East Central College's five-year strategic plan, SOAR to 2024, was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees at its Monday meeting.

“I am grateful for the countless hours of work that have gone into the development of the plan,” East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer says. “We now turn our attention to implementation. I am excited and incredibly optimistic about what’s in store for East Central over the next five years.”

In 2018, East Central College partnered with CampusWorks to help design a strategic plan. Since that time, the company has worked closely with East Central College administration, faculty, staff, Board of Trustee members and the strategic planning committee to ensure that all stakeholders had a voice in the process.

“This plan is a big step forward for the college’s future,” East Central College Board of Trustees president Ann Hartley says. “I am so proud of what has been accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. The Board of Trustees is so appreciative of the involvement from our students, faculty and staff who helped make this possible.”

In January 2019, ECC hosted a region-wide Future Summit. All of the college’s constituents were invited and encouraged to participate. More than 200 people, from healthcare, manufacturing, education and more, engaged in discussions about East Central College’s future challenges and how to address them.

“Community input has been invaluable throughout this process,” Dr. Bauer says. “It allowed us to create a plan that truly reflects who we want to be as an institution and how we are going to get there.”

Students also took part in the strategic planning process. In February, more than 50 students came together in series of focus groups to provide input and ideas.

“The student focus groups helped us identify what an ideal student experience should look like at East Central College,” explained Dr. Bauer. “Our students want an environment that is academically challenging and personally meaningful.”

SOAR to 2024 features a new mission and vision for the college, as well as a new set of values. Additionally, five major strategies will help shape the future of the college. The “Pathways” strategy focuses on developing clear academic and career pathways with personalized support to increase enrollment and promote student success.

The “Partnerships” strategy focuses on strengthening partnerships with local high schools, higher education institutions and employers to drive intellectual and economic development in the region.

The “Employees” strategy concentrates on creating a culture of collaboration and learning to attract, retain and develop diverse and talented employees at the college.

Expanding East Central College’s presence and offerings in Rolla to enhance the college’s impact throughout the region is the mission of the “Rolla” strategy.

Finally, the “Financial Strength” strategy puts attention on securing financial strength in order to sustain institutional viability.

East Central College will continue to update the community on its progress throughout implementation of SOAR to 2024. The full strategic plan will be posted at eastcentral.edu/soar.