Guide Star: Denison provides students with a life-shaping education that unlocks their potential to be the architect of their lives. We are a college where students benefit from world-class academics and co-curricular involvements. A college where a student can compete at a national level in athletics and still study abroad; receive conservatory quality training in the arts and still have the total college experience; develop friendships with peers who both share their world views and who have different world views; pursue existing interests and develop new passions. We are a college that prides itself on the fact that a student can receive a life-shaping liberal arts education and be prepared to launch quickly into a career.

This message is consistent with our past, and our values and supports our endeavor to be one of the most respected universities in the country, admired by parents and college counselors for how students thrive, by companies and graduate schools for the preparation of our students, and by others across higher ed for what we do and how we do it. Denison is a college that moves beyond the false choices that too often define higher education. A college that exists to unlock the potential of students to be the architects of their lives.

Strategic Plan Focus: Provide students with a life-shaping liberal arts education that unlocks their potential to be the architects of their lives. To do this, we will focus on six areas of institutional focus.

2022-2027 Strategic & Operational Priorities

The new Strategic Plan focuses on six areas as top institutional priorities to build on the success and momentum created by the previous strategic plan.

Financial Aid and Affordability

  • Enhance financial assistance to ensure all students can attend without incurring significant loan debt
  • Reduce financial stressors by building on the Red Thread Grant program
  • Ensure study abroad, summer internships, and other meaningful experiences are accessible to all students
  • Stay committed to low- and middle-income students

Faculty and Academic Programs

  • Invest in our faculty and academic programs
  • Support outside-of-the-classroom experiences that create mentorship moments
  • Continue to expand the arts, global programs, Lisska Center, and the CfLT
  • Enhance academic spaces
  • Support scholarship and creative work of faculty
  • Implement Academic Priorities Plan

Residential Student Community

  • Reexamine first-year onboarding
  • Focus on being a welcoming and inclusive campus, aligned with Denison Forward plan
  • Develop lifelong habits of well-being
  • Promote open minds and intellectual discourse
  • Focus on residence hall communities, and student spaces for social engagement
  • Implement Student Life Plan

Career Exploration

  • Focus on Knowlton’s four pillars (coaching & career communities, faculty partnerships, alumni & employer relations, and Denison Edge)
  • Make Sophomore Journey a signature program
  • Support student entrepreneurs through Red Frame Lab
  • Support students seeking fellowships through Lisska Center
  • Support alums 5 years post-graduation

Alumni Engagement

  • Renew Big Red Weekend, Reunion, Denison Everywhere, and other signature programs
  • Refresh regional events
  • Make ReMix a signature alumni event
  • Develop impactful volunteer roles for interested alumni
  • Engage alums in the work of the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration

Workplace Environment & Operational Excellence

  • Perform compensation and benefits studies, updates
  • Nurture on-campus community and ensure great workplaces
  • Enhance professional development opportunities
  • Focus on being an inclusive and welcoming campus, implement Denison Forward plan
  • Develop and implement sustainability plan to reduce carbon footprint
  • Invest in HR to increase support for culture and community