The Ignatian Compass

Guiding Loyola University Maryland to Ever Greater Excellence Strategic Plan • 2017-2022

Explorers beginning a journey identify a goal. They carry with them knowledge, provisions, and a pledge to collaborate and support one another along the way. They also use a compass to guide them and keep them focused on the path to their destination. Because their travels are full of unknowns, they take each step with purpose and conviction, while remaining open to the possibilities the adventure presents.

With this new strategic plan, we, the members of the Loyola University Maryland community, begin a new journey. Our journey will take us toward greater fulfillment of our Jesuit, Catholic mission. As members of a community built on a foundation nearly 165 years strong, we will move forward united, in a prouder, bolder, more caring way. An Ignatian way.

Through action, we will individually and collectively advance Loyola University Maryland toward realizing an exciting new vision: Loyola University Maryland, anchored in Baltimore, will be a leading national liberal arts university in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.

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Priority I

Ignatian Citizenship

“In order to respond to this world, which is rapidly shrinking, we set our aim on educating for responsible citizenship in the global city.” - Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., former superior general for the Society of Jesus

Loyola’s aim is to become the leader in defining, promoting, and advancing Ignatian citizenship. The University will begin by cultivating a campus-wide ethos of Ignatian citizenship, promoting thoughtful and active civic and global engagement among all members of our community.

Ignatian citizens think of themselves as part of something larger, as responsible for the betterment of our shared world; as men and women who think and act for the rights of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed. Now more than ever, our world needs Ignatian citizens; Loyola is called to act and we are uniquely poised to do so from a position of strength and responsibility that is based on our mission and core values.

faculty member speaking with students students forming a large circle outside of the Chapel and holding lit candles students posing for a photo while holding shovels during a local community service project

Establish the Ignatian Citizenship Commons

  • Identify or build space for the Commons
  • Hire faculty across several disciplines to add curricular and research strengths
  • Create a faculty fellows program for visiting faculty and/or postdoctoral fellows
  • Engage in programming, student research, experiential learning, and internships; incentives for faculty teaching development and research; additional graduate fellowships
  • Seek budgetary resources for formational and mission enhancement for employees

Seek, embrace, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusiveness

  • Establish a President’s Advisory Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Create a senior leadership position for diversity, equity, and inclusion

Foster responsible and active citizenship on campus, and on local, regional, national, and global scales

  • Augment the University’s experience with ACE; generate a strategic plan for global engagement
  • Develop a plan to increase international student enrollment
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Priority II

Ignatian Educational Innovation

Jesuit education is not an end in itself, but a pathway to help guide each student. It offers structure yet flexibility and freedom, encouraging personal growth and student-directed study. Teachers, rather than merely delivering knowledge, serve as guides full of wisdom and experience.

Jesuit education must be adaptable to students’ individual needs and to the time in which it is delivered—with an eye toward preparation for the future.

Much as St. Ignatius urged that the Spiritual Exercises should be adaptable to those who undertook them, Jesuit education must be adaptable to students’ individual needs and to the time in which it is delivered—with an eye toward preparation for the future.

Although Loyola’s vision is to be a leading liberal arts university, that liberal arts identity is threatened. In recent years there has been a considerable decline in the number of Loyola students majoring in arts and sciences and an increase in those in the school of business. The needs of today’s students and local, national, and global job forecasts show that Loyola must require undergraduates to plan carefully in order to link liberal arts education with their career goals. Hence, career planning must be an essential characteristic of undergraduate education at Loyola.

By renewing Loyola’s commitment to the educational ideals of Ignatius, the University will make a compelling case for the integral synergies between the liberal arts and career and vocational planning. We will reiterate that initial call of Ignatius and ensure that the education we provide remains deeply committed to the liberal arts, offering students the foundation they need for any and every opportunity they will encounter. At the same time, we must ensure that they gain knowledge and experience through interdisciplinary connections among the liberal arts, STEM, and business, to help them graduate with a deeper understanding of how to respond to the needs of current times.

A Loyola education in the Ignatian tradition prepares students not solely for their first jobs, but for their careers, for a lifetime of contributing to the workplace and to society.

students studying plant leaves while one student holds a magnifying glass first person view of a classroom featuring a students hand and a notebook, with other students and a teacher in front of the class a student speaking at a podium in a classroom

While remaining strong in its commitment to the liberal arts, the University must explore opportunities to strengthen the curriculum, weaving together vocational discernment and the power of a liberal arts education and poising each student to be an Ignatian citizen

Place greater emphasis on graduate programs and their curricula, locations, delivery modes, and availability of programs, and to the distinct graduate and adult student experience

Implement necessary technology enhancements; infuse digital pedagogy into curriculum

  • Expand experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates
  • Enable ongoing pedagogical faculty development, including establishing a Center for Faculty Development
  • Support a Digital Learning Commons housed in the Library to promote digital scholarship and teaching initiatives
  • Increase summer course offerings and programs, including support for staffing and infrastructure resources for hybrid/online programs
  • Provide greater resources and support to graduate students in the Writing Center, Library, etc.
  • Assess the need for existing graduate centers and the potential for a downtown Baltimore campus

Make career outcomes a distinctive feature of the graduate, undergraduate, and alumni experiences

  • Consider the location, staffing, and technology of The Career Center; emphasize career discernment; develop a more robust network of alumni to serve both students and alumni; extend and improve the data collection of career outcomes; identify methods for campus departments to collaborate and share data

Generate a unified student experience devoted to health, wellness, spirit, and traditions

  • Develop holistic initiatives for all students; provide additional resources for students from diverse backgrounds and identities
  • Tie traditions to important academic moments for students, and inspire and support students to create opportunities to grow spirit and start new traditions
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Priority III

Ignatian Culture of Engagement

Building on St. Ignatius’ belief that people should meet others where they are, The Ignatian Compass will expand opportunities to engage the Loyola community more fully, one individual at a time, by increasing connections and collaboration. The members of Loyola’s community are the University’s greatest resource, its most passionate supporters, and the most likely people to spread the word about the value of a Loyola University Maryland education. To inspire and nurture an Ignatian Culture of Engagement at Loyola, we must build the infrastructure to support engagement, inform and influence our stakeholders, involve our community, and promote a culture of philanthropy to advance, individually and collectively, Loyola’s mission.

toddler kissing Loyola's greyhound mascot, Iggy students fill Loyola's academic quad during the annual Student Activities Fair students singing in a choir in Loyola's Alumni Memorial Chapel

An Ignatian way to build a culture of engagement is to examine and embrace our University’s core values and beliefs, inspiring members of the community toward deeper engagement with those values and the ideals they represent. As Ignatian citizens, we are called upon to strive for the greater good, and to educate and empower members of our community to engage in meaningful ways with one another and the world around them. We must align or create organizational structures, innovative programs, and sustainable services, fostering critical collaboration that will move us forward as one community with a common purpose.

Build a new University Engagement Center

Generate and promote new and exciting ways to engage alumni, who can and should play an increasingly important role in the life of Loyola

  • Increase opportunities for alumni and prospective family engagement by enhancing programs and services, upgrading technology, and expanding its alumni network
  • Build resources for much-needed scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Invite alumni and parents to participate more in Loyola’s career planning efforts and to network more

A shift in culture is necessary for Loyola’s employees to embrace their roles as Ignatian citizens

  • Create a University-wide mission education program for employees
  • Establish a University-wide mission integration activity or day of service for the entire campus community; enable employees to receive paid time off for approved service initiatives, retreats, or immersion trips
  • Examine opportunities to strengthen employee compensation, rewards, and recognition; performance management processes; and professional development opportunities

Maximize the impact of intercollegiate athletics on Loyola’s brand

  • Target athletics resources toward sports where Loyola can best compete; to enhance school spirit; to increase alumni engagement; and to improve the University’s profile and admissions demand

In addition to defining what it means to be an Ignatian citizen, the marketing and communications team will develop campaigns and core messages with particular focus on young alumni successes.

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Priority IV

Ignatian Institutional Vitality and Sustainability

To live out his vocation and give his order a strong foundation, St. Ignatius had to ensure that the Society of Jesus had the financial support it needed to travel and share the Gospel with the communities the Jesuits served. As he pursued his studies, he relied on the support of others, made prudent decisions, and trusted that God would provide. To make sure the Society of Jesus could have a significant impact on the world and grow, he surrounded himself with brother Jesuits—a group united in mission and vision and faith.

Students walking on Loyola's bridge that crosses North Charles Street A student band playing instruments on an outdoor stage An evening view of the Alumni Memorial Chapel lit up with lights as students walk by at dusk

Returning to its Ignatian roots, Loyola will strengthen its vitality through a unified mission and vision as a university. As a community, we will embrace the Catholic sense of subsidiarity, appropriately aligning authority with responsibility. Loyola will place decisions in the hands of those who are closest to the issues, empowering them to make decisions that best serve the members of the community; this, in turn, will put the University in the best position for the future by ensuring that we have reached optimal operating efficiency through cost reductions or reallocations. While adhering to that sense of subsidiarity, the University will also need to embrace the Jesuit openness to undertaking new opportunities and the constant challenge for self-improvement. The pace of change requires that today’s educational institutions become agile enough to be a leading contributor to the knowledge and service that advance social justice around the globe. With greater financial stability and vitality, Loyola will be better prepared to serve today’s students and tomorrow’s—and to live out the mission St. Ignatius embraced.

Create the necessary shift in institutional governance structures

  • Empower deans and chairs with oversight responsibilities and accountability for academic programs
  • Examine Loyola’s shared governance model to identify opportunities for a more efficient, flexible way to approach decisions

Through establishing a culture of philanthropy, the University will increase its endowment

  • Continue to seek ways to foster a culture of environmental sustainability
  • Identify and realize new and varied sources of revenues to lessen the primary dependence on its traditional undergraduate student population

Shared Vision, Shared Purpose, Shared Hope

Loyola University Maryland is at a crossroads. Loyola cannot—and should not—be everything to everyone. Instead, the University must home in on the specific areas in which it does succeed, build on and expand on those strengths, and ensure a bright, bold future.

By adopting The Ignatian Compass’ priorities and implementing initiatives to bring them to life at the University, Loyola will live out the mission St. Ignatius embraced and introduced to the world.

As a community, we are embarking on this journey, as men and women for and with others, members of a community that extends around the world, poised for the future and open to the possibilities we may encounter along the way.


KPIs and Benchmark Institutions are available in the full version of the plan.


President Linnane

From the earliest conversations about developing this new strategic plan for Loyola University Maryland, our community recognized that it would be essential for the process to be inclusive, intense, and intentional. More than 300 members of our community—students, faculty, alumni, staff, and administrators—lent their voices and valuable perspectives to this plan, which set a new standard for collaboration at Loyola.

As we move forward with the implementation of The Ignatian Compass: Guiding Loyola University Maryland to Ever Greater Excellence, we will continue to work together as a community to shape the future of our university. Each of us has an integral role in taking the next step in implementing the plan and helping Loyola University Maryland achieve still greater heights, while staying true to the mission and ideals that are so central to our university.

I have the deepest gratitude for the work of so many who contributed to creating this plan and look forward to working together as a community to bring the initiatives of The Ignatian Compass to fruition.

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.
Loyola University Maryland

About the Planning Process

The Ignatian Compass represents the collective involvement and insights of more than 300 members of our community. Loyola’s voices have sounded hopes, ideas, concerns, and compassion, all of which have contributed to the development of The Ignatian Compass’s four strategic priorities: Ignatian Citizenship; Ignatian Educational Innovation; Ignatian Engagement; and Ignatian Institutional Vitality and Sustainability.

As has been the case throughout the strategic planning process, there is inherent and intentional interconnectedness among the four strategic priorities, and equally so, among their respective initiatives. Each of the strategic priorities’ initiatives could justifiably be represented in one or more of the other priorities, and implementation details will necessarily be organic.

The initial framework for the planning was developed through a variety of inputs from the Loyola community, including discussions regarding Loyola’s value proposition and brainstorm sessions to identify current and potential future sources of distinction for the University. The overarching themes of the planning framework sought deeper engagement with Loyola’s Jesuit, Catholic mission, identity, and core values, intending to strengthen the University’s value proposition and its economic model. Each priority referenced enhancing the experience of a stakeholder group, and thus, sought to enhance the overall Loyola experience.

Strategic Planning Steering Committee


  • Rebecca Brogan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology
  • Marc Camille, Ed.D., Vice President for Enrollment Management and Communications

Project Manager:

  • John McKiernan, J.D., Assistant to the President


  • Timothy Arnold, HVAC Mechanic II - Facilities
  • Seán Bray, Director of Campus Ministry
  • John Burger, Ph.D., Professor of Economics
  • Donelda Cook, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Student Development
  • Elissa Derrickson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, Ex Officio as Chair of Faculty Senate
  • Frank D’Souza, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance
  • Elaine Edelstein, Office Manager for The Career Center
  • Joan Flynn, Associate Vice President for Administration
  • Kathleen Forni, Ph.D., Professor of English
  • Douglas Harris, Ph.D., Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Professor of Political Science, and Academic Co-Director for Messina
  • Sharon Higgins, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications
  • Jen Lowry, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Cheryl Moore-Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education Specialties
  • Mark Osteen, Ph.D., Professor of English
  • Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., Ex Officio as Chair of Loyola Conference, Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Jare Allocco Allen, Rev. Ronald Amiot, S.J., Carolyn Barry, Ph.D., Jane Hogge, and Anthony Villa, DMA, formerly served on the committee.

Seven Areas of Focus

The Loyola community is bringing The Ignatian Compass to life by addressing seven areas of focus across the University:

Ensuring Institutional Vitality and Fiscal Integrity

What are we doing to fund our mission and invest in our people, programs, and facilities? We will determine the right enrollment size and mix, investigate new programs to meet market and mission, and demonstrate the value of a Loyola education that individuals will want to invest in as prospective students and philanthropists.

Improving Yield and Retention

How are we “inspiring demand” for Loyola? We will identify ways to increase the desire for a Loyola education through new recruitment and marketing efforts. We will develop engagement strategies with counselors, alumni, parents, and students. We will develop transfer student initiatives. We will integrate career services into our recruitment efforts. We will implement improvement strategies to increase student retention.

Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

How will we raise more money for Loyola and meaningfully engage our alumni? Through philanthropy we will provide access to students, fulfilling our Jesuit mission, and transform Loyola in significant ways. We will strengthen our outstanding academic and athletic programs, enhance what we can do in our Baltimore community, and increase scholarship opportunities for students.

Engaging Faculty and Staff

How are we investing in the individuals who make Loyola a wonderful place to learn and work? We will develop initiatives to inspire and support the faculty, staff, and administrators who are central to our vibrant community. We will offer opportunities to engage with the mission and encourage participation through the office of mission integration, Campus Ministry, and the Center for Community, Service, and Justice.

Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

How will we become a more just, welcoming, inclusive community? We will expand the conversation around equity and inclusion to take a broader look at the climate on our campus. We will instill greater interfaith dialogue and understanding. We will promote inclusive academic excellence and deepen our collective understanding of high-impact practices and specific implications for the academic success of students of color. We will implement a multi-year plan for internationalization.

Cultivating Innovation and Entrepreneurship

How will we continue to educate leaders for a diverse and ever-changing world? We will enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Loyola and develop a Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as we educate and prepare our students for the future. We will offer students the tools and practice to become change agents for our community and beyond.

Enhancing Brand

How will we strengthen Loyola’s brand and the value of the Loyola degree? We will build a consensus and alignment on vision, mission, and purpose. We will drive and inspire internal pride and engagement. We will highlight the transformative experience of our students and promote the positive outcomes of our graduates. We will elevate Loyola’s reputation.