Skip to main content

Igniting the Future: John Carroll University’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2026 offers a compelling and ambitious vision for transformative education at John Carroll. It builds on our academic strengths and Jesuit tradition, while differentiating and positioning us to compete more effectively in the increasingly competitive market for higher education. It calls for innovative curricular and co-curricular programs that will strengthen John Carroll for greater success for the next five years and beyond. The plan is comprehensive and includes our academic program priorities and administrative units, our enrollment strategy and marketing support, the student experience beyond the classroom, the ways in which we deliver our educational experiences, our technological platforms, and our community partnerships and collaborations.

The vision for John Carroll is bold and highly achievable. Igniting the Future is based on the foundational Jesuit principles of cura personalis and cura apostolica, developed into actionable initiatives through research and analysis related to the current and future demand for academic programs and John Carroll’s ability to compete for students in those programs. The plan realigns our academic mix to areas of enrollment and revenue growth that will allow us to care for our mission and our community by differentiating John Carroll and sustaining the institution going forward. Not surprisingly, this vision starts with our commitment to academic rigor, a faith that does justice, inclusive excellence, and care for the whole person. We will continue to inspire individuals of intellect and character to learn, lead, and serve in their communities and around the world. 

Grounded in our Jesuit heritage, we will build upon our liberal arts foundation to advance innovative, rigorous programs for a diverse community of students. We will leverage our location, alumni community, and historical strengths as we invest in developing curricular and co-curricular programs related to health, business, and data analytics; we will also continue our focus on experiential learning. John Carroll is well positioned to become a leader, both regionally and nationally, as we provide our students with a culture of care, where they experience a deep sense of belonging and thrive as engaged learners. Simultaneously, John Carroll must adapt to the realities of a declining undergraduate student population in our region, increase its graduate education, and achieve a sustainable cost structure going forward. 

I would like to thank the entire John Carroll community for their time and hard work in the planning process and commitment to the future of the University. It is remarkable what we accomplished this past year while continuing to deliver our first-class educational experience, serving our students outside the classroom, and rebuilding support structures, all while adapting to a global health crisis. 

Onward On, and go Blue Streaks!

Alan R. Miciak, President



Two overarching guiding principles served to shape the development and implementation of the strategic plan. The first guiding principle grounds all strategic priorities in John Carroll’s mission. Because the pursuit of academic excellence and commitment to a faith that does justice demand an inclusive environment in which all understand and embrace the distinctiveness of each person’s experience and the common humanity that unites us, the first principle gives rise to a second guiding principle of inclusive excellence. 

  • Guiding Principle 1: John Carroll University will realize its vision through a set of mission-driven strategic priorities that are grounded in its Jesuit Catholic educational heritage. These priorities and their respective goals will simultaneously draw inspiration from and help realize the four University Learning Goals of Intellect, Character, Leadership, and Service.

  • Guiding Principle 2: John Carroll University commits to inclusive excellence and a faith that does justice by building and sustaining a more diverse living, learning, and working environment in which all people are welcome and can thrive.

Building on its Jesuit Catholic mission, liberal arts tradition, integrative core curriculum, and commitments to experiential learning, inclusive excellence, and social justice, John Carroll University will renew, enhance and expand its academic program offerings to align with the changing needs of today’s world and the interests of prospective students.

John Carroll University’s academic enterprise lies at the heart of the institution’s mission to educate and form people for lives of learning, leadership, and service for and with others. In support of the first guiding principle and in service to the University’s mission, John Carroll must seek ways to maintain and strengthen the core of the academic mission – its academic programs. In this pursuit, the academic programs that John Carroll offers must continually adapt to the changing needs of students and the world and respond to the growing diversity of its student population. This involves supporting and strengthening underleveraged programs, creating new programs, capitalizing on perpetual advances and the growing interdisciplinary nature of learning that are brought to bear on the world’s most difficult problems, and reinterpreting existing and long-standing wisdom to new generations whose lived experiences are markedly different from past generations.

Goal 1: Enhance the roster of undergraduate and graduate programs offered at John Carroll University to appeal to a new generation of students, reflect a distinctive mission, and expand John Carroll’s student populations.

  • Objective 1.1: Pursue new undergraduate and graduate programs in areas such as healthcare (including nursing), business, STEM concentrations, data/analytics, and other areas that will advance John Carroll’s mission and increase brand awareness and attractiveness. 

  • Objective 1.2: Leverage and/or enhance existing academic programs in light of recommendations from the Academic Program Evaluation team and market research. These include existing programs with broad enrollment appeal such as biology, business, analytics and data offerings, as well as traditionally strong programs in humanities, social sciences, and professional studies.

  • Objective 1.3: Create innovative, mission-inspired academic programs and pathways that expand and diversify John Carroll’s student population and adapt to students’ life circumstances and learning needs.

  • Objective 1.4: Pursue professional development, certificate, and both credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing continuing education programs.

  • Objective 1.5 Enhance program efforts to include curricular aspects that demonstrate how John Carroll’s Jesuit mission and commitment to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion distinguish programs and students. 

Goal 2: Leverage John Carroll’s liberal arts tradition as the foundation for an Ignatian Imagination.

  • Objective 2.1: John Carroll University will have a compelling narrative across all areas of its curricular and co-curricular efforts, detailing the pathways towards personal and professional success through an Integrative Core Curriculum. This narrative must be built with an eye towards modern marketing techniques and use language that is accessible and meaningful to prospective students.

  • Objective 2.2: John Carroll will increase its market attractiveness and enrollment by developing new and innovative approaches to the partnering of the liberal arts with professionally-directed programs to leverage the strengths of both.  

Goal 3: Integrate the transformative power of experiential learning, including service-learning, community-based research, and project-based learning, across academic programs to deepen real world learning and promote the development of 21st century skills as a hallmark of Jesuit education.

  • Objective 3.1: Integrate high impact practices throughout the core, minors, and majors, including across instructional offices and structures. 

  • Objective 3.2: Collaborate with faculty in the implementation of the Integrated Pathways model to track students’ experiential learning.

  • Objective 3.3 Create scaffolded experiences that develop capacities and skills.

Goal 4: Inspired by cura personalis (care for the whole person), facilitate academic program success by reorganizing the academic enterprise to be more effective, efficient, and supportive.

  • Objective 4.1: Invest in efforts that improve the academic experience within an expanding diversity of programs, including focused efforts aimed at meeting the learning and teaching support needs of a diversity of students, faculty, and staff.

  • Objective 4.2: Examine and organize all academic administrative support structures towards increasing their ability to deliver a more effective and efficient educational experience to students.


Building on its commitment to faith that does justice, inclusive excellence, and care for the whole person, John Carroll University will integrate and enhance existing programs that promote student wellness and success in a distinctly Ignatian environment where all are welcomed, challenged, and supported. Faculty, staff, and peers will mentor and advise students through a seamlessly integrated and transformative experience by which they develop as people for and with others and work toward a more just and humane world.  

As John Carroll students prepare to take their places as discerning leaders for social change in an increasingly complex, diverse, and challenging world, the University will support their success and well-being in a community where all are welcome. Through the expansion and integration of support systems, facilities, technology, and programming, students will be empowered to discern their gifts and talents and determine their pathways to meet the world’s needs. Each of the following goals and accompanying objectives will broaden opportunities for students to discover their full potential, encounter God in all things, respond to pressing social justice issues, and emerge as global citizens who work toward a more just and humane world.

Goal 1:  Establish and implement an Ignatian model for Student Success across all student-facing divisions including Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, Mission and Identity, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

  • Objective 1.1: Define, develop, and assess a holistic model for student success based on Ignatian principles that reflects and values the intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions among a diversity of people.

  • Objective 1.2: Establish an integrated academic and co-curricular support system aimed at promoting a holistic student success model that yields excellent outcomes for a diverse student body in their personal and professional lives. This will be embodied in an Integrated Pathways model in which students can participate in their own planning for success.

  • Objective 1.3: Identify and address any systemic problems that undermine student success.

Goal 2: Foster a culture of care and support through a holistic approach to student and community well-being across backgrounds, identities, and needs.

  • Objective 2.1: Reinforce the culture of wellness across campus to reflect the collaborative and integrated efforts to expand recreational, spiritual, social, and leadership programming for an engaged and inclusive community.

  • Objective 2.2 Enhance and integrate campus efforts to educate about and respond to the most pressing social justice and equity issues at the local, national, and global levels.

  • Objective 2.3: Improve accessibility to resources and services on campus for all students.

Goal 3: Improve campus facilities and maximize their use with enhanced technology and the resources necessary to deliver services that support student engagement and success.

  • Objective 3.1: Strengthen the current utilization of campus spaces, with specific focus on the renovation and use of Grasselli Library and the Breen Learning Center, to sustain and enhance the environments that support the integrative student experience and academic success.

  • Objective 3.2: Identify and implement technologies focused on evaluating, tracking, and improving the success of diverse learners and allow for maximum use of campus resources.

Building on its commitments as an engaged campus community seeking the greater good (the Magis), John Carroll University will achieve institutional success and fiscal sustainability by caring for its people and finances, investing in development opportunities for faculty and staff, developing market responsive enrollment strategies and the next capital campaign, and investing in marketing and technology infrastructure.

Enrollment Strategy and Support

Achieving institutional and financial sustainability necessitates a robust enrollment strategy and support structure. The pursuit of excellence demands that all understand and embrace the richness that a diversity of representation brings to the University community. These goals are designed to ensure that John Carroll has an efficient and effective enrollment management strategy with a full set of necessary competencies achieved through purposeful design and collaboration with internal and external partners.

Goal 1: Establish a first-year undergraduate recruitment strategy that is responsive to changing demographics and student needs in Northeast Ohio and other key recruitment markets.

  • Objective 1.1: Reimagine Enrollment Management to generate interest in John Carroll’s new and enhanced programs among targeted and qualified prospects, prioritizing those programs with the best opportunity for growth based on data-based analysis.

  • Objective 1.2: Utilize new institutional branding and positioning in the recruitment process to reflect competitive realities and increase the effectiveness of messaging.

Goal 2: Establish a graduate recruitment strategy for programs across the College of Arts and Sciences and the Boler College of Business that reflects market research, is responsive to changing demographics and student needs, and capitalizes on enrollment and revenue growth potential regionally and beyond. 

  • Objective 2.1: Implement a strategic marketing plan that utilizes digital and traditional platforms, John Carroll’s new institutional branding, and value proposition messaging to generate interest in John Carroll’s new and enhanced graduate programs.

Goal 3: Build a framework to recruit underrepresented students and adult learners for graduate and undergraduate programs, including high school and college students.

  • Objective 3.1: Identify and promote resources to support programs designed to recruit and enroll an increased number of first-generation and other underrepresented students.

  • Objective 3.2: Expand outreach to grow the number of transfer students, including those beyond the traditional 18 to 22 year old market.

Technology Planning

As online learning advances, John Carroll must utilize the latest technology tools to ensure all learners are thriving. A comprehensive, university-wide technology plan will be critical in achieving the academic and student-focused goals in Igniting the Future. John Carroll will focus its technology planning efforts on identifying technologies to enable streamlined processes within a framework that promotes cybersecurity and enhances the complete student experience. 

Goal 4: Provide next-generation digital teaching and learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. 

  • Objective 4.1: Create expanded technology-enhanced learning opportunities by revitalizing the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and connecting it with the technical expertise of the Center for Digital Media (CDM), all co-located in the new Learning Commons in the library.

  • Objective 4.2: Provide enhanced digital environments and technology-supported learning spaces that expand learning opportunities within traditional learning spaces and online for all students.

Goal 5: Implement an agile, robust, and transparent technology governance system that is accessible and utilized to inform strategy and efficient business processes.

  • Objective 5.1 Utilize this governance system to prioritize implementation of student-focused support solutions and digital business-enabling technologies while simplifying and enhancing integrated administrative systems.

  • Objective 5.2: Charge the Data Governance Task Force to transition from assessment to process implementation.

  • Objective 5.3: Continue to enhance the university-wide cybersecurity program under the direction of the Information Security Task Force with special attention to emerging privacy standards.

  • Objective 5.4: Integrate technology infrastructure services that meet usage requirements and gather data to better inform decisions directly related to student success.

Support Structures and Investments

Just as John Carroll must adapt its academic offerings and student support structures, the University must also adapt its organizational structures. John Carroll’s support structures in Integrated Marketing Communications and University Advancement must help other units engage in the planning and implementation necessary to innovate and sustain the University for years to come. Foremost, John Carroll must ensure that the institution has a solid and sustainable financial foundation.

Goal 6: Address John Carroll’s financial cost structure, human resource needs, and facilities needs to ensure a sustainable future for the University.

  • Objective 6.1: Reduce the University’s cost structure to a level that ensures that revenues equal or exceeds costs on an annual basis. 

  • Objective 6.2: Ensure that the University’s cost structure includes investments in people and programs essential to John Carroll’s Jesuit Catholic mission and its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Objective 6.3: Continue implementation of the University’s plan for inclusive excellence to grow, support, and engage a diverse community of students, faculty and staff.

  • Objective 6.4: Revisit and update the University’s campus master plan to inform decisions regarding infrastructure utilization and improvements.

Goal 7: Invest in Integrated Marketing and Communications as a resource for all units on campus. 

  • Objective 7.1: Restructure IMC to properly support the University’s strategic priorities with a direct reporting line to the President.

  • Objective 7.2: Balance internal investments, roles, and responsibilities with external partners who will assist in building a modern and cost-effective organizational structure; support internal staff and identify freelance specialists; directly support graduate program marketing; develop a marketing and communications plan budget for 2021 and beyond; and partner with Eduvantis to support an enrollment management strategy.

  • Objective 7.3: Increase funding for IMC and Enrollment Management, with a particular focus on digital marketing in support of enrollment and general awareness in key markets, to align marketing investment with existing institutional strengths.

Goal 8: Leverage John Carroll’s strong endowment, committed alumni, and history of fundraising success in launching the University’s next capital campaign to support the goals and objectives identified in Igniting the Future.

  • Objective 8.1: Implement a detailed capital campaign plan including, but not limited to, a timeline, budget, goal, staffing, philanthropic priorities, and volunteer structures.

  • Objective 8.2: Make strategic investments in the University Advancement division to support the successful completion of a capital campaign.