The 2018-2023 Strategic Plan

Purpose and Relevance Reimagined: throughout much of 2017-2018, the campus community joined together to build a Strategic Plan outlining an esteemed vision that reaffirms our worth and dynamic ability to embrace change and impact lives. The effort was led by a strong team of University leaders, with results reflecting recommendations and input from faculty and staff.


We prepare students for lifelong success through transformational academic, professional, and co-curricular programs.


To be a nationally recognized leader in rural higher education known for its remarkable student learning and outcomes. We will be an institutional destination–ambitious in our efforts to distinctively and boldly inspire students to serve, empower, and transform communities through Education for Service.


Transformational Experiences
Meaningful Connections
Stewardship and Sustainability
Respect and Inclusiveness


Theme I: Compelling Story

BVU will be a known leader in rural education and in transforming rural communities from surviving to thriving. We will invest in market research and engage stakeholders to propel the University to build a shared voice and brand that is not only relevant—but compelling.


Theme II: Transforming Communities

BVU will support a culture of risk-taking and innovation through the development—and investment—in our physical footprint and human resource capital. Not only will BVU be a dynamic place to work, but BVU will be a community which values its natural and capital assets to support student success. 


Theme III: Inspiring Students

BVU will create a pathway to success which will provide current and future students with exceptional experiences to make them life and work ready. The University will make it a priority to invest in high-impact practices, align curricular and co-curricular priorities, and create seamless engagements and practices for a transformational undergraduate experience which will increase enrollment and retention.


Theme IV: Focused Growth

BVU’s founding men and women were entrepreneurs who had a cultural and academic vision. Dr. William H. Cumberland wrote, “The history of Buena Vista College reveals a determined effort to survive in spite of harsh economic times, wars, and often a churchly indifference to its success and growth.” Despite our perseverance, despite our past success, we cannot be complacent. 

Strategic Planning Team Members

  • Joshua D. Merchant 
  • Brian A. Lenzmeier 
    Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs 
  • Dixee Bartholomew-Feis 
    Dean, School of Social Science, Philosophy, & Religion 
  • Lori Berglund 
    Director, Career and Personal Development
  • Thomas Bonagura 
    Assistant Professor, Biology 
  • Patti Demers 
    Assistant Director, Financial Aid 
  • Jack Denholm 
    Athletic Director 
  • Stacy Gibbs 
    Interim Dean, Online, Site, and Graduate Programs 
  • Ashley Farmer-Hanson 
    Interim Vice President, Student Success Dean of students 
  • Jim Hewett 
    Institutional Researcher
  • Tanya Landgraf 
    Assistant Controller
  • Mark Lumsden 
    Chief Information Officer 
  • Grant Mollring 
    Head Football Coach 
  • Jamie Mullen 
    Education Coordinator/Advisor 
  • Matthew Packer 
    Associate Professor, English; Chair, Faculty Senate 
  • Rick Pallister 
    Chief Marketing Officer
  • Suzette Radke
    Vice President, Finance & Administration
  • Shawn Stone
    Professor, Physics/Computer Science
  • Emily Williams
    Director of Advancement Operations
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