Commission Gustavus 150

Summer 2013

Status Update on Tier 1 Recommendations

Implementation of Commission Gustavus 150 recommendations started in the summer of 2009 and will continue until 2020.

For a quick glance at the status of all the recommendations, please go to the Strategic Framework Booklet.

Tier 1 recommendations were to have been initiated as soon as possible with substantial progress demonstrated over the first three years (Summer 2009 - Summer 2012).  Below is a status update on the Tier 1 recommendations that are either substantially realized or being implemented.  Recommendations are listed by their originally assigned Substantive Categories.

Quality Enhancing and Innovative Initiatives - Tier 1
Substantially Realized or Implementation Underway


  • Develop a sustainable leadership structure and increase the support of faculty teaching in the First Term Seminar program.
  • Enhance the student experience in interdisciplinary programs through: guest professorships and lectures; collaborating with local community partners; study away; student/faculty research; attending and presenting at conferences; mentoring by alumni; and increased advising by faculty.
  • Link curriculum development to the assessment of the curriculum, faculty effectiveness, and student learning outcomes in order to ensure ongoing academic excellence.
  • Support, through faculty development, innovative pedagogical techniques incorporating new and emerging technologies that show improved student learning outcomes.
  • Provide competitive faculty salaries for those disciplines where Gustavus cannot currently compete for Ph.D. faculty, including the development of a “grow your own Ph.D.s” strategy.

Student Development

  • Develop a vibrant undergraduate summer research program.
  • Develop appropriate academic and advising opportunities and support for sophomore students.
  • Infuse leadership development through the College experience beyond the curriculum, capitalizing on strong existing practices and providing resources to establish new programs and standards.
  • Expand an interactive bystander intervention program that equips students to intervene in situations where another’s drinking has potentially harmful consequences for the drinker and/or bystanders.

Signature Events

  • Secure the ongoing success of signature College events, including the Nobel Conference, Christmas in Christ Chapel, and the MAYDAY! Peace Conference, by fully endowing their production.

Physical Plant

  • Affirm that academic building projects will respond to clearly identified program needs that support the curriculum, incorporate best practices of the discipline, and provide spaces to enhance learning activity at the intersections.
  • Complete over the next ten years the following long-term campus safety projects: well-lit Campus Drive path/sidewalk, keyless entry for all buildings, automatic fire protection systems in all buildings, multi-layered emergency notification for entire campus, and stand-by electrical generation.

Environmental Sustainability

  • Continue the College’s tradition of multi-purpose use and adaptive reuse of current facilities and design new facilities that are efficient, durable, and responsive to changing uses and technologies.


  • Implement Gustavus’s brand repositioning to include a recruitment marketing campaign, education for students and alumni, and merchandise.
  • Explore ways to collect and disseminate stories both on and off campus of the professional and personal achievements of faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni.
  • Foster and promote a culture of philanthropy and gratitude by establishing the Gustavus story of philanthropy and re-examining the donor process.

Strategic Planning

  • Maintain internal financial tracking controls and an institutional scorecard to benchmark financial and operational efficiencies and retention areas.
  • Develop and annually review an internal and external communication plan, budgeting process, and implementation strategies for Commission Gustavus 150-related priorities.
  • Identify programs where the College currently excels or would like to excel and give these programs priority for staffing and resource allocation.

There are eight other Tier 1 recommendations.
In addition, there are nine Tier 2 or Tier 3 recommendations either substantially realized or being implemented.

Partnerships and Collaborations - Tier 1
Substantially Realized or Implementation Underway


  • Enhance the newly created Provost Council by providing a structure to encourage the “centers of synergy” on campus to integrate and enrich existing programs and identify new collaborative initiatives.


  • Increase opportunities for prospective students to come into contact with Gustavus by building a stronger presence and partnerships with rostered leaders and alumni in ELCA congregations.
  • Develop a program hosted at the American Swedish Institute to facilitate presentations by faculty, staff, and alumni of the College in the Twin Cities.
  • Maximize the relationships between alumni, parents, friends, corporations, government agencies, and foundations to build mutually beneficial partnerships and enhanced fundraising.
  • Actively involve local (St. Peter/Mankato) alumni for on-campus programming.
  • Explore with the local law enforcement agencies the feasibility of implementing a comprehensive limited immunity program for students seeking immediate help in cases involving alcohol consumption.

There are three other Tier 1 recommendations.
In addition, there are 14 Tier 2 or Tier 3 recommendations either substantially realized or being implemented.

Cultural Perspectives - Tier 1
Substantially Realized or Implementation Underway

Gustavus Culture

  • Adopt and strongly communicate a campuswide statement and infuse written communication with clear, strong, and consistent references to the College’s commitment to diversity that defines and actively.
  • Ensure that there is strong diversity representation on the Board of Trustees.


  • Pursue every avenue to support and recruit immigrant students from the surrounding region, including those from Minnesota’s many ethnic Lutheran congregations.
  • Create mechanisms to increase recruitment and retention of faculty from traditionally underrepresented groups.


  • Provide for dietary requirements of various groups on campus during holy days and times of fasting.

There are four other Tier 1 recommendations.
In addition, there are eight Tier 2 or Tier 3 recommendations either substantially realized or being implemented.

Personal Growth and Development - Tier 1
Substantially Realized or Implementation Underway

Health and Wellness

  • Integrate health, wellness, and fitness opportunities and philosophies throughout campus, starting with a review of services for students.
  • Implement a comprehensive plan to support prevention, education, intervention, and assessment that results in a significant reduction of high-risk behaviors, starting with first-year students and parents.
  • Identify strategies and resources to enhance immediate assessments of chemical use and to support students recovering from substance abuse and addiction.


  • Further develop a campus-wide advising/mentoring community that aims to meet the growing number of diverse advising and mentoring needs of all students, including the recent work of the Men’s Leadership Initiative.
  • Expand the types of career experience options to increase the number of student participants.
  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of student needs and appropriate scope of practice relating to Counseling Center services.
  • Enhance effective responses to victims and perpetrators of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and bias incidents by providing counseling and the ability to be effective when the response is both proactive and reactive.
  • Strengthen the College’s process to respond to, report, and communicate hate crimes, and to effectively sanction perpetrators.


  • Implement an ongoing orientation for administrators and staff.
  • Revamp and create new structures and policies to provide a flexible schedule for employees; identify and utilize employees’ strengths; and further develop a culture of employee participation in decision-making and ownership in the future of Gustavus.
  • Enhance competitively awarded internal funds to provide faculty additional funding for scholarship, research, or creative work and to leverage this for additional external funding.
  • Create benchmarks for Gustavus to regularly measure employee satisfaction.
There are two other Tier 1 recommendations.
In addition, there are twelve Tier 2 or Tier 3 recommendations either substantially realized or being implemented.

Spiritual Growth and Development - Tier 1
Substantially Realized or Implementation Underway

  • Charge the Chaplains’ Office to write a comprehensive strategic plan that directly addresses, among other areas, how to increase programs to nurture Christian faith among Christian students; that more clearly defines the purpose of daily chapel; that explores the best practices of all campus ministries with respect to forms of Christian expression in worship, including music; and that addresses the support level needed for student-led faith ministries.
  • Reaffirm the practice of daily campuswide personal or communal sabbath time from 10:00 to 10:20 a.m.
  • Establish an atmosphere that engages students and faculty in interreligious conversations and experiences.
  • Provide the interreligious programming resources and gathering, worship, meditation, and prayer space needed to support students of various religious backgrounds.
  • Endorse the ongoing work of the Chaplains’ Office to coordinate intra-Christian observances on campus and in Christ Chapel.
  • Develop plans to celebrate and capitalize on upcoming anniversaries to strengthen the College’s understanding of its Lutheran heritage.
  • Evaluate the proposal for Gustavus to host a large conference on faith for Lutheran congregations and the broader Gustavus community
There are three other Tier 1 recommendations.
In addition, there are two Tier 2 recommendations either substantially realized or being implemented.

Lifelong Engagement - Tier 1
Substantially Realized or Implementation Underway


  • Create a new focus and philosophy in alumni programming based on a lifelong journey from the admission process through post-college experiences.


  • Be recognized within five years as a best-practice college in alumni communication by creating a robust online alumni communications platform, ensuring that class communication is vibrant and volunteer-driven, and creating a Gustavus Quarterly editorial advisory group.
  • Actively gather new and different information from alumni to celebrate achievements more widely throughout campus and to drive all forms of alumni engagement.


  • Revamp the alumni volunteer leadership model to sustain a mutually-supportive, broad-based level of engagement and service with Gustavus.
  • Substantially increase alumni engagement by reinventing the alumni class leadership structure, creating volunteer management of social networking sites, and establishing formal programs connecting alumni with academic departments and alumni-driven shared interest groups.
  • Engage alumni in the identification of new student applicants, connect prospective students with an alum, and bolster the number of alumni involved as resources for students’ vocational and career aspirations.
  • Invest in a market analysis for the development of robust continuing education programs for alumni, parents, and friends, including programs on campus, in the Twin Cities, travel tours, and distance education.
  • Promote the “Reading in Common” book to alumni to build community among alumni and to connect with current students.


  • Develop a ten-year strategy to increase alumni participation in giving to Gustavus to at least 50 percent.

There is one other Tier 1 recommendation.
In addition, there are five Tier 2 or Tier 3 recommendations either substantially realized or being implemented.

Tangible Resources - Tier 1
Substantially Realized or Implementation Underway

Employee Compensation

  • Maintain administrative and support staff compensation at levels competitive with an agreed-upon peer group.
  • Provide competitive benefits based on an agreed-upon peer group for employees, especially as related to health care.

Academic/Program Support

  • Increase funding to improve the Library collection and enhance electronic access.
  • Provide support for First Term Seminar programming.
  • Raise the funds to match the Howard Hughes Medical Initiative $1 million grant for the Visualization Center in Nobel.
  • Create the means to effectively support the increasing demand for disability services.
  • Provide resources to electronically deliver, receive, and archive student records and transcripts.
  • Increase the endowment and funding for the Nobel Conference.

Physical Plant

  • Meet the needs of rapidly changing disciplines by maximizing long-range flexibility among buildings and short-range nimbleness within a building.
  • Fund the campus framework plan and subsequent South Mall and West Mall, intentionally maintaining a predominately pedestrian campus while responding to parking needs.
  • Build the financial base and endowment for funding the refreshment and maintenance of building systems within a 40-year renewal cycle, affirming the practice that it is preferable to repurpose old buildings to new uses.
  • Transform academic buildings with the furniture, equipment, instruments, and technology needed to become state-of-the art student learning and teaching spaces.
  • Expedite the funding and construction of the “New Academic Building.“
  • Update the residence hall master plan to ensure design flexibility that accommodates diverse student needs, fluctuating student enrollment, and the capacity for utilization to meet other non-student housing needs (staff, alumni, visiting professors).
  • Relocate the Office of Human Resources.


  • Prepare financial modeling for enrollments of 2,200, 2,400, and 2,600, to determine the desired size of the student population.
  • Build the financial resources necessary to attract and retain top students, including dramatically increasing underrepresented student populations.
  • Continue to create compelling admission materials, maximizing traditional and emerging delivery technologies.


  • Develop the next comprehensive campaign case statement, timeline, and staff structure.
  • Commit no less than 50 percent of future fundraising campaign goals to endowment growth and increase the Gustavus endowment by $150 million.
  • Clearly define the basic facts about, and the case for giving to, Gustavus, which every alum and student should know.
  • Consistently meet or exceed the ELCA and Minnesota Private College Council peer group for total private gifting per student each year.
  • Significantly increase restricted support from government, corporate, and foundation sources, including matching gift opportunities.

Auxiliary Operations

  • Continue to explore and develop ways for auxiliary operations (e.g., Postal Services, Printing Service, Book Mark, Dining Service) to provide outstanding customer service and products, improve operating efficiencies, and meet the needs of students.
  • Optimize, prioritize, and increase Summer Programs to maximize revenue and minimize expense, while maintaining an atmosphere of campus hospitality during the summer months.

There are four other Tier 1 recommendations.
In addition there are 23 Tier 2 or Tier 3 recommendations either substantially realized or being implemented.


To review all 439 recommendations and current progress,

please visit the Commission Blog.  


Viewers are able to browse the Commission Blog by specific Commission Task Force and in a broader way by the categories and tiers developed by the Board of Trustees. Updates on major progress will be posted of Commission Blog each winter and summer.

If you have specific questions, please contact Commission Gustavus 150 Executive Director, Barb Larson Taylor, at or 507-933-7515.