AVILA UNIVERSITY | STRATEGIC PLANNING
Institution: Avila University
Location: Kansas City, MO
“Sometimes success, being good enough, gets in the way of the greatness that you need and we thought that Credo could help us be great.”
Ron Slepitza, President of Avila University
Avila's Opportunity: New Campaigns & Smooth Transitions
Avila University had found a comfortable zone of being a good, successful school, but in the spirit of greatness, the Avila community was excited to push themselves to grow. Having just completed a strategic plan cycle and with two years left in a campaign, Avila was gearing up for an accreditation visit in three years, and was anticipating the retirement of their Provost and CFO.
How did Avila go from good to great? With a fresh plan and a new campaign to take Avila University to the next level, and ensure a smooth transition with key cabinet members.
“What called us to Credo was who you are in your planning process – a focus on student success, a focus on helping institutions move to be more successful – to be a thriving institution, and a way of helping institutions take the steps on things that are most important in driving student success.”
- Ron Slepitza
In today’s world, change is quick and strength is relative, so Avila needed to be nimble and responsive, have a quick planning cycle, be bold when boldness was called for, and be mission-focused throughout. It was also important to bring on someone, particularly in the CFO position, who could hit the ground running, and connect quickly to the strategic plan and budget that would support it.
“When we worked with Credo on campus master planning and strategic planning, we were working with a company who had gotten to know us over time, to understand us and to know where we were heading, and that helps us drive farther. Rather than having to bring someone up to speed each time, this really created some synergies that only bodes well for the future.”
Avila's Results: Metrics, Themes, and Vision
Credo consistently views an institution through the lens of student success, with a focus on setting strategic goals and measuring progress toward growth milestones. For Avila University, it was a matter of being more focused than in the past – from enrollment growth and student outcomes, to the learning environment and its recognition and reputation in the community – in order to attract more best-fit students.
“What I liked about the strategic planning process is the use of the balanced score card so that you are looking at your internal capacities, you are looking at processes, ways that you are driving student stakeholders, financial resources, and blending all of those together to lead to success.”
- Ron Slepitza
A highlight of the process came in master planning. Beyond the data collection, analysis, and discussions about more, less and what needs to change, Avila engaged a “puzzle play” process with 10-12 different stakeholder groups.
“Finding constant themes that cut across those groups and reinforced what we were doing with the strategic plan, was really fun, but also imagining what the campus might look like in five to 10 short years, was very exciting as well,” observed Slepitza.
The next way Avila will be partnering with Credo will be to align strategic budgeting with the strategic plan to make disciplined decisions that push the plan forward, and fund the plan based on those things most important to Avila’s success.
Strategic Planning and Implementation can start with one conversation. Contact Us to get started.