Introduction and Overview

Affordable access to public higher education is essential to social mobility and the future of our knowledge-based economy and our democratic society. For nearly 100 years, Salisbury University (SU) has served the region and the State of Maryland by educating students who are well prepared for gainful employment and able to influence the lives of others across the nation and around the world. In 1925, the campus was founded as a normal school for training teachers. Less than a decade later, the college expanded from offering two years of study to four. Since then, it has evolved and transformed significantly into a premier comprehensive public university with a national reputation for excellence across a variety of academic disciplines and practices. Currently, SU offers 62 distinct degree programs, including 45 undergraduate majors, [1] 15 master’s programs and two applied doctoral degrees.

As a campus, we believe in a set of shared values that guide our strategic, academic, facilities and enrollment plans, as well as our fiscal commitments. Our core values are excellence, student centeredness, learning, community, civic engagement, and diversity and inclusion. We believe these values must be lived and experienced as integral to everyday campus life to ensure that our students make the connection between what they learn and how they live. SU is fortunate to be located in Maryland’s fastest growing city, providing the entire campus community with opportunities to become civically engaged. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, SU is close to popular beach communities as well as scenic tributaries and waterways, creating unique opportunities for faculty, staff and students to become involved in recreational activities, environmental sustainability efforts and unique research opportunities. Proximity to major metropolitan areas, including the national capital region, affords many opportunities across programs.

As our centennial anniversary approaches in 2025, the University is focused on meeting the emerging needs of students, as well as the community, State and nation. We have the capacity to further distinguish ourselves through the significant accomplishments of our students, the strength of our student outcomes, the achievements our graduates attain after completing their degrees at SU, and the professional contributions of our faculty and staff. In addition, the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan positions us to meet the growing needs of the State to increase access to affordable and high-quality postsecondary education by evolving our programs and expanding the modalities of program delivery. We plan to meet these goals by bolstering our efforts to hire and retain outstanding and diverse faculty and staff to be a part of SU’s collaborative and contemporary workforce.

Our recent history gives us reason to be optimistic with many achievements, from the expansion of academic programs and largest student enrollments in the institution’s history, to the development of new state-of-the-art facilities, to the founding of two new colleges and the launch of the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in campus history. This 2020-2025 Strategic Plan outlines the goals and objectives that will guide SU in flourishing as a top-tier, mid-sized, public, comprehensive university on the East Coast of the United States. Following more than a year of collaboration through information gathering, trend analysis and focus group discussions with faculty, staff, students and community constituents, SU has developed five strategic goals to lead our efforts:

  1. Improving Access and Affordability;
  2. Supporting Student Development and Success;
  3. Inspiring a Campus Culture of Inclusive Excellence, Support and Collaboration;
  4. Deepening Engagement with the Community;
  5. Increasing Awareness of the University’s Identity, Practices, Outcomes and Impacts.

This new plan will guide us as we address challenges and seize opportunities to enable SU to carry out the mission of a public higher education institution for generations to come and is well aligned with both the Maryland State Plan for Postsecondary Education [2]   and the University System of Maryland (USM) Strategic Plan. [3]  We view this plan as aspirational and recognize that some strategies may be easier to achieve than others over the next five years. However, an accompanying implementation plan will detail the data-informed prioritization and budgeting process for the elements of this plan and provide guidance as we approach our centennial anniversary.

[1] Expect approval of two new undergraduate majors by the end of October.
[2] Maryland State Plan for Postsecondary Education
[3] University System of Maryland Strategic Plan.