Ball State University’s strategic plan, Destination 2040: Our Flight Path, resulted from months of public meetings, research, and planning. Guided by a 10-person steering committee and an established set of guiding principles, this process involved collecting input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and our community partners to ensure our success with this effort.

Project Summary

Planning began in Spring 2018. During this first phase, eight working groups gathered and analyzed the information we needed about the external environment, institutional trends, characteristics, and distinctive attributes of our University. During this time, we also developed a mission, vision, and values survey, conducted open forums that sought ideas and inspiration, and developed a virtual crowdsourcing tool.

Efforts continued through Summer 2018 as we concluded our research and synthesized all of the information and input we collected so that we could begin developing a draft of the strategic plan.

Then, in Fall 2018, we unveiled a draft of our proposed strategic plan and collected feedback. After doing so, we were able to revise the plan and finalize it for the Board of Trustees endorsement in December 2018.

Guiding Principles

Ball State University's mission is achieved through collective efforts of our faculty, staff, and administration and through the activities of the University's colleges, programs, and departments. The University's strategic plan represents the shared vision, values, and goals of the entire University community and is the unifying instrument that optimizes the use of available resources and talent toward the achievement of the mission.

To build on the University's strong foundation, ensure a focused and integrated approach, and encourage stakeholder ownership in the plan's success, Ball State University engaged in a strategic planning process that was guided by the following principles.

The planning process encouraged the active participation of faculty, staff, students, alumni, community leaders, and other constituent groups.

The planning process involved cross-divisional collaboration to ensure the integration of strategies across functional lines for optimization of results.

Planning deliberations were communicated regularly with the campus community, and senior leadership made strategic decisions in a timely, open, and transparent way.

The plan is based on systematically gathered and analyzed information.

The plan reflects the University's distinctive role and articulates how the institution adds value for students, the community, the region, and the state.

The plan aligns with and supports the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s strategic plan, “Reaching Higher, Delivering Value,” and the Indiana performance funding formula.

The plan establishes ambitious goals yet is mindful of the realities of the University's current fiscal environment and those that are expected to become a reality during the planning horizon.

The plan provides the strategic foundation upon which operational action plans can be developed and executed.

The final plan serves as a guide for aligning the University's human, physical, technological, information, and financial resources with the University's strategic priorities.

The plan incorporates performance metrics that are measurable and that demonstrate the University's progress toward achievement of stated goals. Further, the University will monitor its progress and let that inform future actions as we seek continuous improvement.

The plan builds upon, but is not bound by, the work already represented by activities and documents such as the strategic enrollment plan and campus master plan.

The plan reflects the University’s commitment to the Beneficence Pledge.

Although all ideas and sources of advice were considered, the final plan is based on informed decisions and priorities.

People Involved

Strategic Planning Committee

In January 2018, President Mearns charged the Strategic Planning Committee with designing and leading the planning process. Members, representing the perspective of the students, faculty, staff, and community, have committed to following a set of guiding principles as they conducted their work.

  • Jennifer Blackmer, Associate Provost for Entrepreneurial Learning and Professor of Theatre
  • Delaina Boyd, Associate Vice President of Community Engagement
  • Jean Crosby, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ball State University Foundation
  • Hollis Hughes, Board of Trustees Emeritus and Ball State University Alumnus
  • Linh Nguyen Littleford, Professor of Psychological Science
  • James Lowe, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management
  • Susan McDowell, Associate Vice President for Research and Professor of Biology
  • Jennifer Palilonis, George and Fances Ball Distinguished Professor of Multi-media Journalism
  • Jacqueline Pozadas, Undergraduate Student of Political Science and Legal Studies, member of Student Government Association, member of Phi Mu, member of Latinx Student Union
  • Ro-Ann Royer Engle, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

Faculty and staff from different colleges, departments, and divisions gathered and analyzed vital information about the external environment as well as institutional trends, characteristics, and distinctive attributes of the University. The Strategic Planning Committee considered their reports during the visioning and priority-setting process.

The charge of the Working Group (WING) on Demographic/Labor Market Projections was to provide assistance to the Strategic Planning Committee in the following ways:

  • Gather, review, and analyze data and other background materials on demographic/labor market projections that are influencing the future of the University, including, but not limited to, regional population projections; regional college readiness data; regional/state educational attainment rates; high school graduation rates; regional occupational projections and labor market data; and other demographic/labor market projections. (Note: A vast amount of work has taken place by the Strategic Enrollment Planning Steering Committee over the prior several months. To avoid duplication of effort, the working group was encouraged to check first with that committee regarding information they may have already compiled regarding population projections, college readiness, and high school graduation rates.)
  • Based upon readings, analyses, discussions and input from subject matter experts and working group members, prepare a brief paper summarizing the demographic/labor market projections that should be considered as the University develops its long-term vision for 2040 and strategic priorities for 2024.
  • Provide the paper and recommended reading list to the Strategic Planning Committee by April 16, 2018.
  • Provide additional support as requested by the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Endorse, follow, and promote the guiding principles for the strategic planning process

Members

  • Jim McAtee (Facilitator), Director of the Career Center
  • Augusta Isley, Proposal Manager for Sponsored Projects Administration
  • Staci Davis, Executive Director of Online and Distance Education
  • Phil Repp, Dean of the College of Architecture and Planning
  • Phil DeCicca, Distinguished Professor of Health Economics (Miller College of Business)
  • Emily Wornell, Research Assistant Professor (Indiana Communities Institute)
  • Bill Knight, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness (Institutional Effectiveness)
  • Julie Hopwood, Associate Vice President for Business and Auxiliary Services (Business Affairs)
  • Chip Taylor, Political Science and Bowen Center Managing Director (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Nancy Prater, Director of Marketing and Communications (Division of Online and Strategic Learning)
  • Erik Nesson, Assistant Professor of Economics (Miller College of Business)

The charge of the Working Group (WING) on Fiscal/Economic/Political Environment was to provide assistance to the Strategic Planning Committee through the following ways:

  • Gather, review, and analyze data and other background materials on factors from the fiscal/economic/political environment that are influencing the future of the University, including, but not limited to, regional, state, and federal laws, regulations, and mandates; state and federal legislative updates and proposals; local, state, and federal fiscal and economic issues; rules and regulations from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education; issues around the increasing public demand for transparency and accountability; issues concerning college affordability; and other public policy issues.
  • Based upon readings, analyses, discussions, and input from subject matter experts and work group members, prepare a brief paper summarizing the most important aspects of the fiscal/political/economic environment that should be considered as the University develops its long-term vision for 2040 and strategic priorities for 2024.
  • Provide the paper and recommended reading list to the Strategic Planning Committee by April 16, 2018.
  • Provide additional support as requested by the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Endorse, follow, and promote the guiding principles for the strategic planning process.

Members

  • Scott Stachler (Facilitator), Associate Vice President of Business Affairs
  • Jean Crosby, Vice President for Strategy, Engagement, and Communications for the Ball State University Foundation
  • James Lowe, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management
  • Amanda Latz, Associate Professor of Educational Studies (Teachers College)
  • John McPherson, Executive Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships (Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships)
  • Mark Helmus, Senior Vice President for Development (Ball State University Foundation)
  • Darren Wheeler, Associate Professor of Political Science (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • John Horowitz, Chair of the Department of Economics (Miller College of Business)
  • Sam Snideman, Director of Governmental Relations (Governmental Relations)

The charge of the Working Group (WING) on Technology Trends was to provide assistance to the Strategic Planning Committee through the following ways:

  • Gather, review, and analyze data and other background materials on technological trends that are influencing the future of the University, including, but not limited to, the impact of technology on teaching and learning; the impact of technology on the delivery of coursework; technology developments supporting management information and data analytics; and technological developments impacting administrative functions and the operations of the University.
  • Based upon readings, analyses, discussions, and input from subject matter experts and working group members, prepare a brief paper summarizing the factors surrounding technological trends that should be considered as the University develops its long-term vision for 2040 and strategic priorities for 2024.
  • Provide the paper and recommended reading list to the Strategic Planning Committee by April 16, 2018.
  • Provide additional support as requested by the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Endorse, follow, and promote the guiding principles for the strategic planning process.

Members

  • Dennis Trinkle (Facilitator), Director of the Center for Information and Communication Sciences
  • Jennifer Palilonis, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Multi-media Journalism
  • Phil Repp, Dean of the College of Architecture and Planning
  • Fawn Gary, Interim Associate Vice President for Information Technology (Office of Information Technology)
  • Rich Edwards, Executive Director for Strategic Learning (Division of Online and Strategic Learning)
  • Kristin McCauliff, Associate Professor of Communication Studies (College of Communication Information and Media)
  • Brandon Smith, Director of Academic Project Support Office (Digital Corps)
  • Lola Mauer, Associate Vice President of Strategy and Advancement Services (Ball State University Foundation)
  • Larry Markle, Director of Disability Services (Student Affairs and Enrollment)
  • Mike Costello, Associate Director of Systems Technology (Student Affairs and Enrollment)
  • Laura Helms, Executive Director of Academic Services and Associate Dean of University College (University College)
  • Cheri Ellefson, Lecturer of Women’s and Gender Studies (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Perry Collins, Copyright and Scholarly Communications Manager (University Libraries)
  • Brandon Coppernoll, Director of Digital Marketing (Marketing and Communications)
  • Jason Yang, Professor of Geography (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Adam Beach, Dean of the Graduate School (Academic Affairs)
  • Kyle Parker, Senior Software Engineer for Developing Technologies (Digital Corps)
  • Arne Flaten, Director of the School of Art (College of Fine Arts)
  • Janice Childress, Associate Director for Data Management, Analysis, and Reporting (Institutional Effectiveness)

The charge of the Working Group (WING) on Community Assets and Needs was to provide assistance to the Strategic Planning Committee in the following ways:

  • Gather, review, and analyze data and other background materials on the east central Indiana community, including economic and social development, education, population health, environment/sustainability issues, cultural opportunities/needs, and overall standard of living and quality of place.
  • Based upon readings, analyses, discussions, and input from subject matter experts and work group members, prepare a brief paper summarizing the primary community assets and needs that should be considered as the University develops its long-term vision for 2040 and strategic priorities for 2024.
  • Provide the paper and recommended reading list to the Strategic Planning Committee by April 16, 2018.
  • Provide additional support as requested by the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Endorse, follow, and promote the guiding principles for the strategic planning process.

Members

  • Melinda Messineo (Facilitator), Interim Assoc Provost for Diversity and Interim Director of Institutional Diversity
  • John West, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning (College of Architecture and Planning)
  • Delaina Boyd, Interim Associate Vice President for Community Engagement
  • Maria Williams Hawkins, Associate Professor of Telecommunications (College of Communication, Information, and Media)
  • Paris McCurdy, Director of Community Diversity Initiatives (Institutional Diversity)
  • Pam Harwood, Professor of Architecture (College of Architecture and Planning)
  • Emily Wornell, Research Assistant Professor (Indiana Communities Institute)
  • Michael Prater, Associate Professor of Art (College of Fine Arts)
  • Lauren Berger, Acting Director of Student Life (Student Affairs and Enrollment Services)
  • Eva Zygmunt, Professor of Elementary Education (Teachers College)
  • Jane Ellery, Assistant Professor of Wellness Management (College of Health)
  • Peggy Fisher, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies (College of Communication, Information, and Media)
  • Kiesha Warren-Gordon, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Art Hill, Senior Digital Strategist (Marketing and Communications)
  • Melody Bernot, Professor of Biology (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Ryan Hourigan, Director of the School of Music (College of Fine Arts)
  • Tom Kinghorn, Vice President Emeritus of Business Affairs (Business Affairs)
  • Juli Metzger, Lecturer of Journalism (College of Communication, Information, and Media)
  • Erin Moore, Communications Specialist (Office of Community Engagement)
  • Jim Williams, Attorney for Defur Voran and Ball State University Foundation Board Member

The charge of the Working Group (WING) on Higher Education Trends and Innovative Educational Practices was to provide assistance to the Strategic Planning Committee in the following ways:

  • Gather, review, and analyze data and other background materials on higher education trends and innovative educational practices that are influencing the future of the University, including, but not limited to, regional and state competition; nonprofit and for-profit higher education providers; accelerated online programs, micro-credentialing, workforce development programs, competency-based education, and current and emerging innovative academic practices.
  • Based upon readings, analyses, discussions, and input from subject matter experts and working group members, prepare a brief paper summarizing the primary trends and innovative practices that should be considered as the University develops its long-term vision for 2040 and strategic priorities for 2024. Provide the paper and recommended reading list to the Strategic Planning Committee by April 16, 2018.
  • Provide additional support as requested by the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Endorse, follow, and promote the guiding principles for the strategic planning process.

Members

  • Jen Bott (Facilitator), Dean of the Miller College of Business
  • Jennifer Blackmer, Associate Provost for Entrepreneurial Learning and Professor of Theatre
  • Thalia Mulvihill, Professor of Educational Studies (Teachers College)
  • Paul Gestwicki, Associate Professor of Computer Science (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Christie Zimmerman, Associate Professor of Dance (College of Fine Arts)
  • Justin Miller, Director of the Sponsored Projects Administration
  • David Frye, Director of Upper Division Academic Advising (University College)
  • John Emert, Dean of the Honors College
  • Trudi Weyermann, Assistant Provost for Learning Initiatives (Online and Strategic Learning)
  • Amanda Holmquist, Senior Marketing Strategist (Marketing and Communications)
  • Jennifer Wies, Chair of the Department of Anthropology (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Kathy Jacobi, Assistant Director for Faculty Engagement (Online and Strategic Learning)
  • Gary Pavlechko, Director of Interactive Learning Spaces (Office of Educational Excellence)
  • Mark Myring, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Strategic Initiatives (Miller College of Business)
  • Carolyn Shue, Professor of Communication Studies (College of Communication, Information, and Media)
  • Allison Rober, Assistant Professor of Biology(College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • John Fillwalk, Senior Director of Hybrid Design Technologies (College of Architecture and Planning)
  • K. Renee Twibell, Associate Professor of Nursing (College of Health)

The charge of the Working Group (WING) on Institutional Trends and Vital Statistics was to provide assistance to the Strategic Planning Committee in the following ways:

  • Compile, analyze, and synthesize institutional enrollment trends at the undergraduate and graduate levels; changes in student profile such as those who are race/ethnicity, academic preparedness, low income, international, residential, out-of-state, and older working adults; shift in majors and mix of program offerings; faculty and staff vital statistics; physical facilities; comparisons with other Indiana public universities; and other institutional statistics and trends. (Note: A vast amount of student data was been collected and analyzed over the prior year by the Strategic Enrollment Planning Steering Committee. The working group is encouraged to utilize this readily available information in the preparation of its report).
  • Based upon readings, analyses, discussions, and input from subject matter experts and work group members, prepare a brief paper (with supporting tables and graphs) summarizing the institutional trends, characteristics, and distinctive attributes of Ball State that should be considered as the University develops its long-term vision for 2040 and strategic priorities for 2024.
  • Prepare the paper and supporting materials to the Strategic Planning Committee by April 16, 2018.
  • Provide additional support as requested by the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Endorse, follow, and promote the guiding principles for the strategic planning process.

Members

  • Sam Snideman (Facilitator), Director of Government Relations
  • Linh Littleford,Associate Professor of Psychological Science
  • Ro-Ann Royer Engle,Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services
  • Brian Means, Director of Analytics and Decision Support Technology (Information Technology Services)
  • Chris Munchel, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services and Executive Director of Admissions (Student Affairs and Enrollment Services)
  • Curtis Westfall, Executive Director of Systems Technology (Enrollment Services)
  • Gloria Pavlik, Director of the Office of Retention and Graduation (Student Affairs and Enrollment Services)
  • Kate Stoss, Director of Human Resources (Business Affairs)
  • Alan Hargrave, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Housing and Residence Life (Student Affairs and Enrollment Services)
  • Heather Platt, Professor of Music (College of Fine Arts)
  • Jackie Davis, Associate Director of Pre-award Operations (Sponsored Projects Administration)
  • Mellisa Holtzman, Professor of Sociology (College of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Randy Sollars, Director of University Budgets (Finance Office)
  • Bill Knight, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness (Institutional Effectiveness)
  • Richard Petts, Associate Professor of Sociology, (CSH)

Presentations from Past Forums

Documents and Materials

Download agendas, minutes, and reports for the Strategic Planning Committee and Working Groups. You will need a Ball State login to access these files.

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