Skip To Main Content

ONU 2021

With the approval of Northern’s strategic plan – ONU 2021 – by the Board of Trustees in May 2013, Ohio Northern University’s strategic direction is set, and our goals for the future are established. The strategic goals listed below and the actions taken to achieve them are intended to propel ONU forward to attain greater success and arrive at our sesquicentennial year in 2021 poised for a milestone 150-year celebration.

To implement ONU’s strategic plan, we created an Operational Agenda for the year ahead, one that identifies specific actions for each goal, including who or what office is primarily responsible for completing the action and by when.

ONU 2021: Strategic Goals and Priorities For Advancing Ohio Northern University

1. Enhance the excellence and distinctiveness of the University’s academic programs

  1. We will invest in faculty development and scholarship to sustain academic excellence and support the teacher, scholar, mentor faculty model.
  2. We will identify and implement opportunities for both new and existing academic program growth. Programs in the allied health professions will be among the first to be considered.
  3. We will develop and implement a multi-year process of academic program review to support continuous improvement and program investment and/or disinvestment decisions.
  4. We will capitalize on the distinctiveness of our unique set of academic programs through collaboration and strategic connections.

Key Metrics:

  • Attain institutional and programmatic accreditation and reaccreditation
  • Achieve external recognition of program quality, faculty excellence, and student performance.

2. Strengthen the campus learning environment

  1. We will regularly assess student learning outcomes in our academic majors and periodically assess the general education program.  The results of assessment will be used to improve academic majors and general education.
  2. We will assess co-curricular programs to determine their contribution to student learning, engagement, retention, and graduation in order to improve these programs.
  3. We will offer all students the opportunity for high impact learning experiences.
  4. We will adopt technology resources that enhance student learning and are consistent with our mission. 

Key Metrics:

  • High rates of success on licensure examinations and other quality measures that are nationally normed
  • High career placement and graduate school admission rates (above 90%) for each graduating class

3. Support a commitment to the University’s core values and foster a campus culture that engages and values all members of the University community   

  1. We will invest in training and development of our administrative and support staff.
  2. We will foster transparency and information sharing through effective shared governance, communication, and consultation.
  3. We will review employee compensation goals and progress, performance review processes, and recognition practices and make appropriate changes to ensure a strong and stable workforce.
  4. We will develop a strong ethos of service in the delivery of administrative and support services.

Key Metrics:

  • Total compensation relative to the market
  • Job satisfaction as indicated by periodic surveys and exit interviews
  • High participation rates in professional development and staff training activities.
  • Improved service delivery as indicated on periodic surveys

4. Attract, retain, and graduate the optimal number, quality and profile of students

  1. We will align our tuition pricing, financial aid policies, curriculum, and support services to become a peer leader in graduating undergraduate students in four years.
  2. We will develop and implement recruitment and marketing plans and strategically use tuition pricing, financial aid strategies, and the prospect of “The Northern Promise” to meet enrollment goals.
  3. We will set college and program enrollment targets that match our instructional and residential capacities.
  4. We will enroll more students from Ohio and increase our rate of enrollment among Ohio students who apply to other independent colleges and universities in the state.
  5. We will enroll a diverse student body.
  6. We will develop and implement student support systems that serve the distinct needs of various student subgroups, e.g. transfer, graduate, international students, and that increase the University’s retention and graduation rates.
  7. We will engage alumni and friends to help recruit prospective students.

Key Metrics:

  • Meeting or exceeding enrollment goals and other student quality measures regarding academic preparation, diversity, retention, and graduation
  • Evidence of more competitive tuition pricing,
  • Increasing net tuition revenue

5. Engage more with our multiple communities and organizations through mutually beneficial strategic partnerships

  1. We will build strategic partnerships and expand opportunities for the resources of the University to benefit our local communities, the region, and beyond.
  2. We will promote and coordinate community service and outreach activities to enhance student learning and civic engagement.
  3. We will be active participants in local and regional economic development initiatives.

Key Metrics:

  • Create and publish a Community Engagement Scorecard that annually tracks the number and type of partnerships, faculty and staff involvement, economic return, and results achieved.

6. Build and maintain long-term financial sustainability

  1. We will improve the financial state and fiscal strength of the University.
  2. We will develop multi-year budgeting in order to improve cost management.
  3. We will develop a new campus master plan to meet academic and co-curricular needs, focusing first on a new engineering building and enhanced student services.
  4. We will incorporate sustainable practices that will enable us to be better stewards of our environmental, energy, and financial resources.
  5. We will develop and implement an institutional technology plan and incorporate technology that is cost-effective and improves administrative functioning.
  6. We will assess and evaluate administrative programs and services for improvement, investment and/or disinvestment.
  7. We will review the Inn’s financial, operational, and governance structure.

Key Metrics:

  • Demonstrable annual progress on implementing the SPFB recommendations
  • Achieve a Moody’s “A” (or equivalent) rating by May 31, 2018
  • Achieve annual operating surpluses of 2-4% beginning in FY 2015
  • Complete and approve a comprehensive master plan
  • Show the benefits of environmental sustainability practices and initiatives
  • Post-remediation, establish the revenue/cost model of The Inn going forward.

7. Achieve greater public recognition and awareness of University programs and fully engage our constituents to increase their level of involvement and philanthropic support.

  1. We will develop a true, compelling brand promise for the University that will advance and enhance our state, regional, and national reputation.
  2. We will continue to broaden and deepen the culture of philanthropy by leveraging the success of the recent Campaign for Tomorrow and launch a comprehensive campaign that ends in 2021.
  3. We will continue to create and promote events, programming, and experiences that will connect alumni and friends to the University.
  4.  We will optimize our opportunities to attract financial support from government, corporations, and foundations.

Key Metrics:

  • Annual progress report on goals for the number of alumni attending events and involved in programs and projects (recruitment, career services, etc.)
  • The percentage of alumni donors, the amount of contributions to the Northern Fund and to total annual and planned giving from individuals and groups (government, foundations, etc.)
  • Improvement in brand survey results for key constituent groups

Operational Agenda

The Operational Agenda and regular updates are available and accessible electronically for faculty and staff as well as information regarding the six strategic planning work groups:

  1. Creating Brand Awareness
  2. Reforming University Governance
  3. Considering the Role of Online Learning
  4. Incorporating Principles and Practices for Sustainability
  5. Increasing the University’s Four-Year Completion Rate for Undergraduates
  6. Developing a Comprehensive Campus Master Plan