compass arrows.

The Strategic Compass

…for an Even Better Tomorrow

Portrait of GCU president smiling.

Building the future of Georgian Court University starts now—and it is an ongoing, collaborative and proactive process.

That is one of the reasons we created The GCU Strategic Compass…for an Even Better Tomorrow, a plan that was designed from the outset to be re-examined, modified, and measured on a regular basis.

Our vision of “an even better” future for GCU is rooted in the sentiment shared more than 180 years ago by the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley, whose motto was “Resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow.”

Nearly two centuries later, those words continue to ring true.

For Georgian Court, a better tomorrow is found in the four compass points focused on

  • Academic excellence;
  • An exceptional student experience;
  • Revenue generation and diversification; and
  • Operational efficiency/resource utilization

The GCU Strategic Compass…for an Even Better Tomorrow reflects our commitment to students and their futures.

Our key performance indicators, which we update annually here, reflect many, many efforts of the entire GCU community. Our focus on planning and delivering on our promises is reflected in another important document—the GCU Self-Study, prepared for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Together, these and other instruments help us navigate our future and keep us accountable. Everyone, no matter their role or job title, plays a part in our success as we move forward. Thank you for joining us on the journey.

Go Lions!

GCU president written signature.

Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D.


The university will evaluate, design, and deliver diversified academic programs offered in response to market demands based on both student interest and employer needs. It will prepare students to be confident positive contributors to their chosen professions through expanded opportunities to develop and apply skills through high-impact academic experiences. It will support teaching and learning excellence in all venues and modalities of instruction. To do so, the university will judiciously expand its physical and virtual presence.


  1. Increase offerings by implementing sustainable new or revised undergraduate programs (at least five), new graduate programs (at least three), and non-degree programs that grow enrollments and meet currently underserved student populations or needs.
  2. Stabilize one-year retention of first-year students at 75% or higher. Continue to improve one-year retention of second-year students and transfer students. Improve four-year graduation rates.
  3. Provide consistent program quality, as measured by student satisfaction, across delivery formats (face-to-face, hybrid, online) and geographical site locations such that all students will have access to equitable services and facilities.
  4. Increase the average number of high-impact practices in which students participate, including learning communities, service learning, research with faculty, study abroad, field or internship experience, and capstone experiences.
  5. Increase the percentage of graduating undergraduate students who enter graduate school at GCU, at GCU partner programs, and elsewhere.
  6. Increase the percentage of graduating students who are employed in positions in which their degree is needed within six months.
  7. Maintain and grow academic space in alignment with program needs.


The university will enhance the student experience and attract and retain more students by ensuring all students find a mentor and by creating an environment in which the entire community can grow through shared educational, cultural, social, and spiritual experiences. It will develop a community of active participation that expands the interactions of students and increases the opportunities to understand various perspectives.


  1. Improve the overall retention of resident students by providing a healthy and engaging residential experience.
  2. Develop an IT infrastructure that includes a “one campus” communications and services structure that is on par with current higher education industry standards.
  3. Enhance the physical space available for student engagement throughout campus.
  4. Develop a collaborative campus environment that supports students through engagement with all campus stakeholders.
  5. Provide students with opportunities to explore their faith and spirituality.
  6. Provide unique student leadership experiences that focus on the philosophy of servant and ethical leadership.
  7. Identify current or develop new GCU traditions to support and highlight a dynamic unified campus culture (Convocation, Homecoming, bonfire, etc.) and branded GCU experience.
  8. Provide for an exceptional, safe, and well-rounded student-athlete experience through maintenance of competitive-level facilities, leadership programming, academic support, and resources consistent with program growth.


With the GCU mission and Mercy core values as its foundation and guiding principles, the university will empower students to experience and shape a just and compassionate world. It will promote a dynamic campus community based on sound financial principles necessary to continue its mission into the future. GCU seeks to become a 21st-century university providing access to education and filling underserved needs (e.g., degree completers, Hispanic population) through multiple modalities, including on-site and virtual courses. The university is committed to maintain well its main campus in Lakewood while seeking alternate sites as determined by program interest and availability. It commits to providing seamless services regardless of location. It will also engage all stakeholders in ensuring the university’s viability through appropriate funding opportunities and revenue generation and diversification.


  1. Increase enrollment to meet current capacity and develop a comprehensive plan for the main campus in demographics and programs that highlight the main campus as the flagship model for the Georgian Court mission.
  2. Optimize new locations, sites, and delivery modalities where the mission and revenue opportunities are aligned.
  3. Identify and partner with high schools, community colleges, other colleges and universities, community programs, and businesses/employers to meet their student needs as an educational partner.
  4. Create a multiple-channel financial aid strategy to connect early packaging with admissions yield strategy. Utilize the packaging strategy to create an optimal class and net tuition revenue.
  5. Increase alumni giving and participation, as well as the number of foundation and corporate partnerships.
  6. Engage stakeholders of the institution, including board members, administration, faculty, staff, and alumni, in fund-raising efforts to build on the Georgian Court brand and develop connections to new funding sources.
  7. Build capacity and launch a comprehensive campaign.


Operational efficiency, or offering the university’s services in the most cost- effective manner, is a critical component of sustainability over time. This efficiency, coupled with effectiveness, applies to all aspects of the university, and entails regular and comprehensive review of unit effectiveness within academic, administrative, student services, and operational support areas. It also requires a level of proficiency in the use of technology across the university to allow for comprehensive communication of the university’s mission, critical data, accomplishments, access to services, and events. The university will develop a strong brand that promotes its mission, outcomes, and shared experiences such that Georgian Court becomes a first-choice university for an increasing number of ambitious students.


  1. Develop a collaborative operational and financial strategy for the next three years that integrates enrollment, student life, and academic strategic plans. This will be supported by new operating strategies, capital, and leased space development programs and the integration of the Facilities Conditions Assessment.
  2. Create a comprehensive campus development plan that re-imagines the campus in support of the Strategic Compass. The comprehensive plan will make efficient and effective use of physical spaces on campus, establish the manner in which the university will provide innovative and progressive services to its students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and include crucial renewal and replacement programs.
  3. Develop a campus master plan and a strategic technology master plan to support campus operations and expand satellite and virtual academic sites.
  4. Utilize a process improvement model to evaluate each administrative service department in order to establish current best practices for university-wide service support.
  5. Through the coordination of business planning, business processes, and performance monitoring, implement institution-wide change initiatives and efficiencies that identify cost-savings opportunities and redesign business practices and management structures to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
  6. Develop an entrepreneurial university business model that will make the university more agile in a changing market, providing greater resource opportunities to become financially sustainable while enhancing and expanding its ability to provide quality education.

Compass Point Scorecards

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