Story by Anna Schlutt, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Anna Schlutt
Aquinas College recently released a 2030 vision, creating a rough outline for the college’s mission and plans for the future.
The vision does not include any concrete goals or upcoming projects. Instead, it lists the things Aquinas intends to focus on and improve in the next ten years.
Within this time frame, the college intends to “deepen the Dominican manifestation of Aquinas College’s Catholic identity,” according to the formal vision outlined on The Moose.
Key indicators of this success would include how well students can explain the significance of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Dominic. The school is also focused on less measurable indicators. A main goal of the Dominican education is to teach students to see themselves as part of a whole.
This is difficult to gauge. Kevin Quinn, president of the college, hopes students will ask themselves, “What is my place in the world?” and be able to more clearly define their roles.
Another priority of the 2030 vision is higher yearly retention rates among students. Currently, Aquinas loses an average of 12.3% of students from first to second year.
While no specific goal has been set for retention rates, the school hopes to significantly reduce this percentage. Brian Matzke, current associate vice president for student affairs, was recently named associate vice president for student success.
In his new capacity, Matzke will “be responsible for the direction of programs and curricula related to academic support, retention, graduation and services for all students,” according to a letter sent by Quinn. This signifies a new focus on retention and student support.
Diversity is another key point of the 2030 vision. Currently, 65.2% of Aquinas undergraduate students are white, while 58.7% are female. While the college was unable to list specific goals for these percentages, Aquinas aims to diversify these numbers, increasing the attendance of men and people of color.
There are many ways to increase male college attendance. For example, schools have the option of adding football teams, which tend to draw in more men. However, Quinn was clear about the football future of Aquinas. As an economist, he believes the sport has no monetary potential.
Instead, the president is opting to improve STEM programs at the college. Since men historically lean towards more science- and engineering-based careers, he considers this likely to draw more interest.
In order to create more racial diversity at the college, it is likely that CORE, the Center for Opportunities, Resources and Excellence, will be expanded.
Quinn regrets the lack of previous planning for the future of the school.
“I feel that we haven’t done as well as we could have because we just haven’t really had a plan,” he said.
Overall, the 2030 vision for Aquinas is fairly open-ended, but gives direction to the general goals of the college and allows administration to plan ahead.