Increase brand awareness in primary, secondary, and tertiary markets with key audiences.
1.6 Improve efficiency in brand/enrollment advertising.
1.7 Increase and improve engagement, involvement, and affinity through storytelling.
1.8 Increase the number of unduplicated student-athletes.
Work with partners to improve processes, communications, and service to all prospective student populations.
2.1 Create campaigns to improve communication and information flow to increase conversion rates from prospect through deposit/enrolled.
2.2 Deploy new financial aid matrix that leverages institutional aid to better position Hilbert to meet enrollment targets and increase net tuition revenue as well.
2.3 Begin review of selecting and implementing a new constituent relationship management system (CRM).
2.4 Conduct external brand audit.
Develop new pipelines of students to expand Hilbert’s footprint in the region and beyond.
3.1 Collaborate with graduate faculty and share admissions data to determine new programs or program modifications that will increase revenue.
3.2 Engage with firm to market, recruit and enroll international students.
Improve the campus visit experience.
4.1 Redesign the campus tour program to take advantage of the upgrades to campus signage and branding initiatives.
4.2 Conduct additional training of Hilbert Ambassadors and tour guides to ensure key messaging and strong features of the Hilbert Experience.
4.3 Continue to engage faculty and staff in all admissions events and with all visitors.
4.4 Work to involve our alumni admissions volunteers in college fairs and campus events.
4.5 Improve “curb appeal” of various areas on campus.
Leverage athletics to better engage, recruit, and retain students.
5.1 Reintroduce Men’s Volleyball; Transition/hire a full-time Head Women’s & Men’s Volleyball Coach.
5.2 Review and apply for NCAA grants that provide funding to support females and/or ethnic minorities wishing to pursue careers in college athletics, i.e., NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Internship Grant; NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Strategic Alliance Matching Grant; NCAA Division III Assistant Coaching Enhancement Grant
5.3 Partner with Admissions and Advancement and Alumni/ae Offices to connect with alumni/ae for enhanced student-athlete recruitment and leadership development opportunities. Offer enhanced athletics alumni/ae events.
5.4 Transition/hire a full-time Head Men’s & Women’s Cross Country + Outdoor Track & Field Coach.
5.5 Transition/hire a full-time Head Women’s Soccer Coach and Coordinator of Recreation, Club Sports, and Intramurals through a partnership with Student Life and Student Activities.
5.6 Develop and maintain facilities that will improve the campus athletic experience for students including baseball, softball, all-purpose fields, and an outdoor track.
5.7 Athletic Turf + Track Complex to support Soccer, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track & Field, (Field Hockey).
5.7.1 Hawks Fitness Center.
5.7.2 Hawks Student-Athlete Lounge.
5.7.3 Hafner Recreation Center Gymnasium Scoreboards; Videoboard; Flooring.
5.7.4 Enhancements in Hafner Recreation Center to include: locker room(s); carpeting; baseboard; trophy case(s); storage areas.
Be identified as a higher education hub for the Southtowns that delivers solutions that advance workforce development, intellectual discourse, and cultural expression.
6.1 Improve and centralize on-campus event planning and execution.
6.2 Increase revenue from hosting on-campus conferences and events.
6.3 Improve community engagement, with both business and civic entities.
6.4 Enhance and improve conferences related to the Institute for Law and Justice.
6.5 Partner with outside organizations to build conference and event center in the community.
Restructure and expand educational experiences that lead to engaged learning, alternate pathways to degree completion, and community engagement.
7.1 Develop 2+2, 3+2, etc. programs to establish the College as a regional hub for higher education.
7.2 Hilbert College will develop and deliver high quality online programs that will include online student supports.
7.3 Strengthen community engagement to reduce barriers, strengthen current and build new partnerships that meet the needs of Hilbert College and the surrounding community.
We will strengthen Hilbert’s academic performance and the student experience, resulting in greater student success and retention. A student’s education is dependent on an inclusive living and learning environment, which we will support by increasing the diversity of our staff, faculty, and students, and enhancing our resources for our students. Expanding academic opportunities and educational experiences will help us to be identified as a higher education hub for the Southtowns.
Establish and enhance a highly engaged academic and campus experience that supports students’ pathways to success.
1.1 Develop and implement a comprehensive student retention plan to reach a 75% retention rate and 55% graduation rate.
1.2 Create a support structure to recruit and retain a diverse student body.
1.3 Enhance the student centered advising and registration process.
Develop a vibrant campus environment that strengthens student engagement and foster student development.
2.1 Build a dynamic and engaging residence program that will serve 35% of the undergraduate student population.
2.2 Provide students with the skills and resources to become successful leaders on campus and in the community.
2.3 Enhance support of student health, safety, and wellness allowing them to grow personally and develop professionally.
Increase and expand new academic program opportunities to support enrollment growth.
3.1 Increase the number of high enrollment programs.
3.2 Provide internship and engaged learning opportunities for students to gain workplace experience.
3.3 Implement a program review process to identify new programs, improve existing programs and identify programs that no longer serve the needs of students and the community.
Ensure a robust culture of scholarly research and instruction to support a strong liberal arts experience.
4.1 Evaluate and update the Hilbert Blueprint throughout campus so that it reflects the student experience.
4.2 Develop a strong first year-program for undergraduate students.
4.3 Build a strong undergraduate research program to increase student engagement.
Develop a campus culture that values an innovative liberal arts education, scholarly engagement, and enhanced collaboration.
5.1 Develop data dashboards and a data governance system to streamline generation and acquisition of information.
5.2 Strengthen professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
5.3 Hilbert College faculty, staff, and administration will participate in a strong shared governance program to support the growth of the College and student achievement.
5.4 Create a retention and recruitment plan to develop a more diverse faculty and staff.
We will focus on philanthropic growth and efficiency, as well as investment in our campus assets, to strengthen, grow, and sustain the college. We will build and grow a strong Annual Fund program and seek appropriate private, corporate, and public foundation and government funding. We will develop and improve our technology infrastructure to meet the needs of today’s students
Strategy #1: Build and grow a strong Annual Fund program
1.1 College will increase unrestricted donor contributions annually by 20% to support student needs.
1.2 Increase donor outreach and charitable revenue with targeted solicitation approaches.
1.3 Increase the number of alumni, donor and prospect contacts by 100% to enhance in person, electronic and social media marketing.
Strategy #2: Improve and expand existing facilities to enhance the learning environment
2.1 Five-year facilities/capital projects plan.
2.2 Swan Auditorium projection, audio and lighting technology replaced/upgraded.
2.3 Athletic Field design and proposal for turf field secured.
Strategy #3: Present compelling case for mission fulfillment to private, corporate and public foundation and government funding
3.1 Establish list of private and corporate foundations (local, statewide and national) with criteria that aligns with key initiatives.
3.2 Strengthen and grow relationships with local, state and federal representatives to grow funding opportunities both through grants and legislative directives.
Strategy #1: Provide secure and equitable student access to learning resources and support services across the campus
1.1 Acquire and/or develop mechanisms to inform advisors and student alerts to improve student success and improve retention and persistence.
1.2 Develop unified interface to seamlessly develop reports and automated features directly to students to improve communication, academic success and student life.
1.3 Develop collaborative learning space throughout campus for student engagement.
Strategy #2: Develop and improve secure software and hardware systems to increase institutional efficiencies and provide long-term support for campus needs
2.1 Develop a technology infrastructure plan to assure replacement cycle of hardware systems.
2.2 Upgrade current donor database to enhance staff efficiencies and enhanced prospect and donor communication.
2.3 Upgrade and maintain the network infrastructure to support comprehensive wireless, voice, video and data communications with high availability and recoverability.
2.4 Improve website maintenance and digital communication processes and procedures.
Strategy #1: Develop and sustain a Trustee body and senior staff that can confidently identify areas for future investment and strategy
1.1 Facilitate meetings and programs to identify areas of potential growth, innovation, professional development and best practices.
Strategy #2: Strengthen the visibility and position of the college in the Buffalo Niagara region, with a focus on building awareness and accessibility to the Southtowns
2.1 Identify current faculty and staff memberships and professional connections, as well as institutional memberships.
2.2 Recruit and launch the Hilbert 2025 Advisory Council comprised of business and community leaders and connectors.
2.3 Seek to partner with public and private K-12 schools to establish partnerships that will increase campus visibility and expose more students to Hilbert programs.
2.4 Identify educational, business, municipal and not-for-profit partners that strengthen the College’s market position.
Strategy #3: Identify strategies to improve the utilization of all the college’s facilities
3.1 Contract with consultants/recruiters that will assist in recruiting groups and individuals to host programming on campus.
3.2 Encourage academic and athletic departments to develop camps based on areas of demand.
3.3 Establish a Summer Scholars program, including working with faculty and staff to create joint research projects.
3.4 K-8 Catholic School/STREAM partnership to develop a new summer program of CSI Camps and other educational programs.
is recognition and reverence for God’s presence in all creation including ourselves, others, and the environment.
is selflessly working and advocating for the well-being of others, especially the poor, the under-educated, and those in need.
is heartfelt concern for another person’s suffering or need, accompanied by action to help better the situation.
is God’s love radiating from the core of one’s being to others, resulting in non-violence, forgiveness, reconciliation, and harmony.
is the desire for a future good, joined with perseverance and trust that it can be attained with God's help.
is a conviction - outwardly manifested in an exuberant demeanor - that throughout the good and despite the bad times in life, the Spirit of God is always within us.
is firm adherence to doing what is right no matter what the circumstances may be.
is the ability to imagine what can be with God’s help.
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