In 2012, the School of Continuing Studies launched a five-year strategic plan that proposed sweeping changes, first to its name, becoming the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, and then to its undergraduate programs of study.

Implementation resulted in updating our Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) and Bachelor of Liberal Arts (BLA) degrees to become Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies (BSPS) and Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (BALA) degrees. Additional changes stemming from the plan’s implementation included eliminating our online emergency management programs, adding graduate programs in nonprofit studies and public history, and concluding our off-campus weekend college programs in Danville and Fredericksburg.

Since that time, significant changes in leadership at both the University and School level have generated renewed interest in and focus on developing strategic plans for stability, sustainability, measured growth, and program and operational refinement. As the University launched its latest strategic planning initiative under the leadership of a new president, SPCS launched its strategic planning initiative under the leadership of a new dean.

The SPCS process has followed closely behind the University process, enabling the School’s plan to integrate some of the major themes into its own planning. In addition to paralleling the University’s process, SPCS has consulted with Southeastern Institute of Research, Inc. (SIR) to collect data and identify areas where internal and external respondents see room for improvement along with models of excellence.

Key research findings included:

  • The importance of incorporating the Richmond community into the School’s plans
  • The opportunity to innovate as one of few continuing and professional education (CPE) divisions in top-tier private liberal arts schools
  • The significance of the School’s relationship with the University as a brand, as a Richmond landmark, as a private institution, and as a partner in community engagement

As the plan coalesced around research findings and feedback from stakeholders, themes emerged that have influenced the process of setting goals and recommending initiatives.