The 2015+ Salus University Strategic Plan is the next chapter in an institutional planning process that began in the late 1970s and has resulted in the transformation of the single purpose Pennsylvania College of Optometry, which was founded in 1919, to a specialized graduate health professions University that currently enrolls over 1100 students in its four Colleges and thirteen graduate and professional degree programs.
While the attainment of university status was the capstone event of the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan, much of the growth in academic programs resulted from the most recent 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, “Engineering a New University,” which added Public Health, Biomedicine, Occupational Therapy and, most recently, Speech-Language Pathology degree programs.
At the outset of the current planning process, the University conducted an extensive environmental scan of all of its constituents, including students, faculty, alumni, preceptors, members of University Board of Trustees, and College advisory boards, as well as thought leaders in both higher education and healthcare. Two overarching themes emerged from the scanning process, the first being the need to consolidate the gains achieved over the past decade of unprecedented growth, the second being to prepare the University and its graduates to take an active and prominent role in the nation’s changing healthcare delivery system.
A decision was made to adopt a mission, vision and credo that will guide the University to and through its 2019 centennial anniversary. In 2016, the University’s mission statement was updated to further distinguish the University’s mission to its constituents. Given the rapid pace of change occurring in both the higher education and healthcare marketplaces, the University has developed a three-year renewable strategic plan in place of committing to a traditional five-year action plan.
The first three years of the 2015+ Salus University Strategic Plan were initially focused on the theme “Consolidating the Gains” and included three major priorities: quality, innovation and value/fiscal responsibility. All of these priorities were driven by a sense of urgency to stabilize and systematically cultivate current programs, as well as to bolster our keystone optometry program, which had lost ground during our growth period. These touchstones serve as the foundation for all institutional actions and initiatives that are intended to develop the academic and administrative support systems necessary to insure and preserve the integrity and quality of all academic programs. Further, they serve to consolidate the significant gains achieved over the past decade and, finally, to position both the University and its graduates to assume integral roles in the nation’s developing health care delivery system.
In 2016, after confirming that the University’s 2015-2016 goals and objectives had been achieved, the University began to consider the next stage of its Strategic Plan beyond Consolidating the Gains. The focus for this next stage is the enhancement and growth of the University’s offerings. To prepare for this next stage, the University is (1) continuing to assess the educational impact and delivery model for each of its academic programs as well as the efficiency and productivity of its administrative units in order to put forth recommendations for programmatic and institutional improvement and (2) beginning to explore potential new academic programs. The University plans to utilize the consortium model and strategic alliances as vehicles for academic program improvement and growth and administrative support.