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Welcome back to Clarke University! Together, we will cultivate new ways of delivering the Clarke experience — supporting each other and our community. We stand as One Clarke, One Community.

Fall 2020 Return to Campus Information
COVID-19 Communication

Archived Communications

November 20, 2018

Dear colleagues,

As you know, the Clarke Board of Trustees is reviewing the University’s mission statement as part of the strategic planning process. At its May meeting, the Board reviewed how Clarke’s foundational documents have evolved over the years. The Board asked a small working group of trustees to draft a new statement and to develop a process for sharing the statement with the campus community.

The writing group of the Board developed a set of three interrelated foundational documents: a mission statement, a statement of core values, and a statement describing the Clarke educational experience. The Board discussed the draft documents at its October meeting. The next step is to share these documents with the campus community with groups such as department chairs and divisional directors, as well as in open sessions for other interested faculty and staff.

The first group session with academic department chairs was held last week. Meetings for divisional directors are being arranged through vice presidents and will occur before Christmas break.  A meeting with the Clarke Student Association (CSA) is scheduled for early December.

Details on the focus sessions for interested faculty and staff are below.

Faculty are invited to attend one of the following focus sessions:

  • Thursday, November 29, 12:30-1:30 pm, Fabiano Conference Room (FCR)
  • Friday, November 30, 11am-12pm, FCR
  • Tuesday, December 11, 12:15-1:15pm, Iowa Room
  • Thursday, December 13, 9:00-10:00am, FCR

Staff are invited to attend one of the following focus sessions:

  • Tuesday, December 18, 1:00-2:00pm, FCR
  • Wednesday, December 19, 9:00-10:00am, FCR
  • Thursday, December 20, 10:00-11:00am, FCR

The input received from the Board meeting in October and from these campus input sessions will help further refine the foundational statements. The draft documents will be shared with the Board of Trustees in January and subsequently with the campus community.

Thank you.

I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving.


March 14, 2018

Good morning, colleagues.

With midterms upon us and Spring Break looming, I thought I would provide an update on campus matters.

A big thank you to all the faculty and staff who volunteered to serve on one of the four Theme Teams.  The response was robust with fifty-seven members of our campus community volunteering for the thirty-two committee openings.  This strong response allows all teams to have the cap of ten members (including the co-chairs).  We were able to honor most people’s first choice but used second choices to ensure a good mix of academic disciplines and administrative units on each team.

All theme team members have been notified by email of their assignments.  If you were not selected for a theme team, please know there will be numerous opportunities in the future to contribute to the plan’s implementation.  I have attached the theme team rosters (as they stand right now) to the end of this email.


Enjoy today’s sunshine.


Theme Teams

Student Experience

Susan Burns, Co-Chair
Callie Clarke, Co-Chair
Andrew Gonner
Nick Halder
Joel Leach
Amanda Matson
Deann Petitgout
Hannah Thorson

Sustainable Future

Jay Fedje, Co-Chair
Beth McGrath, Co-Chair
Andy Bellings
Curt Long
Nick Clark
Paulette Skiba
Jan Lee
Courtney Leonard
Sunil Malapati
Marianne Mauss

Vibrant Culture

Daisy Halvorson, Co-Chair
Paula Schmidt, Co-Chair
Ann Adkins
Kent Anderson
Amy Dunker
Amy Errthum
Louise Kames
Evelyn Nadeau
Jody Pfohl
Kevin Utt

Distinctive Identity 

Kate Zanger, Co-Chair
Jody Wolfe, Co-Chair
Tim Boffeli
Sean Bradley
Melissa DeMotta
Joshua Moris
Emily Schultz
Tom Riley
Brenda White
Eric Wold

March 5, 2018

Good afternoon, colleagues.

I want to update you on the strategic planning process and to extend an invitation to faculty and staff interested in participating in the next step of the process.  I ask your patience and indulgence as this is a long update.

Last Thursday, the Strategic Planning Team (SPT) met with the Credo team for the initial full-day team planning meeting.  To refresh your memory, the team is comprised of the president, Cabinet officers and the following individuals:

Deb Bell, Corporate and Foundations Grants Writer

Callie Clark, Director of Engagement and Intercultural Programming

Roberto Dominguez, Senior Network System Administrator

Steve Kirschbaum, Executive Director of Facilities and Security

Beth McGrath, Controller

Rolando Sanchez, Transfer Counselor

Paula Schmidt, Professor and Interim Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Megan Stull, Assistant to the President

Jody Wolfe, Assistant+ Professor and Faculty Senate Chair

The lead consultant Jennifer DeCoste walked the SPT through Credo’s planning framework and the balanced score card approach. She presented the current version of the strategy map and the data from the board and community gathering meetings held in January.  We received both weighted and raw data for each of the four themes.  In the afternoon, we identified some initial high-level metrics for the four themes and participated in an exercise on how to conduct and lead the theme teams during the next stage of the planning process.  We ended the day by revisiting the strategic map and making revisions to it.

The four themes of the strategic map remain as presented at the community engagement day:  Student Engagement, Sustainable Future, Vibrant Culture and Distinctive Identity.  I offer a very brief description of each.

Student Engagement:  Clarke University strives to foster student success for all our students through distinctive learning experiences that promote preparedness for career and life. Initiatives will focus on high-impact practices, retention initiatives, advising, and student success.

Sustainable Future:  Clarke University strives to develop comprehensive enrollment and financial models grounded in data and that increase revenue from all programs and sources. Initiatives will focus on empowering collaborative and data-informed decision making enhanced by strategic pipelines and partnerships.

Vibrant Culture:  Clarke University prioritizes inclusivity and excellence to help us thrive. Initiatives will focus on student and employee satisfaction and retention through an inclusive culture of innovation, risk-taking, and creativity.

Distinctive Identity:  Clarke University strives to be an innovator among independent colleges and universities, grounded in Catholic Intellectual Tradition.  Initiatives will focus on helping us get to the next level in response and relation to market needs and program alignment.

Theme teams are designed to provide for wider campus community engagement and feedback on the specific issues that should be prioritized and addressed within strategic plan theme.  The theme teams are advisory to the SPT.  A Cabinet member and one other member of the SPT will co-chair each team.  The remaining members of each theme team will be faculty and staff from outside the SPT.  Each theme team will be capped at 10 individuals including the co-chairs with a minimum membership of six.

Theme teams will:

  • Review the board and community engagement data relevant to their team’s theme.
  • Recommend to the SPT the initiatives and their order for each objective in their theme area.
  • Have completed their work once the SPT begins to finalize the plan in late April.

Theme teams will meet for four two-hour meetings between now and mid-April. The first meeting will be a kick-off for all four teams on Wednesday, March 14, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.  At that meeting, the current version of the strategic map will be shared with the theme teams along with the data from the board and community gathering meetings.  The theme teams’ charge and agendas for the three subsequent meetings will be reviewed at that meeting.  Substantial appetizers will be served at the event.

To facilitate the scheduling of meetings, we have predetermined dates and times for the subsequent theme team meetings.  The themes, team co-chairs and meeting dates and times are as follows:

Student Experience

Fridays: March 16, 23 and April 13, 3-5 p.m.

Susan Burns, Co-Chair
Callie Clarke, Co-Chair

Sustainable Future

Tuesdays: March 20, April 10 and 17, 1-3 p.m.

Jay Fedje, Co-Chair
Beth McGrath, Co-Chair

Vibrant Culture

Thursdays: March 15, April 5 and 19, 10 a.m. – noon

Daisy Halvorson, Co-Chair
Paula Schmidt, Co-Chair

Distinctive Identity 

Wednesday: March 21, April 4 and 11, 9-11 a.m.

Kate Zanger, Co-Chair
Jody Wolfe, Co-Chair

You will receive an electronic invitation from my office later this afternoon.  I encourage all Clarke University faculty and staff to consider your interest and availability for service on one of the theme teams. You can only serve on one theme team.  Depending on the number of volunteers, we may need to limit participants to stay within the cap of ten members.  Please know there will be many other opportunities to serve on teams as we move from planning to implementation.

I thank you in advance for your consideration and participation.


March 5, 2018

Good afternoon, again.

As I indicated in my earlier update, you are invited to volunteer to serve this spring on one of the four teams that will be assisting the Strategic Planning Team to identify and prioritize the initiatives to be associated with each of the four strategic themes.  If you are interested in serving on a team, please click on the link below and complete the form by end of the day Friday, March 9.

View the form here.

I know that this is a busy time of year.  I also know that some people prefer implementation to planning.  If you are not able or not inclined to serve at this time, I hope you will step up in the future as we move forward with the implementation of the plan.  A thriving future for Clarke is important to everyone of us.

Thank you for your consideration.


December 19, 2017

Dear colleagues,

As you are aware, Clarke University is beginning the process of developing its next strategic plan. We expect this strategic plan to drive our institution forward over the next five years and this planning process is an opportunity for us to come together as a community in charting Clarke’s future.

Recently, the vice presidents and I met with our consultants from Credo to discuss the contours and timeline for our planning process. We are very enthused about what emerged from this initial meeting and believe that it is vital to the future of Clarke that we develop a planning process through which we could have meaningful input from our constituencies and members of the campus community right from the outset. In order to ensure that we have the input from our community, we have scheduled Community Days that will involve the board, faculty and staff as the next step in the development of our strategic plan.

The Credo team will be with on campus Thursday and Friday, January 25 and 26 for planning workshops designed to gather various campus constituencies’ thoughts about Clarke’s future.  They will meet with the Board of Trustees on Thursday.  Faculty and staff are invited to participate in a college-wide planning workshop on Friday afternoon from 1 to 4 pm. I realize this is the first week of the spring semester but given the significance of this process, I hope you can free your calendars so that your voice can be heard in the development of our plan. We believe that every member of our Clarke community is vital to the success of our institution and we are aspiring to a 100% turnout, which will ensure a productive and important event.

As we develop more details around the strategic planning process, I will make sure to send you updates. At this time, however, of utmost important, we wanted to make sure that your calendars are free on Friday, January 26 from 1 to 4 pm.  We promise a rewarding experience centered on Clarke University’s future.

I look forward to seeing you at the Community Day.