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PLU seeks to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care – for other people, for their communities, and for the Earth.


As a university of the first rank, Pacific Lutheran University seeks to maximize its mission for all students as the leading example of the Lutheran tradition of higher education, purposefully integrating the liberal arts, professional studies, and civic engagement.


  • Diversity
  • Justice
  • Sustainability
  • Critical Questioning
  • Protecting Freedom

  • Liberating Study
  • Learning in Community
  • Honoring Life on Earth
  • Discerning One’s Calling
  • Serving Wholeness and Health

Strategic Planning Process

The Strategic Planning Process includes these elements:

  • Decennial Vision Documents
  • Measurable Goals to achieve aims of the Vision Documents
  • Integrated Education
  • The Box Resolution on the Care of People and Place

PLU’s decennial vision documents lay out the long-range objectives of the university

  • PLU 2000 formulated our mission statement ( “We seek to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership, and care–for other people, for their communities, and for the Earth”)
  • PLU 2010 identified our three areas of special distinction: Global Education, the Discernment of Vocation, and Close Collaborative Student-Faculty Research.
  • PLU 2020 stressed three key values: Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability.

PLU 2020 | Affirming our Commitments, Shaping our Future


The Strategic Planning Process translates the general aims of the vision documents into key performance indicators and measurable goals.

As a member of the New American Colleges & University association, PLU seeks to purposefully integrate:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Professional Studies
  • Liberal Arts

A Visual Illustration of Integrated Education

The Integrated Education PLU provides can be visualized here, where the areas of special distinction are combined with the goals of the New American University.

And finally, the 2013 Resolution of the Board of Regents commonly referred to as “The Box” calls on the university to achieve three things by 2020:

  • Compensation parity with peer institutions
  • A “catch-up” regime for deferred maintenance
  • Best-practice levels of institutional reserves

To achieve these aims, The Box identifies four areas for increased revenue:

  • Academic program
  • Endowment
  • Auxiliary enterprises
  • Cost savings from efficiencies

Academic Year 2016-2017

  • Enrollment Management
    • Increase targeted recruitment and admission of specific groups:
      • Students of Color (33+% in first year class)
      • First Generation Students (33+% in first year class)
      • Pell Grant Recipients (33+% in first year class)
      • International Students (6+% in first year class)
      • Military-Related Students (8+% in first year class)
      • Graduate Students (exceed record number of 331)
    • Continue student success focus as measured by retention rate and 4-year graduation rate:
      • Retention rate (83+%)
      • 4-Year Graduation rate (59+%)
    • Maintain steady increase in Net Tuition Revenue Per Student (exceed current record value of $21,797.
    • Adhere to the Philosophy of Enrollment and achieve recruitment goals
  • Budget and Finances
    • Ensure end-of-year operating budget for FY2017 in balance
    • Prepare to launch RCM/LCM (“Lute Centered Management”) in FY2018.
    • Complete the refinancing of the 2006 bonds and use proceeds to establish an institutional reserve (part 3 of “The Box”)
    • Advance Parkland Community Partnership plans with YMCA, MultiCare Hospitals, Franklin Pierce School District
    • Relocate Book Store, establish new revenue option in 208 Garfield
    • Successfully conclude sale of broadcasting assets
  • Fundraising
    • Complete the Comprehensive Campaign Case Statement and Priorities List and submit for Board approval by May 2017.
    • Maintain Donor Retention rate to 63+%
    • Increase employee giving rate (10% increase over FY16)
    • Strengthen the culture of philanthropy among regents, ensuring 100% participation in Unrestricted and Restricted giving.
    • Identify and cultivate five new donor relationships as leadership prospects (seven-eight figure gifts) in advance of next campaign and receive one such gift by the end of the fiscal year.
    • Achieve total; gifts of $11+ million
  • Excellence in PLU Experience
    • Continue to invest in programs and partnerships that contribute in direct ways to Integrated Education, quality of student experience, and student outcomes.
    • Complete campus projects, including improvements to Mortvedt Library, a new on-campus bookstore, and advancing ADA-related projects.
    • Establish a “Philosophy of Campus” (as a companion piece to the “Philosophy of Enrollment” adopted in May 2016) for consideration by the Board of Regents by May 2017.

Academic Year 2015-2016

  • Enrollment Management
    • Increase targeted recruitment and admission of specific groups including International Students, Military-Related Students, Graduate Students.
    • Continue retention rate and 4-year graduation rate focus. Goals for Retention rate of at least 84% and 4-year graduation rate of 60%.
    • Maintain entering first-year student enrollment and increase transfer enrollments.
  • Budget and Finances
    • Continue to carry out recommendations of the Budget Working Group specifically by determining accounting strategy and set-up for RCM model.
    • Staffing and budgets to match enrollments.
    • End-of-year operating budget for FY2016 in balance.
    • Increase non-tuition revenue especially with Continuing Education increased programming.
    • Overhaul accounting practices and improve budget knowledge and ability of PLU community.
  • Fund Raising
    • Complete Timeline and Outline for upcoming capital campaign along with all specific steps to ensure on-track for campaign.
    • Improve Donor Retention rate back to 67.5% from FY 15 rate of 57%.
    • Improve Employee donation rate.
    • Get 7-figure gift for announcement during current fiscal year as sign of progress towards fund-raising.
    • Achieve $100,000 matching fund for Bjug Harstad day.
    • Increase total gifts to $12 million (up from $11,600,000 in FY 2015).

Academic Year 2014-2015

  • Enrollment Management
    • Overhaul Process, Structure, and Management.
    • Increase First-Year enrollment to 620 (up from 575) to reverse trend; transfers to 230; graduate to 325 (total enrollment).
    • Increase retention to 84%.
  • Restructuring the Budget
    • Carry out recommendations of the Budget Working Group.
    • Reduce staffing and budgets to match enrollments.
    • Improve efficiencies with Six Sigma annual operating savings of $100,000.
    • End-of-year FY2015 in balance; effecting 5% reduction from FY2015 original budget.
    • Budget for FY2016 reflecting 2-5% reduction from FY2015 totals.
  • Fund Raising
    • Achieve $1.9 million in Annual Fund (up from $1.86 million in FY2014).
    • Increase Number of Donors to 9500 and maintain 67.5% Donor Retention.
    • Increase Total Gifts to $11.5 Million (up from $10.1 million in FY2014).