Centre College campus

Centre College Strategic Plan 2022-2025

Centre College graduates will have the intellectual knowledge, applied experience, and professional competencies to excel in their education and their careers, lead lives of meaning and purpose, and positively impact their communities.

Achieving Our Vision Together

Based upon our mission, our statements of purpose and community, the work of the Seven Pillar Subcommittees, comprehensive market research, and cross-campus engagement, Centre College identified three strategic priorities for immediate action.

A distinguishing feature of our General Education model is providing students with opportunities to gain hands-on practice in applying their learning, including enacting positive change through reciprocal partnerships within their communities, from local to global. The Centre curriculum challenges students to engage in experiential learning, focusing on concrete applications of their academic pursuits through Arts Engagement, Global Engagement, Community-Based Learning, Mentored Research, and Internships. The Strategic Plan builds upon this foundation, calling for more intentional pathways to ensure that all students benefit from community-based learning programs, career internships, study abroad/away, undergraduate research, and service opportunities. To better support student success, we will pursue the following:

An enhanced advising model will guide students along their college journey, which begins before their arrival on campus. Centre will hire a team of Student Success Coaches, strategically placed throughout campus in key areas. These coaches will work as a team to identify programming needs, connect students with resources and opportunities, support student-athletes and first-generation students, and spot trends in student performance. They will use data-informed approaches but still deliver the personal connection and support Centre is known for.

Centre will adopt a state-of-the-art mobile technology platform (EAB’s Navigate) to enable this support team to collaborate in real time. This will also help us to ensure that each student’s path includes community engagement, experiential learning, and career readiness. Special programming will be provided, such as networking strategies for first-generation students, financial planning for students with high need, and intrusive advising for students in academic jeopardy.

Through increased philanthropy, the College will work to ensure that all students are able to participate in these high impact practices, regardless of financial need or the requirements of scholar athletes and student majors.

Potential new study away destinations may include a nearby destination, such as Louisville. Louisville’s proximity to Centre will allow students to participate in new community engagement opportunities and complement career readiness initiatives, taking full advantage of regional connections and resources within the broader Centre-affiliated community.

NACM survey findings show that alumni who actively engaged in career planning while at Centre were more satisfied and prepared for managing their careers. However, the findings also show that we need to do much more to engage all Centre students in developing the skills, competencies, and self-awareness that make our students career ready. These survey results echo what we also heard from the Pillar Subcommittees. Additional investment in career readiness generally and particularly the creation of Career Exploration Communities (CECs), will provide substantial career support and success for our students.

As we focus on Experiential Learning and Community Engagement, we must also be intentional in integrating career reflection and preparedness into the curriculum and co-curriculum, ensuring students reflect on their knowledge and experiences to build the skills and understanding they need for both career and economic mobility. An expanded, community-based approach to career development will enhance the work of the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) and ensure that all students achieve career-readiness milestones. This will include:

Students may participate in one or more CECs to explore an array of careers. We will create CECs that are organized around broad professional topics, such as Public Health and Medicine; Science, Technology, and Sustainability; Entrepreneurship and Business; Arts, Humanities and Culture; Social Impact; Counseling and Spiritual Wellness; and International Careers.

Students will receive advice and mentorship, participate in workshops and networking events, learn from industry experts, explore potential internships, and build their self-awareness and other career competencies.

In the second term of their first year, in preparation for joining one or more CECs, all students will be guided through the human-centered approach to innovation, a hallmark of the CentreWorks program, through which they develop the skills to empathize, define problems, ideate, and test solutions.

Each Career Exploration Community leadership team will consist of a CEC Coordinator, a career counselor, two faculty champions, alumni mentors, and student and peer mentors.

Each CEC Coordinator will also become a member of a student’s mentoring team when a student joins one or more CECs.

The CEC Coordinator will also partner with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Student Life Office to develop targeted programming for identity-focused affinity groups, offering content that meets the needs of each student as they navigate their career-development journeys.

A focus on community wellness comprises our third strategic priority. We seek to maximize all dimensions of wellness—physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional—for our students and employees through individual and collective action and programming, along with state-of-the art technology and infrastructure.

Emotional wellbeing: Earlier this year, Centre College announced a four-year partnership with The JED Foundation, establishing the College as the first JED Campus in Kentucky. As part of this partnership, the College launched the Healthy Minds Study (HMS) in the fall of 2021, which is a student survey focused on mental health. The JED Foundation will visit campus in Spring 2022, meet with students, and work with representatives across campus to develop an overall mental health and well-being JED Campus Strategic Plan for Centre College.

Find out more about JED at Centre

Physical wellbeing: The new facilities comprising the Initiative for Wellness and Athletic Excellence represent a remarkable strategic commitment to supporting (and recruiting) the 45% of Centre students who are Division III athletes. The facilities will also serve and attract non-athletes through intramural offerings and recreational activities. IWAE will transform health and wellness opportunities for students and employees, as well as bring thousands of high-school and intercollegiate athletes and their supporters to campus for competitions. Expanded wellness and athletic facilities will contribute to the long and distinguished history and ongoing mission of training collaborative, competitive, and resilient leaders who will make a positive difference in the world. We will also promote physical wellness through investment in outdoor adventure, recreation, and co-curricular programming, taking full advantage of the natural beauty of our surrounding landscapes to promote healthy outdoor activities as part of Centre’s wellness culture.

Nutritional wellbeing: Student dining options also play an important role in enhancing the student campus experience. The recent addition of Einstein’s Bagels in the Grace Doherty Library provides students with a national dining option outside of the traditional cafeteria offerings. New offerings in the IWAE facility will also contribute to these expanded options.

Spiritual wellness and religious pluralism: As we diversify our student body, the spiritual and religious worldviews of our students diversify as well, and, as our current chaplain enters phased retirement, our next campus chaplain will continue the critical work to support the spiritual wellbeing of all students, while establishing partnerships that bolster community engagement and on-campus programming. It is also important to provide appropriate spaces for students to practice their faith traditions, and updates to the campus master plan will address these needs.

Social wellness and belonging: Importantly, now and into the future, we must pay constant attention to ensuring that Centre College is a place where diverse identities are valued and engaged within an inclusive culture that ensures belonging and empowers all individuals to achieve their full potential. A campus-wide equity audit will be a vital step in ensuring that policies and practices are fair and inclusive by design and practice. Diversity-focused training and programming will provide community members the skills to address prejudice within themselves and others. We must also be intentional in our work and campus programming to ensure that all students feel a sense of belonging, and individually and collectively, the strategies described in this plan will contribute to this objective.


The spaces in which we learn, share, and communicate impact the educational experience. We also know from research that state-of-the-art campus facilities matter to students in their college decision-making process. As we consider the needs and interests of students today and tomorrow, we will create or repurpose sustainable spaces to enhance the learning and living experience of every student. Recent campus renovations, including the Olin Building, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, CentreWorks, and the Centre Learning Commons serve as successful examples of this approach.

Physical spaces also reflect our values. As recommended by Sustainability Committee (formerly the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Committee) and the Sustainability Pillar Subcommittee, we are committed that new construction must aim to achieve a minimum Silver LEED status and our renovations must utilize as many LEED principles as possible. Our Sustainability Office, represented by our Sustainability Fellow and student interns, contribute daily to ongoing improvements in this area.

Measuring our Impact

The efforts outlined in this strategic plan all contribute to our overarching goals to grow enrollment and retention, enhance student experiences and outcomes, support career readiness and the success of our alumni, and raise the College’s public profile while preserving its academic character and distinction. Measures of success will be developed for the strategies outlined above.

We will also assign individual offices or teams to be responsible for each metric. The Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives will support this work to develop ongoing measurements and iterative practices to guide us forward.

Looking Ahead

Since its inception, the strategic planning process has generated numerous ideas and proposals to help move the College forward. Many of these ideas have been incorporated into our plan. Yet more work remains to be done. We will continue to revisit the work of the Pillar Subcommittees and to consult with faculty and staff to determine how Centre can invest in our long-term foundational initiatives. We will review this work through the lens of student success and the needs of faculty and staff, paying close attention to the organizational structures needed to transform great ideas into action. We hope you will continue to provide thoughtful engagement as we approach this next phase and as we lay the foundation for our on-going strategic planning efforts in the years to come.

The pandemic has brought into sharp relief the need to remain flexible in an ever-changing world. While Centre’s deep commitment to a residential liberal arts education will remain our foremost priority, we must also think beyond the immediate future to anticipate the changing landscape of higher education. As part of our on-going strategic planning, we will continue to explore best practices, new programs and initiatives, and, ultimately, new ways of ensuring student success.