Communication & Updates

Strategic Planning Update #5: February 24, 2020   Rich History, Bold Future - Ashland 2025

Theme Team Work:

The Strategic Plan Theme Teams kicked-off their work on February 6. Each of the four themes started working through the many ideas and initiatives generated from the campus community.  The “Strategy Map” shown below is providing the framework for clarifying and categorizing these ideas. When the theme team’s work is complete in mid-March, each box in the map will contain a prioritized listing of actionable and measurable strategic initiatives.

SP 2025 Strategy Map

Most of the theme teams have met twice already and are making great progress. The 67+/- individuals involved in the Theme Team work are listed, by committee, on the strategic planning website. Feel free to connect with these people and ask about their work or offer your thoughts on the strategic themes.


Patrick (Rick) M. Ewing II

Vice President, Operations & Planning

Strategic Theme Teams for Rich History, Bold Future - Ashland 2025. Thank you Theme Team Members!

An open invitation was extended to the campus community to join one of the theme teams. Based on the responses, the four teams have been formed to begin the challenging and exciting work to develop the primary objectives for each theme. With the goal of completing a draft strategic plan by late April 2020, each team will meet four to five times in the next several months. We will share what the teams come up with and look forward to hearing your thoughts. For a detailed membership list, check out the Theme Team link. Should you have questions, ideas, or comments regarding a theme, you can contact Theme Tem co-chairs directly.

Four themes support our strategic plan:

  1. Transformational Experiences.  Chairs: Amiel Jarstfer & Larry Bunce
  2. Strategic Growth. Chairs: Marc Pasteris & Catherine Williams
  3. Empowered Community. Chairs: Robert Pool & Josh Hughes
  4. Agile Culture. Chairs: Margaret Pomfret & John Byron

Strategic Planning Update #4: January 21, 2020   Rich History, Bold Future - Ashland 2025

We Have a Name!:

Thanks to all who submitted ideas and those who voted for their favorite, our new strategic plan now has an identity -- Rich History, Bold Future – Ashland 2025.  Shown below are the results of the voting:

Rich Bold History Pie Chart - 13% Our Ashland Our Vision, 13 % Ashland Forward, 32% Ashland Soaring and the winner 42% Rich History, Bold Future Ashland 2025

  • 42% Rich History, Bold Future Ashland 2025
  • 32% Ashland Soaring
  • 13% Ashland Forward
  • 13% Our Ashland - Our Vision

Plan Progress:

Credo was here on January 15 to assist the Core Planning team in the process of setting up the plan strategy map and preparing for the upcoming work of the four plan Theme Teams.  We are still in need of individuals to serve on these teams who will work to refine and prioritize the theme initiatives.  If you have a particular interest or passion for one of the four themes (Transformative Experiences, Strategic Growth, Empowered Community, or Agile Future), please email by January 27. These teams of 10 to 15 members will be meeting through February and into March.

Next Steps:

Before the theme teams begin meeting in February, Credo will be here with the Board of Trustees on January 31 to collect their thoughts and ideas on plan initiatives, similar to the Community Day.  This valuable input will further inform the work of the Theme Teams.


Patrick (Rick) M. Ewing II
Vice President, Operations & Planning

Strategic Planning Update #3: December 10, 2019 Naming the plan & call for team members

Plan Progress:

Credo has categorized, analyzed, and summarized the Community Day results, which are now available through the portal.  Their process involved grouping the over 1,000 generated ideas into 30 categories.  They tallied the number of ideas in each category and weighted those tallies based on the number of times the ideas were identified as top priorities (as indicated by the individual Community Day table groups.) These summaries (and the supporting idea data) will inform the initial work of Theme Teams when they begin the process of refining and prioritizing initiatives in mid-January.

It’s Time to Name the Plan:

Thank you to all who submitted naming ideas for this next Strategic Plan.  We received 28 unique suggestions and have narrowed the ideas down to these four finalists.


Please go to Strategic Plan Naming Poll and vote for your favorite name (voting will close at the end of the day on December 16.)  The top vote getter will be announced when we return for the Spring Semester in January.

Next Steps:

We need to build the Theme Teams that will begin meeting in mid-January.  Teams will be made up of 10 to 15 members with a commitment expectation of 4 to 6, 2-hour meetings through the end of February.  Take a look at the summary information referenced above and if you have a particular interest or passion for one of the four themes (Transformative Experiences, Strategic Growth, Empowered Community, or Agile Culture), please email before December 20.  Theme team chairs, membership, and meeting schedules are being developed over the next two weeks.


Patrick (Rick) M. Ewing II
Vice President, Operations & Planning

Strategic Planning Update #2: November 25, 2019 Update & Timeline of Planning Activities

Plan Progress:

The Strategic Planning Community Day yielded 1,016 ideas under the general theme headings of Transformative Experiences, Strategic Growth, an Empowered Community, an Agile Culture, and "What is Missing." The raw data from the day is linked to the update that is on the portal and the summary report from Credo will be shared as soon as it is available.

Next Steps (Anticipated Timeline):

  1. We need to pick a name for the new Strategic Plan. See below.
  2. Formation of the Strategic Planning Core Team and Theme/Pillar teams will begin in December. Invitations will go out before the end of the semester.
  3. January 15th has been scheduled for the first Planning Team meeting day with our facilitators from Credo. They will be on campus to train the Strategic Planning Core Team on how to guide the work of the Theme/Pillar Teams.
  4. Theme/Pillar teams will meet mid-January through February to process and prioritize the ideas generated out of the first planning retreat and the Community day. Credo will assist in guiding the work of these teams.
  5. Credo will engage the Board of Trustees during their January meeting for a condensed version of the Community Day. This effort gives the Board the opportunity to validate and speak into the in-progress work of the Theme/Pillar teams.
  6. In early March, the Core Team will collect and synthesize the work of the Theme/Pillar teams into a draft plan for review and feedback.
  7. The finished plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at the May Board meeting.

Need Your Help:

This is an open call for naming ideas. We need a catchy, inspiring, creative and descriptive name to identify our next Strategic Plan. It should be short/concise and ideally have "Ashland" in it somewhere. Let those creative juices flow.

Send your ideas to by end of the day on December 5. The top three or four submissions will put back out to the Campus Community for a Vote.


Patrick (Rick) M. Ewing II
Vice President, Operations & Planning

Strategic Planning Update #1: November 11, 2019. Strategic Planning Community Day Update & Next Steps

The October 18th Strategic Planning Community Day brought roughly 170 members of the AU faculty and staff together in a way that not only generated a tremendous wealth of ideas to help form the next strategic plan of the University; it also rekindled an energy and sense of community that is essential to maintain a thriving institution. Feedback from that event has suggested that regular communication and updates on the planning process and next steps, is wanted and needed. To that end, this communication is the first of what will be a bi-weekly Strategic Planning update.

Plan Progress:

Our Strategic Planning Community Day facilitators, Matt and Maggie from Credo, have been tabulating and analyzing the 100-plus sheets of ideas generated from the 18 tables during that event. This was expected to be a 4-week process and they will be providing both the raw data and a summarizing report to us by the 18th of this month. As promised that information will be shared with the campus community. While this report constitutes the culmination of our initial engagement with Credo, we have decided to extend that engagement through the remaining planning process and into the implementation phase of the new Strategic Plan. Their support and guidance will focus us on clarity of process, alignment, accountability, and ultimately pursuing results that fulfill the mission of the University.

Next Steps:

  1. Now that we have extended the Credo engagement, our first task is to establish a well-defined and documented timeline identifying tasks and milestones for refining the plan, launching the implementation, and developing the accountability and assessment measures to ensure the plan's success.
  2. Ashland Rising 2020 has served the University well in establishing the 5 Pillars and driving many goals, objectives, and initiatives over the last 4 ½ years. Our next plan, however, needs a new identity. In the near future, look for the opportunity to suggest and/or vote on the name for our new plan.
  3. Credo will be back on campus before the end of the semester to provide guidance on how to structure and move into the work of planning teams.

Special Thanks:

  • Thank you to Dawne Beckel and Erika Chuburko for planning and putting together the Strategic Planning Community Day in the Upper Convocation Center.
  • Thank you to the Communication Task Force, chaired by Vickie Taylor, for soliciting and providing valuable feedback on the impact of communication before, during, and after the Strategic Planning Community Day.


Patrick (Rick) M. Ewing II
Vice President, Operations & Planning