A Vision for the Future of Saint Joseph’s College
The Board of Trustees adopted the following vision statement in May 2013:
Saint Joseph’s College will be recognized for its preparation of life-long learners through innovative course delivery and content that empowers people and communities to meet the challenges of a changing world.
With this vision statement as a guide, and input from 18 “listening/visioning” sessions held during spring 2014, the College is moving forward with a strategic plan for sustainable growth and development. What follows is a summary of the Strategic Narrative adopted in the 2014 Strategic Plan, Sustaining the Promise.
Saint Joseph’s College in 2024
After a remarkable period of growth and development, Saint Joseph’s College in 2024 is no longer one of the region’s “best kept secrets.” Thanks to our elevated profile in Portland and the Lakes Region, learners of all ages and interests think of Saint Joseph’s not simply as a means to and end, but as a destination.
Our Intentional Community
A Saint Joseph’s education in 2024 continues to be recognized as special and distinctive. We are an intentional community—one where everyone is committed to the practice and pursuit of the Core Values that are central to our identity as Catholic and Mercy (faith, excellence, integrity, community, respect, compassion, and justice). Our focus on these common concerns has led us to embrace “wellness and sustainability” as a major organizing principle. (Wellness is the human form of sustainability.)
New Centers of Excellence
In 2024, the presence of two new centers on campus is a visible indicator of our commitment to wellness and sustainability. These centers generate both credit and non-credit educational experiences and opportunities for our core constituencies, as well as a growing number of visitors to Saint Joseph’s. The centers focus on:
- The Human and Natural Environments
- 21st Century Faith and Spirituality
A Competitive and Compelling Undergraduate Experience
The College continues to meet the high demand for undergraduate degree programs in business, health care, and education, and we are able to respond effectively to market changes by providing robust enrollment in the humanities and sciences programs. In 2024, we are able to attract a larger qualified group of students than at any time in the College’s history.
- Full campus enrollment: 1200 students in the Sebago Lake program.
- Geographic diversity: 40% from Maine; 40% from elsewhere in New England; 20% from other areas.
In addition, we are providing our students much more personal, academic, and professional support than ever before. In 2024, the Saint Joseph’s undergraduate experience offers:
- More experiential learning opportunities: More students are traveling on service and cultural trips, engaging in community-based learning in the Greater Portland and Lake regions, or studying away in a different city or country.
- A richer honors program: The revamped program is designed to challenge our higher achievers.
- A successful early-start program: The program helps students with less well-developed academic profiles adjust to college learning.
- Enhanced First-Year Experience (FYE): The required FYE course is now a two-semester sequence that includes a substantial focus on the College’s mission.
- Personal learning plans: Freshmen work with their faculty advisor to match their educational plans (curricular and extra-curricular) with their personal interests and career goals.
Expanded Online Programs
Our online programs continue to attract students from across the country and around the world. We enjoy an unmatched reputation for quality, in part because of our commitment to personal attention and interaction. In addition to our strong ongoing programs in professional areas, we are now offering multi-disciplinary graduate degrees focusing on emerging challenges and issues in the contemporary world. We have recently graduated our first groups of doctoral-level students.
Support for All Students, On Campus and Online
While the Academic Center continues to work with students who require learning accommodations, it is now seen as a resource for the entire community. The Career Services Office now actively engages all students throughout their time at the College and continues to support them as alumni. In addition, we offer more extensive financial counseling to students and parents.
Recognized as a “Best Place to Work”
The College has made a substantial commitment to professional development for faculty and staff. The Faculty Center now has a full-time director and offers training, workshops, and roundtables. The College also rewards great teaching and staff members have access to professional development programs. We offer competitive salaries and a responsive menu of benefits. The College is now recognized as a “best place to work” in various surveys.
A Vibrant Learning Community
By using campus programming to develop a stronger culture of learning, the College is able to draw more visitors from surrounding communities, as well as vacationers in the Lakes Region. This has further improved our reputation with our neighbors and in the wider region, and has added revenue by making our campus a more attractive destination for summer conferences.
Redeveloping the Heart of Campus
To support and encourage this vibrant learning community, the College has invested in significant upgrades and additions to our campus facilities.
- A transformed Campus Center (Mercy and Heffernan Halls) is the vibrant hub of campus, with new spaces for learning, socializing, and spiritual practice, connected by a sky bridge.
- A new academic building across the green has dedicated space for science and other programs.
- The quads have been replaced by a new apartment complex that provides more independent living options for upper-class students. In the summer, the apartments provide an additional source of revenue.
- A new multi-story residence hall designed for first-year students now occupies the space adjacent to Saint Joseph’s Hall, which has been repurposed for much-needed administrative office space.
- Expanded recreational and athletic resources include an all-weather dome adjacent to the Alfond Center and new multi-sport turf fields for soccer and lacrosse, with seating and restroom facilities.
- Across Whites Bridge Road, the fully renovated Gowen Farm complex is now a Welcome and Community Outreach Center with event and gallery space. A new barn structure has been erected with spaces for the kinds of programing Pearson’s Farm is increasingly known for throughout the region.
Mission Aligned Businesses
The College has developed mission-aligned businesses that will help diversify our revenue stream and provide opportunities for students to “earn and learn.”
- Life-long learning community on campus: This is key to our goal of being a multi-generational learning community, committed to wellness and sustainability. Residents have opportunities to take classes and be involved in the life of the community. The community also includes a day care/child development center.
- Lakeside lodge and meeting/event space: This has created opportunities for new academic programs in hospitality and eco-tourism. The lakefront has been developed and now supports a four-season recreation program for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
- The Stone Barn: This transformed facility on our organic farm is used throughout the year for lectures, concerts, weddings, dinners and other special events for which we receive rental income.
As a result of this decade of development, Saint Joseph’s College is now widely recognized as an exemplary 21st- century, Catholic, liberal arts college in the Mercy tradition. The College’s willingness to meet challenges in ways that recognize and respect our history, tradition, and core commitments, while appreciating the reality of a dynamic future, means that we are well-positioned to continue realizing and Sustaining the Promise that is Saint Joseph’s College.