MMuhlenberg College Strategic Planning


Haas College Center


President's Planning Group

Current Mission Statement

Proposed Statement of Mission

Preamble to the Bylaws of the College

Overview of Strategic Planning Process

Strategic Planning Principles

Fundamental Institutional Values

Internal Assumptions and External Challenges


Muhlenberg College Strategic Planning Goals

Timetable for Strategic Planning

Reports of the President's Planning Group

Operational Areas: Summaries of Benchmark Studies and SWOT Analyses

A Draft of Proposed Strategic Initiatives

Financing the Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan




Rev. 1/20/04
Printable Version



Educational Environment
  • Muhlenberg will continue to be a highly selective, undergraduate, residential and co-educational liberal arts college.

  • The curriculum will allow students to master bodies of knowledge and will focus on imaginative and critical thinking. The College will continue to build on its distinctive strengths as a highly selective institution, blending the classical liberal arts with outstanding pre-professional programs.

  • A highly qualified, vibrant, and dedicated faculty committed to teaching and scholarship will continue to provide the close mentoring relationships with students that have become the hallmark of a Muhlenberg College education.

  • The College will provide meaningful co-curricular programs that emphasize the intellectual development of students and enhance their classroom experiences.

  • In a world that is increasingly intercultural and international, curricular offerings and pedagogical methods will help students develop the skills required to excel.

  • The Wescoe School will continue to serve students and adult learners in the Lehigh Valley community by providing innovative education programming. This will generate net revenues to help support the general education needs of the College.

  • The College will continue its commitment to tenure as a foundation for academic freedom.
  • The College will continue to manage its affairs so as to maintain a stable financial condition and operate within a balanced budget.

  • Muhlenberg will continue to be highly dependent on tuition revenues. If the College is to sustain its recent successes and continue to compete with other highly selective institutions, it will need to increase its endowment significantly. Institutional advancement, through fund raising, constituent relationship development, and national visibility will have to achieve significant results beyond anything known to date. At the same time, we must set and achieve appropriate benchmarks for investment performance.


Students and Enrollment
  • The College will continue to set enrollments to balance student quality with revenue projections within parameters that permit us to maintain first-rate curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programs .

  • The College's student life experiences will continue to emphasize individual attention that focuses on the development of values and personal characteristics for productive citizenship and a satisfying life.

  • Muhlenberg's Lutheran heritage, which proclaims a lively relationship between faith and learning, along with the College's support for religious diversity will continue to be an asset to the College. The College will continue to offer rich religious life opportunities and welcome students from a variety of religious traditions.

  • The College remains committed to diversity while realizing that additional progress will require increased investment of resources.
Physical Environment
  • Because the size of the campus is physically constrained, the College will have to make careful choices in developing facilities plans.

  • The requirements of our academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programs will determine the priorities and design of renovations and new construction. Buildings will be creatively designed, carefully sited, and maintained to a high standard. The College will continue to value distinctive and programmatically effective facilities of high quality.

  • Landscape design and maintenance will continue to be recognized as an important priority. The first impression of exceptional beauty and careful stewardship of facilities cannot be underestimated.

  • As a residential college, we will remain committed to creating a campus physical environment that promotes teaching and learning.

  • The preferred lifestyles of local residents and of students will continue to generate the potential for conflict and negative attitudes. Therefore work on good relations with our neighbors will demand continued attention.

  • Continuing efforts will be made to adopt the most effective sustainability practices in planning and operating the campus physical plant.



Student Demographic Characteristics
  • The number of high school seniors will increase until 2008, then will decline; population growth will occur most rapidly in the southwest and western states.

  • Women will continue to outnumber men among traditional age, college-bound students.

  • The percentage of graduating high school seniors interested in small liberal arts Colleges is declining.

  • Students are arriving on campus with less knowledge and experience of civics and with diminished aspirations for traditional civic roles such as voting, community activism and keeping up with public affairs.

  • While contemporary students expect education to help them with their goal for financial well-being, they also expect that it will provide opportunities to satisfy their heightened sense of helping others through volunteerism.

  • Many students arrive from environments in which standards of academic integrity and honesty have not been sufficiently inculcated.

  • Student and parent expectations for a high level of personal service and attention will continue to increase.

  • Many families are unable or unwilling to pay for a more expensive college education.

  • Efforts to increase student diversity will be affected by keen competition among colleges for college-bound minority students.

  • Demographic characteristics of students in each new class will continue to show a growing neediness relative to learning disabilities and emotional needs. The College will have to continue to address and support a variety of students' personal and academic needs while managing the high, and sometimes unrealistic, expectations of students and parents.

  • A significant percentage of high school students experiment with alcohol, drugs, and sexuality, which influences their behavior when they matriculate in college.

  • Parental involvement in students' personal and educational affairs is increasing. Although generally positive, this involvement sometimes is inappropriate. Non-traditional student enrollments in America's colleges and universities will increase, leading to requests for low cost degree and non-degree programs.

Competing Institutions

  • Public colleges and universities continue to create selective programs that attempt to replicate the student experience offered by small liberal arts colleges.

  • Some national college rankings will continue to rank Muhlenberg below many of its admissions overlap institutions - primarily on the basis of academic reputation and financial resources. This has the potential to affect the College's recruiting and market position.

  • Competitor institutions are constructing and renovating facilities and offering value-added programming that is difficult to match. Their staffing levels, as well as their level of departmental funding and salaries, continue to exceed those at Muhlenberg.


Financial Climate

  • Individuals, foundations, and other funding sources may limit or redirect the resources that they are willing or able to contribute to higher education. Competition for philanthropic dollars will increase.

  • Pell grants will continue to be vulnerable to reductions in Congressional appropriations, as will PHEAA grants for students from Pennsylvania.

  • There will be an increasing need to replace out-dated technology.

  • An increasingly litigious society may impose higher legal and insurance costs.

  • If constituencies of the College are to support the financial requirements of the Plan, we will need to penetrate an often overwhelming clutter of information to convey our messages and needs.


Human Resources
  • Nationally, faculty and administrative staff recruitment continues to be highly dependent upon the given reputation of a college or university, market forces, and level of benefits.

  • A lack of ethnic diversity throughout the employee body continues to be a difficult problem complicated by increased competition from other employers, including other colleges and universities, for these under-represented groups.

  • Employee health care costs and insurance premiums, including property and liability, continue to rise well beyond the level of annual inflation.


Local Community

  • The City of Allentown, Allentown School District, and Lehigh County currently face considerable financial pressures. The result will be requests to the College and other non-profits to provide some financial relief for services received.

  • Incidents of serious crime and vandalism, previously limited to areas of center-City Allentown, are moving closer to campus.

  • There is growing student and employee interest in community service and civic engagement.

  • Locally, and in the region, expectations of adult students will increase for continuing education that relates to jobs and careers.