Arcadia Sets Sights on Future with Adaptive Strategy

By Caitlin Burns | April 13, 2020
Arcadia University Grey Towers Castle

Arcadia University is transforming the higher education landscape through a community-engaged adaptive strategy, ARCADIA 2025.

Over the past two years, the Arcadia community has worked together to build a dynamic and innovative strategy that encourages the University to experiment and take initiative, ask questions and create synergies, and move ahead through often unknowable environments. 

The Board of Trustees approved ARCADIA 2025 at their Feb. 20 meeting, but it was years of building the foundation through UKnighted meetings, unit discussions, and strategy development workshops that led to it. 

In April 2018, the University held its first UKnighted meeting with 250 community stakeholders engaging in discussions around Budget Planning, Core Values, Communication Strategies, Shared Governance, and Aspirational Vision. From this first session, the community drove forward five task forces that created the base for strategic development sessions and launched new initiatives, such as the Office of Social Impact and Innovation (SI2). This first phase set the groundwork for collaborative planning to transform the culture of Arcadia.

After a national search, Dr. Jeff Rutenbeck, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, joined the University community and spearheaded the collaborative community sessions. Nearly 500 Arcadia community members participated in 33 strategy development sessions throughout the fall 2019 semester, submitting hundreds of input cards as feedback to the adaptive strategy process.

From those sessions and cards, the “Work in Progress” sessions in December 2019 and January 2020 explored areas of sustainability, First-Year Student Experience, civic engagement, and other topics that keep students at the center of University planning and development. At this meeting, Dr. Rutenbeck, Rashmi Radhakrishnan, vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer, and Joseph Sun, director of Strategic Initiatives, explained how these initiatives would be examined through a social justice lens with the President’s Commission on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), a comprehensive review of Arcadia’s policies, practices, and campus climate to ensure each align with the University’s Vision and Lived Values.

As the community heads into an unknown environment this fall with the coronavirus pandemic, ARCADIA 2025 will continue to guide the University in its mission to provide a distinctively global, integrative, and personal learning experience for intellectually curious undergraduate and graduate students in preparation for a life of scholarship, service, and professional contribution.