Strategic Plan 2011-2017

Revised Fall 2014


Initiated in the spring of 2009, a year-long process of campus discussions, open forums, and intense committee work resulted in, Sacred Heart University’s Strategic Plan: 2011-2016. In Spring 2014, as we reached the midpoint of the strategic plan, recognizing some major accomplishments and the fact that many of our objectives have been completed or are well on the way to a successful finish, we decided to implement a structured and brief review process. We also decided to extend the current strategic plan by one year into 2017.     

The review was appropriate with continued dramatic change in the external environment as well as internal changes.  The review process also gave us opportunity to benefit from the input of our Board of Trustees, senior leaders, faculty and staff who have joined our community after initial development of the plan.

We remain dedicated to our mission, core values and positioning; therefore the five goals of the strategic plan remain, but we reviewed and revised the supporting objectives and strategies. The five broad goals of the five-year Strategic Plan are: 

Goal 1:  Increase Academic Excellence and Distinctiveness

Goal 2:  Develop a Student Development Plan of Learning and Living outside the Classroom

Goal 3: Build New Facilities and Upgrade Existing Infrastructure to be More Competitive

Goal 4: Strengthen the Long-term Financial Stability of the University

Goal 5: Deepen the Commitment to the Mission and Catholic Identity of the University 

What follows is an explication of the mission, core values, positioning statement, and updated objectives and strategies built upon these five goals.

Sacred Heart University Mission Statement

Sacred Heart University is a coeducational, independent, comprehensive institution of higher learning in the Catholic intellectual tradition whose primary objective is to prepare men and women to live in and make their contributions to the human community. 

The University aims to assist in the development of people knowledgeable of self, rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, responsive to social and civic obligations, and able to respond to an ever-changing world. It does this by calling forth the intellectual potential of its students, nurturing each one's spiritual and moral growth, and deepening in them a sense of social responsibility. The University is committed to combining education for life with preparation for professional excellence. 

Sacred Heart University is Catholic in tradition and spirit. As a Catholic university, it seeks to play its appropriate role in the modern world. It exemplifies in its life the Judeo-Christian values of the God-given freedom and dignity of every human person. Inspired by the ecumenical spirit of the Second Vatican Council, Sacred Heart University welcomes men and women of all religious traditions and beliefs who share its concerns for truth, scholarship, the dignity of the human person, freedom, and the betterment of human society.  It values religious diversity as enhancing the University community and creating opportunities for dialogue in the common search for truth. Through its curricular and co-curricular activities and campus ministry programs, the University provides the context in which students have the opportunity to appropriate in a critical fashion their own religious traditions. 

Sacred Heart University challenges its students to think critically, analyze carefully, evaluate with a sense of justice and proportion, and convey conclusions in an intelligible and articulate fashion. The University provides the environment in which its students can develop the aesthetic dimension of life by nurturing their abilities to imagine, create, and appreciate. It assists students to acquire a rich understanding of their own cultural and family heritages so as to assume their responsibilities as conveyors and creators of culture and family. 

As a community of teachers and scholars, Sacred Heart University exists for the pursuit of truth. It joins with other colleges and universities in the task of expanding human knowledge and deepening human understanding. It encourages and supports the scholarly and artistic work of its faculty and students. Further, it has a responsibility to share its resources and its special gifts and talents for the betterment of the human community. All members of the University community are encouraged strongly to participate in the wider community through service to others, especially the poor. 

From its founding, the University has been recognized for its caring approach to students. This expresses the University's belief that each student is born with a unique set of qualities and skills. It respects the personal and academic freedom of each of its members while, at the same time, fostering a genuine experience of community. By so doing, it creates the environment in which each person in the University shares in common goals and a common commitment to truth, justice, and concern for others. 

Mission and Purpose

Sacred Heart University’s fundamental mission is to assist in the development of human beings and of society by preparing its students to live in and make their contributions to the global community. 

The University’s Strategic Plan represents the institution’s ambitious ideas and prioritized initiatives to achieve its goal of becoming a leading, comprehensive, Catholic university that fulfills its mission in an international context.   The Strategic Plan is a way for the members of Sacred Heart University to live out the mission, shaping decisions that impact key aspects of University life and prioritizing competing goods. The University is committed to:

  1. Nurturing the full human growth, intellectual development, and professional preparation of its students;
  2. Fostering student learning;
  3. Searching for truth; and
  4. Serving the larger community, Church and society.

In addition, the University affirms its special responsibility to provide educational and learning opportunities to economically disadvantaged people, especially in Fairfield County.

Core Values

The core values of Sacred Heart University are its guiding principles. They define what the University stands for and are, therefore, of intrinsic value to the University community. Flowing from its Catholic tradition, the University’s core values are the following:

  • Preservation, transmission, and development of the Catholic intellectual and the liberal arts traditions;
  • Commitment to excellence in all that we do;
  • Pursuit of truth and knowledge as intrinsically valuable;
  • Promotion of the common good of society; and
  • Recognition of the dignity and worth of every human being. 

These core values guide the University’s operating practices, business strategies, and cultural norms. Sacred Heart University is committed to these values for the long term. 

Positioning Sacred Heart University for the 21st Century 

Sacred Heart University is a leading, comprehensive Catholic university that fulfills its mission in an international context. 

Goal 1:  Increase Academic Excellence and Distinctiveness: Sacred Heart University will enhance its distinctive commitment to academic excellence demonstrated by the work of students who take responsibility for their learning and who are encouraged and guided by a faculty dedicated to innovative teaching and actively engaged in scholarly and creative work that advances their fields. 

  • Promote Active and Engaged Learning. The Faculty will be challenged to use pedagogy that facilitates any high impact practice that promotes students’ autonomous and engaged learning.    
  • Increase Connectedness of Full-time Undergraduate Students to Full-time Faculty in the Freshman Year.    
  • Develop and increase opportunities and expectations for Faculty development targeted at pedagogical best practice, increased convergence of academic standards, setting and communicating clear expectations, developing research-intensive courses, and facilitating autonomous student achievement of expectations.     
  • Improve student quality by improving the academic profile of new and returning students to the University. 
  • Strengthen the academic reputation of the University, its colleges, departments, and programs by expanding its graduate programs. 
  • Increase Global Awareness and Global Learning Opportunities.

Goal 2:  Develop a structured, mission-driven student development plan that intentionally educates the whole person within a campus-wide living and learning community and is a seamlessly integrated extension of classroom learning.

  • Create a culture that supports, recognizes, and requires University-wide collaboration in the development and ongoing vitality of a campus-wide living and learning community for students with the explicit goal of freshman retention rate of at least 84%. 
  • Ensure students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed career choices which reflect their distinctive gifts, values, and goals and lead to professional success.                                                                    
  • Promote self-knowledge and respect for others by creating a community that engages diverse cultures and ensures that all students are active participants in this aspect of the community. 
  • Facilitate students’ awareness and fulfillment of their social & civic obligations & the development of a life-long passion for service. 
  • Create a culture on campus that educates, promotes, and supports mental and physical health and wellness.


Goal 3:  Implement strategies to build new facilities and upgrade/maintain existing infrastructure for the university to be more competitive.

  • New Construction:  Develop and begin implementation of a 10-year master University capital and infrastructure plan based on appropriate opportunities and enrollment and program priorities that inform the budget planning process. 
  • Renovation:  Develop and begin implementation of a 10-year I.T. and Facilities Renovation and Maintenance Master Plan. 
  • IT Services:  Provide a robust infrastructure for campus-wide IT systems needed to support the academic programs and administrative services. 
  • Safety and Security: Ensure a safe and secure campus environment. 
  • Sustainable Operations: Develop and promote conservation and sustainability and publicize appropriately. 
  • Risk Management: Cultivate a systemic approach to risk identification and management that assists in better, more risk-informed, strategic decisions.

Goal 4:  Strengthen the Long-term Financial Stability of the University: Develop and implement business plans that strengthen the long-term financial health of the University, while optimizing net revenues and ensuring transparent and strategic resource allocation.

  • Advancement: Position the Office of University Advancement to be a best in class program in support of expanding the University’s capacity to raise philanthropic contributions, from all constituents, in support of the priorities of the University.
  • Enrollment:  Develop and implement a Strategic Enrollment Plan that considers academic excellence, infrastructure capacity and projects the economic effect of current and new programs.   
  • Human Resources: Leverage human capital by developing and strengthening the University culture consistent with its mission. Ensure that the quality and productivity of Sacred Heart University employees continue to serve as a primary competitive advantage. 
  • Establish a transparent financial reporting structure that measures the implementation of the Strategic Plan with key performance and financial indicators, specific metrics and benchmarks. 
  • Marketing & Communications:  Maintain new University branding that is tied to strategic plan and positioning. Review enrollment marketing plans and budgets, particularly in graduate programs, to support enrollment growth called for in strategic plan.

Goal 5:  Deepen the commitment to the Mission and Catholic Identity in the life of the University Community.

  • Engage students in a community that understands, appreciates and is committed to the shared mission and Catholic identity of the University in order to foster holistic intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth. 
  • Consciously support the Catholic Intellectual Tradition throughout the Core Curriculum in supportive and innovative ways. 
  • Rooted in the Catholic worldview, especially Matthew 25, and supported by a robust intellectual tradition that has evolved over the past two millennia, the University seeks to promote in all its students and faculty an appreciation of and commitment to service and social justice as an important part of the holistic education of good citizens contributing to the common good.  
  • Foster active participation in the liturgical and spiritual life of the University