Skip to main content


Sustaining Excellence is a comprehensive process of reviewing and assessing current operations and recommending ways to strengthen the long-term fiscal health of the University. 

We shall look for ways to improve efficiencies and effectiveness, cut costs to meet long-term resource needs, and identify ways to generate new revenue by capitalizing on new business opportunities and/or expanding current ones. Our Ignatian heritage will inform and inspire both the process and its outcomes. 

The process will involve wide participation across campus. The structure for the review process will comprise a Steering Committee and working groups made up of members nominated from the campus community. 

At the end of the day, we all want SCU to thrive and be the best university it can possibly be. We hold our mission and values near and dear to our hearts and want to do all that we can to sustain and enhance our excellence for many years to come. We really appreciate your help in doing so.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions generated to help provide further clartity on the project.

The Sustaining Excellence is a comprehensive process of reviewing and assessing current operations and recommending ways to strengthen the long-term fiscal health of the University.

The project is aimed at looking for ways to engage the campus community in idea generation to positively impact the mission of the University and set SCU up for success long  into the future.

The ideas will range in scope, include opportunities to generate new revenue by capitalizing on new business opportunities and/or expanding current ones, search for efficiencies and effectiveness that can help cut costs to meet long-term resource needs -- all with the aim of enabling SCU to successfully achieve its planned growth over the coming years. At the end of the day, we all want SCU to thrive and be the best university it can possibly be. We hold our mission and values near and dear to our hearts and want to do all that we can to sustain and enhance our excellence for many years to come.

The implementation of the University’s strategic plan as well as the confluence of pressures impacting higher education make this an ideal time to engage in this project.

Fr. Engh’s Convocation Address September 2016 highlighted both SCU’s position of great strength and financial security as well as the many challenges impacting private higher education in the country today. To this end, the Sustaining Excellence Project is designed to engage in brainstorming and creative thinking to identify new sources of income. The project is dependent upon dialogue, blue-sky dreaming and engagement with open minds and open hearts. A successful project will result in the campus coming together to consider how to best set SCU up into further positions of strength into the future.

Fr. Engh made several key points in his convocation address in September 2016 and the state of the University address in February 2017. “SCU enjoys both fiscal strength and an enviable position. Look at our endowment: as of 31 December 2016, our endowment was worth $853 million. I also stated that we cannot be complacent. In that context, I outlined the Sustaining Excellence initiative to prepare for the future.”

The SEP is focused on long-term financial planning while the recent budget discussions have focused on short term budget issues.

The Sustaining Excellence Project is engaging the campus community in considering opportunities to set SCU up for success in the years to come, rather than seeking to address short-term budget issue. While it is true that the FY16 University Operating Budget incurred a net operating loss, this was due to a variety of factors that have been addressed outside of the Sustaining Excellence Project. For more information on the short-term budget issues, please refer to the University Budget Forum held in February. These short-term budget challenges reaffirm the value of the Sustaining Excellence Project as it looks to position SCU well for years well into the future.

The best way to participate is to consider ideas that you see for the university to explore for further revenue generation or cost savings and efficiencies and to submit this ideas through the online form on the Sustaining Excellence website.

This process can only be successful with the participation of the whole campus community. In addition, communicating to colleagues about information available on the website and the option to submit ideas will help us spread participation across all the areas of the University.

Everyone in the SCU community is invited to play a part in this process.


There are many members of the campus community involved in this project at various levels.

    • All member of the SCU community are encouraged to submit ideas via the website for consideration by April 5. The more wide-ranging the ideas and theor sources, the better chance for project success.
    • External Project Consultants: Representatives from Teibel Education Consulting are supporting the project, using their experience to share best practices throughout the process.
    • Working Groups: The seven working groups work to solicit, generate, and capture all the ideas for their particular area of focus and present those ideas to the Steering Committee.
    • Steering Committee: Members of the Steering Committee are charged with receiving all the information from the Working Groups, and synthesizing and organizing that information in a way that best helps Fr. Engh to make informed decisions.  
    • Project Co-Chairs, Lisa Kloppenberg and Tom Plante: Tom and Lisa are charged with directing the project to ensure all the moving pieces continue in the right direction and in a timely fashion. In addition, Tom and Lisa ensure that the whole campus community is kept up-to-date on the project.
    • Fr. Engh: Fr. Engh commissioned this project to support him in making the decisions he is charged with as president to set SCU up for success for years to come.

The Steering Committee is charged with presenting the final report to Fr. Engh in such a way to best set the President up to make the best decisions for the University.

Once the Working Groups have completed their work of both generating ideas and discussing ideas generated from the campus community, the Working Group Leads submit a report to the Steering Committee. Working Groups then have the chance to present in-person to the Steering Committee to provide further clarity.

The Steering Committee members spend time reviewing the reports from the Working Groups as well as all feedback from the broader community submitted via the feedback form and via email to between April 26 and May 10.   

The Steering Committee members then meet together to discuss all information and weigh the ideas based on a variety of criteria, such as connection to mission and values, financial impact, opportunity for greater efficiency/effectiveness, etc. The Co-chairs then generate a report for Fr. Engh that includes all ideas generated and all campus feedback.

The project kicked off in Fall 2016 and will come to a close in early 2018.  The working groups completed their work by the end of April 2017. The Steering Committee submitted the Phase 1 report to Fr. Engh in June. Fr. Engh will map out next steps to support decision-making throughout the fall 2017. Following a robust process to complete decision-making, Fr. Engh will announce a core group of key initiatives in early 2018.

Quality communication is key to the success of this project. Campus emails will be sent at least every month. All communications and updated information will be published on the project website regularly. In addition, members of the working groups and Steering Committee will periodically meet with key campus groups to share updates in person.

The project has sought to embody the spirit and values of shared governance from the start. The Planning Action Council (PAC) has served as the primary contact point between shared governance committee's and the project, as this group is charged with promoting, coordinating, and overseeing planning at the University level. Members of the PAC submitted nominations for members of the Working groups. The Sustaining Excellence Project has also been a topic at each PAC meeting of 2016-2017.

In addition to PAC, members of the University Coordinating Committee were invited to nominate individuals for the project Steering Committee. Throughout the Spring Quarter 2017, members of the Steering Committee will present to the Faculty Senate Council, Staff Affairs, and Staff Senate.

All members of the campus community, including those involved in shared governance, are invited to submit feedback on the publicly distributed list of ideas from April 26 - May 10, 2017.

Also, any decisions to explore implementation of ideas as a result of the project that impact University policy will go through the respective Shared Governance processes. 

The Updates page of the website provides an inventory of all project communications.

Navigate here to Send Contact the Project Manager
Contact the Project Manager

Send an email to the Project Manager (

Navigate here to Send Contact the Project ManagerSend
Guiding Principles

The Sustaining Excellence Project will be guided by the following principles:

  • Mission
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Objectivity
  • Transparency

Projects and recommendations will be considered through the following criteria:

  • Cost-savings
  • Revenue-generation
  • Increase efficiency/effectiveness
  • Projects not aligned with strategic plan