Boldly Elon plan charts course for the university’s next decade

Guided by a new 10-year strategic plan, Elon University will expand its position of national leadership in student success.

Elon University’s board of trustees has announced the Boldly Elon strategic plan, a blueprint that will guide the university’s development over the next 10 years. The plan builds on the accomplishments of the recently completed Elon Commitment strategic plan, which established Elon’s as a top-100 national university and the premier student-centered environment for experiential learning.

“We named this plan Boldly Elon because it embraces our university’s unique history as an academic community intensely focused on student success,” said Connie Ledoux Book, Elon’s president. “Elon University holds a singular place in higher education. Working together with determination and a spirit of innovation over the next decade, we will expand Elon’s position of national leadership. Our vision for the future is exciting and bold and we have already begun to write the next chapter in Elon’s remarkable history.”

Board of Trustees Chair Ed Doherty thanked the Elon community for its active participation in creating Boldly Elon. The effort was led by a 40-member planning committee co-chaired by trustee and 1979 alumna Kerrii Anderson and Jeff Stein, Elon’s vice president for strategic initiatives and partnerships.

“Nearly 2,500 students, alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff, board and council members, and community members participated in committees, working groups, listening sessions and open forums, and more than 5,500 constituents responded to surveys, contributing 10,000 responses,” Doherty said. “The results of their work over the past 18 months is compelling and establishes a transformative vision for Elon’s future.”

Boldly Elon is organized around four themes, each with a set of challenging objectives that will advance the university across many dimensions:

Theme 1: LEARN

Elon will set higher standards for engaged learning, ensuring that every student has the opportunity and means to access high-impact learning experiences, including study abroad, internships, research, civic engagement and leadership development. Through a groundbreaking mentoring model, every student will build a lifelong constellation of peer, faculty and staff mentors.

Elon will create a distinctive model for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, creating a new school of engineering and new nursing programs, while ensuring that all students achieve data competency. The new academic programs, characterized by experiential learning and grounded in the liberal arts, will be anchored in a new Innovation Quad. Construction of the first two buildings, located between McMichael Science Center and Richard W. Sankey Hall, is projected to begin in fall 2020.

Elon will innovate teaching and learning across the curriculum, deepening the arts and sciences at the core of the undergraduate curriculum through cross-disciplinary work, engagement with global challenges and flexible pathways to degrees. Professional and graduate programs will expand and achieve higher levels of national recognition, and 3+1 and 3+2 combination undergraduate-graduate programs will be developed.

Theme 2: THRIVE

Elon will create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community. There will be more students, faculty and staff from many different nations, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences, contributing to an expanded emphasis on intercultural competency and multifaith learning.

Elon will foster a culture of health and well-being that promotes resilience and belonging. A renovated Koury Center will be a comprehensive hub for wellness, recreation and mental and physical health in the heart of campus. The vibrant residential campus will support student development in and out of the classroom and provide new residential facilities for an additional 1,200 students.

Elon will recruit, develop and retain exceptional faculty and staff, advancing compensation and increasing support for faculty-staff scholarship and professional development and well-being.

Theme 3: CONNECT

To further engage in lifelong partnerships with alumni, Elon will establish facilities in New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. as admissions/alumni/learning centers. Robust professional networks and learning opportunities will ensure graduates remain connected to the university and their peers throughout their lives.

Closer to home, Elon will be an essential partner in advancing Alamance and Guilford counties, including new initiatives with the Alamance-Burlington School System to support literacy, college preparation and certification and teacher licensure programs. A business incubator will spur economic growth and Elon’s School of Law and School of Health Sciences will expand outreach with local individuals, agencies and businesses.

Phoenix athletics will expand its leadership in NCAA Division I sports, winning conference and tournament titles and setting the highest standards in academic success and gender equity and designing a premier student-athlete experience that enhances well-being.

Building on the success of the new on-campus Inn at Elon boutique hotel, the university will partner with the Town of Elon, City of Burlington and surrounding communities to further develop a thriving college town environment, benefiting local residents and students, faculty and staff who want to live, shop and enjoy life in a safe and vibrant community.

Theme 4: RISE

Elon will expand student recruitment internationally and across the United States. Financial aid resources will double, supporting up to 400 Odyssey scholars. The historic $250 million Elon LEADS Campaign will reach its goal, more than doubling the university’s endowment and growing alumni giving. Student and alumni success will continue to improve as Elon increases the four-year graduation rate and expands employment and graduate school placement through the Student Professional Development Center.

“The Boldly Elon strategic plan expresses who we are: a people who respond to challenge and adversity with resilience, hard work, innovation and an intense focus on what matters most – students,” Book said. “We are honored to pursue these goals and we invite the involvement and commitment of all who share this central belief: that the world needs Elon graduates.”

The Boldly Elon plan was launched by the campus community at a Feb. 11 College Coffee celebration in Alumni Gym. The event included about 100 second-grade students from South Mebane Elementary School and their teachers, including Meredith Citty, a 2014 Elon graduate. The children will begin their college studies in 2030 at the conclusion of the Boldly Elon plan and their participation in the launch event was a reminder of the importance of preparing Elon to serve future generations.

More details of the Boldly Elon plan, including a full list of objectives, can be found at