The Way Forward – Strategic Plan

The Way Forward Mission Action Plan will help guide Hardin-Simmons University to be good stewards of our present resources and opportunities, embrace the change required of us as we boldly prepare for the future while remaining true to our past, and be focused on our mission of providing excellence in education enlightened by Christian faith and values.

Institutional Aims

Hardin-Simmons Community — A growing and diverse cohesive learning community of highly engaged students, parents, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and other friends dedicated to advancing the Hardin-Simmons Vision and Mission.

Favored Choice — The university of choice for students seeking a Christian faith-based education in Texas.

Academically Excellent — Recognized for academic excellence achieved through an integrated curriculum facilitated by an outstanding faculty and enlightened by Christian faith and values.

Financially Sound —  Operating with multiple revenue streams, a balanced budget, and financially sustainable long-term with adequate savings.

Innovative Leader — Implementing the integration of leadership, Christian ministry, fine arts, science, technology, engineering, math, and other disciplines enriched by a liberal arts foundation to meet student needs and changing job market demands.

Campus Life Experience — A life-changing campus experience in first-rate quality facilities which bolster programs and activities and which help attract and retain students.

Active Alumni — Alumni and other friends of the university faithfully serving on university boards, supporting programs, engaged in recruiting, and participating in university sponsored activities.


S-1. Christian Distinctiveness.  Enhance the Christian distinctiveness of campus life by infusing the study of Christian theology, values, and principles into the fabric of learning and thereby enrich the total student experience.

S-2. Program Review.  Evaluate and improve existing programs and develop new programs to meet the everchanging demands of our students, strengthen the university, and promote its Vision and Mission.

S-3. Financial Strength.  Enhance the financial condition of the university through the diversification of revenue sources and strong fiscal management as set forth in a multi-year budget planning process.

S-4. Unified Plan.  Operate under a unified enrollment, academic, and student life plan to remove barriers, real and perceived, and thereby increase access to excellence in education for more students.

S-5. Campus Relationships. Promote and improve campus community relationships between students, faculty, staff, and administration.

S-6. Faculty and Staff Engagement. Enrich the faculty and staff experience through collaboration, training, improved organizational structure, outcomes evaluation, and benefits.

S-7. Facilities Master Plan. Implement a facilities master plan to improve, properly maintain, and expand the university infrastructure by resolving deferred maintenance issues, remodeling, building facilities and significantly improve campus technology.

S-8. Marketing and Communications Plan. Execute a marketing and communications plan that clearly, cohesively, and consistently exemplifies the Hardin-Simmons brand, supports and enhances strategies to create new student growth, and fosters positive engagement among our stakeholders including employees, alumni, and external audiences.

S-9. Accreditation and Recognition. Successfully complete the SACS 5th Year Report and move into the Top 20 of U.S. News and World Report’s Regional University’s West Division.

S-10. Strategic Partners. Collaborate with the university’s strategic partners – local, state, national and international (religious, non-profit, business, educational, government, and cultural organizations) – to accomplish common goals.

The Way Forward is our long-term strategic plan to help guide Hardin-Simmons University’s community of students, alumni, faculty and staff to be good stewards of our present resources, to embrace the change required of us as we boldly prepare for the future while staying true to our past, and to be united in our mission of providing an education enlightened by Christian faith and values.

For many years, the HSU strategic plan has emphasized ten goals:

  • Develop a culture of innovation, diversity, and openness to change
  • Maintain and enhance the Christian distinctiveness of campus
  • Develop a unified marketing and imaging plan
  • Significantly improve campus technology
  • Enrich the total faculty/staff experience
  • Enrich the total student experience
  • Grow total enrollment
  • Develop new programs and evaluate existing programs
  • Dramatically improve, maintain, and expand facilities
  • Enhance financial condition and resources

Long-term strategic plan

More than four years ago — and with many deliberations and much prayer — work began to position HSU for long-term success in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The Way Forward calls for ongoing evaluation of all academic programs to ensure HSU offers the right programs to better enable our students to compete in a constantly changing world. While requiring difficult decisions, the plan has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the Board of Trustees.

Designed to help guide Hardin Simmons’ community of students, alumni, faculty and staff

The Way Forward represents an investment in what HSU has always been about: people — not only people who come from our campus, but also those to whom we serve. Among other things, our plan includes buildings, enhanced technology, and expanded offerings, and we will use these elements to empower HSU as an ongoing community of servant scholars who engage the minds and nurture the spirits of tomorrow’s Christian leaders.

To be good stewards of our present resources

The Way Forward was born out of a desire to be good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to us by current students and alumni, and by the generations of students who have preceded us. Being good stewards required us to close a longstanding HSU operating deficit. As we continue to pursue the plan, The Way Forward will help us plot a path that will allow us to preserve our precious resources for future generations of students, offering the programs current students want and future students will need in a cost-effective way. Our goal is to provide for the long-term financial stability of a university that is dear to our hearts.

To embrace the change required of us as we boldly prepare for the future

Implementing the strategic plan has and will continue to require disciplined evaluation of all of HSU’s programs, including academics. In some instances, difficult choices have been made that have also reduced faculty and staff for those programs. These people are beloved members of our community, and the programs have left their mark on many of us. We appreciate that these changes have been challenging for some in our community. Rest assured these decisions were not made lightly or hastily. We are closing some doors in order to open many others and are intentionally making the hard calls to secure the future success of HSU.

While staying true to our past

Moving forward into the future, no matter how carefully, is always a venture into the unknown. HSU will continue to be guided in the days ahead by what is known to our community: the values and traditions which have made us who we are. Methods may change, but principles never do. For 129 years, Hardin-Simmons University has sought to “bring students to Christ, to teach them of Christ, and to train them for Christ.” That will never change.

And to be united in our mission

The Way Forward is advancing HSU’s mission of providing an education enlightened by Christian faith and values. The measures we have and will continue to implement will better position HSU to fulfill this mission for the next 129 years and for generations yet to come.

Our commitment to excellence will continue as we develop and implement The Way Forward. We will put in place clear milestones and objectives for each of the plan’s major initiatives, including financial, enrollment, student life, academics and facilities. We also understand that it is our responsibility to keep you informed and to maintain an open dialogue throughout this process. We will make every effort to do so as we progress on these important initiatives.

Prior Correspondence