Learn to Thrive: Strategic Plan 2022

Annual Report: Year One


In August 2017, TWU set forth Learn to Thrive — Strategic Plan 2022, v.1.2. The plan included a narrative section that defined the TWU identity — its purpose, mission, vision, values, and areas of distinction. It identified objects categorized within five imperatives — learn, discover, serve, lead, and invest — and defined 17 initiatives that would serve as the principal vehicles for action. The initiatives were prioritized for strategic execution during the five-year plan. Finally, the plan ended with 11 Key Performance Indicators that were selected by the TWU Board of Regents as key measures of the health of the institution. During fall 2017, the chancellor identified champions to lead the planning and development stage of the first set of eight strategic initiatives. The co-champions of the initiatives invited a variety of additional personnel to join these teams. The following is a brief summary of the outcomes generated thus far in association with each initiative.

Strategic Initiatives

Innovative Academic Programs

Champions: Dr. Randall Langston, Dr. Barbara Lerner, Dr. Alan Utter

  • Signed multiple MOUs that create new opportunities to reduce cost, remove barriers, and speed paths to graduation (e.g., simultaneous dual enrollment at TWU and NCTC for an undergraduate nursing program)
  • Shepherded the first joint degree between TWU and UNT, Masters in Social Work; Inaugural cohort completed their first year
  • Developed 100 new articulation agreements leading to the BAAS (Bachelor of Applied Arts & Science); these are the first of many others yet to come
  • Established regional program completion targets based on the THECB projections required for North Texas region to meet its goals in 2030 (Texas 60x30)
  • Championed a cross-divisional initiative where over 200 graduate and undergrad students took advantage of free campus housing in a partnership to increase summer enrollment by 3.3%
  • Next steps include institutionalizing program development and sunset criteria


Champions: Cindy Pollard, Dr. Ainslie Nibert

  • Shepherded a new visual identity, unified creative design standards, and a tagline, “Boldly Go”
  • Championed a new athletics visual identity including the university’s first official mascot
  • Led a campaign to create and select the university’s first plaid in a student design competition
  • Released a redesigned website aligned with visual identity work
  • Developed a strategic marketing plan including digital, radio, billboards, and print ads
  • Next steps include operationalizing relationship management

Institute for Women’s Leadership

Champions: Dr. Abigail Tilton, Mary Saunders, Kevin Cruser

  • Secured $9.2 million in public and private funds to establish the Institute for Women’s Leadership, including a physical home for the Center and a public exhibit space on the soon-to-be-renovated main floor of Old Main building
  • Established an advisory council that includes 24 prominent women from across the state
  • The Center for Women in Business offered its first ten microgrants totaling $50,000 to women entrepreneurs
  • The Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy hired its first director
  • The Center for Student Leadership (formerly called the Leadership Institute) broadened its focus and developed a unified vision for student leadership
  • Next steps include mobilizing the advisory council for raising awareness of and building engagement with the institute and its mission

Health and wellbeing

Champions: Thad Mantaro, Christopher Johnson

  • Identified seven themed areas, including nutrition, movement, mental health, finances, safety, civic engagement, and the built environment, following the model of the Healthy Campus Initiative used at UCLA
  • Each theme’s co-leaders (a faculty and a staff member with expertise and passion in the themed area) have defined the scope of each theme and a catalog of associated programming from across the university
  • Developed visual marks to raise awareness for health and wellbeing among constituents in the TWU community
  • Next steps include implementation and operationalizing the the plans formulated during the summer by theme leaders

Purposeful Partnerships

Champions: Dr. Donna Scott Tilley, Robin Head, Peter Cohen, Stephanie Krauth

  • Defined initiative as the pursuit of opportunities that expand research profile, increase philanthropic giving, and foster civic engagement
  • Drafted preliminary list of criteria to evaluate potential and existing partnerships
  • Next steps include crafting a methodology for institutionalizing the criteria


Champions: Dr. Lisa Huffman, Lewis Benavides, Destinee Waiters

  • Revised the onboarding process with guides for supervisors and new employees
  • Developed guides and resources for search committees and prospective employees
  • Created a more comprehensive and user-friendly resource detailing employee benefits
  • Next steps include vetting the new resources and processes with the TWU community

Master plan and space utilization

Champions: Dr. Jennifer Martin, B.J.Crain

  • Sought approval by the TWU Board of Regents for a campus master plan setting a framework and standards for future development and campus growth
  • Established a space utilization process and committee to address and resolve issues associated with historic use of space, growth trends, renovation options, and ongoing space allocation processes
  • Championed construction of a student union, residence halls, dining facilities, a parking garage, and other structures underway marking one of the most active periods of construction on the Denton campus in recent history
  • Next steps include ironing out kinks in the process for space allocation and in particularly with communication throughout the process.

Competitive sports

Champions: Dr. Monica Mendez-Grant, Dr. Beth Palmer

  • Engaged consulting firm to analyze the potential of new sports programs to augment enrollment strategies and enhance campus culture
  • The consultation provided multiple recommendations including specific sports to consider as well as scholarship and non-scholarship strategies
  • Identified additional data needed such as a comprehensive needs assessment and operational approach
  • Next steps include vetting the potential offerings with the university community

Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are designed to provide the Board of Regents and other TWU constituents with a select few important metrics reflecting the relative health of TWU. Following is a brief narrative regarding each KPI.


The 2017-2018 academic year saw a small drop in total enrollment, due in part to a significant number of degree completers, the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and to a more intentional focus on admitting students with a higher probability of success. The VP for Enrollment Management will be pushing even harder than before in recruiting replacements for graduating students who meet admissions requirements. While there was a decline in total enrollment, there was not a corresponding decline in completed semester credit hours. That is, enrolled students were taking and completing more courses on average. Enrollment Management recommended a slight increase in the Fall 2022 target, based on much deeper research. Based on new data from state demographers, Enrollment Management expects enrollment to exceed 20,000 students within ten years.


One of the most audacious goals set in the fourth objective of the Learn imperative is persistence and the rhetoric that students’ successful matriculation to graduation is everyone’s business. At Texas Woman’s there is a significant correlation between two-year persistence and achieving graduation. In 2017-18, second-year persistence increased by one percentage point, continuing an institutional, five-year upward trend culminating in a 5% increase in two-year persistence since 2013. The overall increase puts Texas Woman’s well ahead of the 59% average two-year persistence of its doctoral research peer group.

Financial health

Maintaining a 5.5-month reserve is a best practice and national norm so Texas Woman’s wants to stay close or above that measure. Moving the institution’s long-term investment portfolio to Texas A&M two years ago has paid great dividends. With more budget cuts at the state level being a distinct probability, the divisions have continually worked to right-size their operating budgets and will continue to do so. The chancellor set a goal to cut operational costs overall by 7% in three years in a strategic, rather than an across-the-board approach. The institution was in the first year of the budget cuts in 2017-18.


Philanthropic support is measured via the TWU Foundation’s fiscal year, July 1 to June 30. While accountants have not finalized the totals for the foundation’s fiscal year, University Advancement leadership anticipates a strong year. University Advancement focused on implementing a strategic annual giving program and through Q3 of FY 2018, Texas Woman's annual giving program increased 36% to $771,815 (2,478 donors), with an average gift of $311 per donor (median gift—$50), compared to the same quarter of FY2017, when the foundation received $565,865 (2,369 donors), with an average gift of $239 per donor (median gift—$70). As annual giving continues to strengthen, the division has been turning its focus to major gifts ($25,000 to $1 million). Advancement will be working directly with the chancellor to target, cultivate and secure principal gifts (over $1 million), such as the recent gift of $10,001,901 in support of the residence hall expansion.


Safety of students is one of the most important undertakings. Texas Woman’s has taken a comprehensive look at safety and included a “safety sub-index” on the Student Satisfaction Inventory to gauge student perceptions. The goal is to maintain the current standing and to that end, the index shows the university is on target. Furthermore, there are no increasing trends visible in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report published by the TWU Department of Public Safety in compliance with the Clery Act. Hurricane Harvey put the emergency management team ‘to the test’ this year, and they demonstrated the value of the team to the institution while also gaining valuable institutional knowledge and experience for the future.

Facility Condition Index (FCI)

The facilities condition index is a measure of deferred maintenance relative to replacement cost. National best practices suggest any number lower than 7.0 is a good place to be, and therefore Facilities Management has recommended the institution update its target to just below that threshold. Over the past two years, Facilities Management has put considerable effort into addressing deferred maintenance, thus reducing the FCI for FY 2017. With the new construction and significant building remodeling, such as Old Main and the Student Union, they anticipate that the FCI will increase in the near future as the institution will be forced to delay addressing some deferred maintenance.


The Chronicle of Higher Education administers the “The Great Colleges to Work For” survey annually. The overall index is down slightly this year. It may continue to fall in the short term as systems evolution is necessarily disruptive to normal operations. Employees will find construction and related parking woes frustrating, which creates challenges in the work environment. Additional changes as the process efficiency initiative comes online next year will have a further impact on this index, but the overall long term outcome of improving student success through an inspiring workplace is the goal.

Graduate Employment

This is a ‘holding-our-own’ measure as Texas Woman’s is already well above the state average. Nevertheless, it is very important to the university brand, which is why it rose to the level of a KPI. Fortunately, many of the Texas Woman’s graduates such as nurses and teachers are focused on particularly high demand sectors of the workforce. Still, all TWU graduates should be able to find fulfilling employment in their area of interest.

New revenue

At a university, it is difficult to measure diversification of revenue in a precise way. For example, if a new degree program just attracts existing students from a current program then it has not really generated ‘new’ revenue. The overall goal is to incentivize ways to reduce the university’s reliance on state appropriations and to keep tuition low for more students. One of the tasks of the new CFO is to establish a method of measuring the diversification of revenue at Texas Woman’s University.

External grants and gifts

The nation continues to face a decline in federal funding support for research. Federal funding at universities peaked in FY2011 and has dropped consistently since then, a decline not seen since 1972. The issue has been exacerbated by increasing numbers of investigators competing for these limited funds. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) has increasingly shifted towards investing internal grant funding as seed money for winning external grants. Deans are also increasingly purposeful in their approach to research development in their respective colleges. Next year, with the start of the Research Culture initiative, Texas Woman’s will better narrow and strengthen this area of focus and further improve the outcomes on this measure in the coming years.

Space utilization

With the new space utilization advisory committee and new buildings coming online, one should expect to see this index fall in the future, giving the faculty and students a little more breathing room, at least for a while. While the space utilization index will fluctuate due to construction progress, in the years to come the community will likely generate additional qualitative data regarding space utilization to better reflect experiences using the space rather than just efficient use of it.



Visit the accessible Key Performance Indicators page.