Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Updates

Many institutions of higher education traverse the significant challenges of delivering mission, accreditation and financial health by developing a meaningful strategic plan.  Saint Paul School of Theology (SPST) honors the past development of the strategic plan and endeavors to link the revised plan to finance in meeting our academic mission.

Discussion for the Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of trustees, administration and faculty, evolved to consensus on our goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as they link to the budget and support the Saint Paul Mission. The committee goal is to develop ongoing and meaningful indicators that will meet short term needs with an eye on the future, positioning to deliver the institutional mission. Data informed decisions and continued analysis of KPIs will be transparent and reviewed at each Board meeting. The commitment of the Strategic Planning Committee is to create a living, breathing document that will position SPST for a healthy future.


S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Time Sensitive

I – Inspiring


STRATEGIC PLAN:  2017 – 2025
Adopted by the Board of Trustees
October 23, 2018


The Identity of Saint Paul:

Purpose, Mission, Vision, Values

Saint Paul School of Theology is a United Methodist seminary, and as such has an active role in achieving the mission of the United Methodist Church.  Paragraph 120 of the 2012 Discipline of The United Methodist Church reads, in its entirety, “The Mission:  The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs.”  (NOTE:  Paragraph 121 goes on to provide an expansive and helpful “Rationale for Our Mission,” which draws on Scripture, as well as the historical teachings of Methodism.)

PURPOSE of Saint Paul School of Theology

From its beginning, the purpose of Saint Paul School of Theology has been to form people for transformational ministry in congregations, faith communities, and the world in which we live, especially in the Heartland, so that they are equipped to carry out the mission of the Church:  making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Saint Paul’s unique role in preparing persons for that vital work is described in its institutional mission, vision, and values.

MISSION of Saint Paul School of Theology

Centered in Christ and rooted in the Wesleyan tradition, Saint Paul School of Theology is a seminary of intentional relationships committed to the formation of people for innovative, creative ministry through rigorous academic life, the exploration of Scripture, tradition, ministry and practices, and diverse, contextual experience.

VISION of Saint Paul School of Theology

Saint Paul School of Theology, a seminary in the Heartland, aspires to be a creative network of collaborative learning relationships where students, clergy, lay professionals, and laity are equipped to serve congregations, the church, the city street, the country road, the public square, and the academy, in an ever and rapidly changing world.

VALUES of Saint Paul School of Theology

Saint Paul School of Theology is:

  • Christ-centered, prophetic and evangelistic

From its beginning, Saint Paul School of Theology has been, and continues to be, committed to operations, decision-making, and curriculum that embody a Christ-centered, prophetic, and evangelistic approach to theological education.  Saint Paul stresses engagement of traditional disciplines, such as scripture, church history, and theology, while placing students in settings such as prisons, mental health institutions, and monasteries, and building relationships with the marginalized.  Study and contextual experiences that explore witness, proclamation of the gospel, and embodying the good news are guided by Saint Paul’s Christ-centered, prophetic and evangelistic commitment.

  • Formed in justice, integrity, and faithful experience

Saint Paul is committed to racial justice, to Christian stands in the feminist and womanist movements, to the struggle of families across our communities, to environmental justice and peace, and to abiding attention to the poor and the marginalized.  Saint Paul is committed to integrity and holistic faithfulness, in its response to God’s righteousness and love.

 Contextual, diverse, relevant, and multicultural

Saint Paul is committed to the contextual engagement of academic and concrete life.  This commitment demands training in a diversity of settings in the search for faithful response to the claims made in different contexts upon an attentive and skilled ministry, a training committed to the excluded, the estranged, the oppressed, and the marginalized.  Saint Paul is committed to engaging theological learning in the contextual ways that expand the learner’s experience with diversity and cultural sensitivity, and that are relevant to their ministry settings.

  • Committed to
    • The integration of academic excellence and faithful practice
    • The creation of community in the challenges of emergent contemporary contexts
    • The promotion of peace and justice through theological dialogue
    • The use of multiple platforms and approaches in academic life

These commitments drive decision-making around all aspects of academic and contextual learning at Saint Paul.

The Mission, Vision, and Values provide a mechanism through which to express the identity and purpose of Saint Paul.  These brief statements cannot, in themselves, express the many dimensions of Saint Paul’s history, experience, and aspiration.  Rather, they are intended to be a mirror and a window, both a reflection of Saint Paul’s purpose, and a portal through which to see the many ways in which Saint Paul moves in the Heartland and beyond.

As part of its commitment to the United Methodist Church, Saint Paul was formed by, and continues to be informed by, the teachings of John Wesley.  Consequently, the Mission, Vision, and Values are grounded in what has come to be called the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” of Scripture-Tradition-Experience-Reason.  Wesley’s commitment to the poor and marginalized, his belief that reason is a gift from God that we ignore at our peril, a passion for justice, and an undying energy for taking Jesus Christ into the corners of the world.



  1. Strengthening the Educational Enterprise: Preparing people for ministry within the changing faith dynamics of the 21st Century
  1. Creating a Community for Theological Learning, Training Dialogue, and Research in the Heartland: Bringing together the Church, the City Street, the Country Road, the Public Square, and the Academy
  1. Advancing the Presence of Saint Paul: Promoting Saint Paul’s vision in compelling and productive ways
  1. Shaping the Future of Saint Paul with a Strong Foundation: leadership, governance, and planning in support of theological education for the future



The heart of this Plan is contained in the four (4) Strategic Directions and the eight (8) Goals associated with them:

Strategic Direction 1:  Strengthening the Educational Enterprise

Goal 1:  Saint Paul’s programming, centered in Christ and informed by its Wesleyan identity, will address and respond to the changing religious environment of the church and world.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • Completion of Assessment of Student Learning
  • Program Review
  • Environmental Scan

Goal 2:  Saint Paul will have a carefully recruited diverse student body.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • Increase students in denominations other than United Methodist
  • Increase racial and ethnic diversity
  • Increase total enrollment (head count)
  • Increase new students (Fall head count)
  • Increase retention rate

Goal 3:  Informed by the mission and vision, Saint Paul will employ faculty that address the changing realities of church and world.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • Increase racial and maintain denominational diversity of faculty
  • Increase equity of workload across faculty
  • Maintain the faculty/student ratio
  • Maintain or reduce the proportion of credit hours taught by adjuncts
  • Maintain or improve Graduate Student Questionnaire data on faculty
  • Increase diversity in adjuncts and practitioners
  • Maintain the size of the faculty as retirements occur as appropriate to curricular and program needs
  • Maintain and support faculty scholarship
  • Develop faculty excellence in teaching material that is relevant to current realities in the church and world, through multiple modes of delivery (online, hybrid, on-campus)

Strategic Direction 2:  Creating a Community for theological learning, training, dialogue, and research in the Heartland.

Goal 4:  Saint Paul will utilize delivery modalities to create diverse learning environments with relational and communal opportunities.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • Formation of Program Innovation and Planning Committee
  • Program Review Plan Cycle and Outcomes
  • Student Affairs Assessment Plan
  • Co-curricular Assessment

Goal 5:  Saint Paul will create an environment of cultural awareness, diversity, equality, and social justice on its campuses and other learning environments.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • Increase racial/ethnic diversity of student body
  • Increase racial/ethnic diversity of faculty and adjuncts
  • Increase racial/ethnic diversity of Board of Trustees
  • Maintain racial/ethnic diversity of staff
  • Increase trust across institution (use T&C report as baseline)
  • Increase education and training for faculty, staff and Board related to racial justice issues, such as white privilege, implicit bias, and economics.

Strategic Direction 3:  Advancing the presence of Saint Paul

Goal 6:  Saint Paul will engage in a variety of development, fund raising, communication, and promotional activities to support the mission of the seminary.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • KPI for Advancement
  • Cost to Raise a Dollar
  • Analysis of delivery effectiveness
  • Fundraising Plan 2018 – 2019
  • Advancement Plan 2018 – 2021
  • To be developed – Communication Plan and List of Key Documents with Survey

Strategic Direction 4:  Shaping the Future of Saint Paul with a Strong Foundation

Goal 7:  Saint Paul will engage, explore, and facilitate the highest levels of institutional leadership, administrative effectiveness, and future-oriented planning, within an environment of transparent, shared governance.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • Annual Planning Cycle (Criterion 5C)
  • Best Practices from ATS and HLC
  • Shared Governance
  • Board Self-Evaluation and Ongoing improvement
  • 360 Reviews

Goal 8:  Saint Paul will identify and cultivate collaborations and partnerships with seminaries, colleges, universities, churches, and other organizations.

Indicators of Effectiveness:

  • Measurements: Connecting with students – collaborations and partnerships
  • External lecturers – use of COR, OCU faculty/lecturers
  • Alumni Connections

Annual Strategic Plan Calendar

 Strategic plan review, which is on the Moodle site and reviewed for progress at key stakeholder meetings, at Saint Paul will follow a consistent annual cycle:

  • Early August – Using broad budget parameters supplied by the Resource Committee, and other widely gathered inputs (program reviews, assessment results, academic investment needs, stakeholder meetings, etc.), the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee, and the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee review the strategic priorities for the next 1 – 3 years. These strategic priorities drive operational and academic investments. 
  • Late August – the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee selects two goals to be reviewed by the entire Board of Trustees. These goals are reviewed, as well as, the corresponding data (indicators of effectiveness) at the October Board of Trustees Meeting.
  • October – The School and Board of Trustees, publish and implement the strategic priorities over the next fiscal year. Additionally, they align and publish strategic plans for offices and academic units.
  • December – The Resource Committee presents a draft of the annual results and Key Performance Indicators for each department, program, and academic unit to the Executive Committee. Together they will make adjustments to the operational plans/strategic priorities as necessary.  These adjustments are reviewed by the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee. 
  • January – Each budget and academic program updates its plan based upon various KPIs. Operational plans and the budget forecast for the next fiscal year are updated.
  • February – Budget parameters for the next fiscal year are presented to the Board of Trustees.
  • March – The Resource Committee presents and reviews the operational and strategic plans with the Executive Committee and the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee. The budget is reviewed and alignment with strategic priorities, goals, and directions is confirmed with data. 
  • May – Budget parameters and strategic priorities are approved by the Board of Trustees for next fiscal year.