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Strategic Plan, Budgeting

And Assessing Activity.

Sarah Callihan
April 7, 2015

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The College of Charleston is a state-funded institution that focuses on a majority liberal

arts curriculum. The Colleges mission which ties into their strategic plan and budget
expenditures wants to provide students with an education in order to make them responsible
members of society. Students are provided with a community that allows them with the freedom
to succeed and to be creative in their paths. In the colleges strategic plan, which was last revised
in 2013, the committee alluded to the fact that one of their main concerns was that the
community was constantly confused about what type of institution it was because while the
college itself considers a liberal arts institution since it is part of the University of Charlestons
system, they consider the College of Charleston a comprehensive university focuses on business,
liberal arts and education. One of their goals was to eventually fix this misconception. The
President of the College had five goals set in 2013 that they wanted to meet by 2020, which were
stated in the strategic plan. These goals included such things as providing students with a highly
personalized education based on a liberal arts and sciences core and enhanced by opportunities
for experiential learning, develop or enhance nationally recognized undergraduate, graduate and
professional programs in areas that take advantage of our history, culture and location in
Charleston and contribute to the well-being of the region and establish and promore a vibrant
campus-like atmosphere dedicated to education of the whole person through integration of
curricular and co-curricular or extracurricular activities.
These goals in my mind are kind of generic and could be attributed to any institution in
the area. However one thing that I did like about the strategic plan was that after each goal, the
committee laid out what needed to be done in order to meet that particular goal. This would
definitely help when students and their parents are looking at an institution and trying to see what
that college can do for their student to make them a well-rounded individual.

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Their budget however does not seem to be in sync with these goals. Their net position
was more than $285 million dollars. One of their goals was to create an atmosphere including
extracurricular activities however they only allocated $1,471 in designated revenue for student
clubs and sports clubs. Another issue that many schools are facing but the College of Charleston
is facing more than most is that while they are still considered a state sponsored institution, the
majority of their funding comes from tuition revenues. This is because in the last decade state
appropriations fell from 30% to 12%, the President even stated that they are not provided enough
aid to help students with scholarships or financial aid whether they are in need or deserving of it.
Another thing that has effected these goals, especially retention is that the College has cut their
instruction revenues by $175,000. In order for the school to meet their goals, they must retain
their teaching staff as well as their student population. If the University wants to grow and retain
students then their budget allocations needs to reflect that or they may go the way of other small
Although their budget shows one thing, the annual report from the President to the
community at large says differently. The college assessed themselves by going out and
conducting independent audits of each of their offices and departments to see where they need
assistance and where the majority of funds are being spent. What they discovered was that the
college grew in tuition revenue by $9.9 million and state appropriations by $1.1 million between
2013, when the strategic plan was written, and 2014 by 5% and 1% respectively. I think that the
plan-budget-assess-plan model is being used because even after the new annual report came out
the President was still planning on how to make the university grow more. In fact, the College of
Charleston last year started a fundraising campaign called Boundless to raise $125 million in
order to retain students and grow more.

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There is still a lot of work to be done in order for the school to meet their goals but their
Strategic Plan extends until 2020. They are living within their means and are not functioning on a
deficit despite cutbacks from the state. One thing that is going to make a difference is that at the
end of the last fiscal year the President of the College of Charleston retired and became a
professor at the business school. The most recent annual report was written by the newest
President who is an alumnus of the institution. I think that overall the College of Charleston is
on the right track with their budget and their assessments, if they continue to conduct them and
their fundraising efforts are successful than they should have minimal trouble meeting their goals
by 2020.

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College of Charleston. (2014). Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
College of Charleston (2014). College of Charleston Proposed Budget 2014-2015.
College of Charleston. (2015). Mission, Vision and Values.
College of Charleston (2013). Strategic Plan.