2021 Strategic Plan

A Road Map To A Brighter Future

Over the past 175 years Limestone has accepted the challenge of educating students from diverse backgrounds, many of whom might have found it difficult to find access to higher education elsewhere.

While we were working our way through the Strategic Plan process, our thoughts always came back to one singular thing:

Our Students.

It is vital that we collectively pursue education excellence by delivering to our Limestone students experiences that unite the

advantages of a liberal arts institution with the strengths of a comprehensive University. Recognized exceptional programs promote social mobility and prepare our students for professional success.

This document outlines a Strategic Plan that will chart Limestone University’s course for the next several years. We balance the

elements that have been essential to making Limestone exceptional in the past with a vision that includes ambitious goals. We will create a vibrant community of scholars who will have a profound impact on our region and around the globe.

Limestone already has a strong foundation with an extraordinary group of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters. We are now in the midst of a period of growth and improvement that will take Limestone and its students to new heights. At this moment in time, a new strategic plan is necessary to chart our path moving forward.

The process of crafting the 2021 Strategic Plan has been thorough and all-encompassing. During the past three years that I have been honored to serve as Limestone’s President, I have developed ideas to build a stronger, more impactful University. However, through this involvement of the campus community and our Board of Trustees, we have shaped a plan that surpassed my original expectations. With the multitude of contributions that we have received, it is clear that this is not purely my Strategic Plan. And it is not merely the plan of the Board of Trustees. It is Limestone’s Strategic Plan. It’s our road map to a brighter future. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get started.

Many people have contributed to the development of this strategic plan and we thank them for giving so generously of their time and ideas. We look forward to everyone’s continued participation as together we implement our new Strategic Plan.

The Process (2017-2020)

How we got here...

Much of the Strategic Plan that Limestone is currently operating began prior to 2017, when Limestone’s Board of Trustees contracted with the consulting firm Brailsford & Dun-lavey to work with Limestone’s Strategic Planning Committee to conduct market research and interview stakeholders with the major deliverable being a new Strategic Plan. From that information, Brailsford & Dunlavey recommended to the Board of Trustees that Limestone focuses on four primary strategic goals. The execution of the Strategic Plan was projected for 7 to 10 years with three phases: Stabilization (2-3 years), Transformation (5-7 years), and Maturation (5-10 years). The Board of Trustees voted to implement the consultants’ Strategic Plan in Spring 2017 starting the academic year 2017-2018.

In January of 2018, Limestone leadership instituted 14 task forces to gather additional feedback from faculty, staff, and students, to reinforce and update the Strategic Plan that was initially adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2017. The actionable items were added to the Strategic Plan tracking document as action items to address strategic goals, tactics, and objectives. Limestone leadership also recommended adding a fifth strategic goal: Ensure Limestone’s stability and growth through support, recognition, transparency, and fostering a family culture for faculty and staff with goals, tactics, and objectives which also stemmed from the task force recommendations. The updated Strategic Plan was presented to and approved by the Board of Trustees in April 2018.


That updated plan provided a direction that was ambitious but achievable and a logical extension of Limestone’s historic strengths that would require the institution to stretch and change. The updated and adopted 2019 Strategic Plan – aimed at stabilizing Limestone and paving the way for growth -- focused on goals surrounding recruiting, support infrastructure, community, resources, and culture.

Where we are going...

With Limestone completing its “Drive To University” initiative in the summer of 2020, Limestone leadership set a course later that year to develop a Limestone University Strategic Plan that will be considered for adoption by the Board of Trustees on April 16, 2021. Now is the time to focus on transformation.

As it charts its path forward, Limestone will undoubtedly continue its mission to educate students from diverse backgrounds in the liberal arts and selected professional disciplines. In a nurturing, supportive environment based on Christian ideals and ethical principles, the University will also continue to offer opportunities for personal and professional growth to individuals who may find access to higher education difficult.


Running parallel with those essential beliefs and values, Limestone has also developed and implemented new programs and partnerships to enhance the University’s status and to reposition Limestone to better serve the needs of South Carolina and its students. Limestone University is dedicated to offering a private university quality education with the career pathways students want, but at a net cost comparable to the state’s regional public institutions.

With new programs and partnerships underway and more on the horizon, the time was right to develop the 2021 Strategic Plan that will take Limestone University to new heights.

The Process (2021-2025)

Gathering input for the plan...

Limestone Leadership partnered with Credo to build the framework needed to develop and implement a new Strategic Plan that is flexible, adaptable, and iterative.

Credo Logo

Credo is a comprehensive higher education consulting firm that specializes in working with independent colleges and universities. Credo has partnered with Presidents and Cabinet members around the country, garnering unprecedented access to and trust with independent higher education leadership.

Limestone’s newest strategic planning started with Credo reviewing the University’s existing data and plans, and then the process began to build on our success by incorporating wide-reaching community buy-in and infusing that input with best- and next- practices.

The President’s Cabinet met in-person with Dr. Parker and representatives from Credo for an 11-hour Strategic Plan Workshop on October 8 & 9. In addition to gathering input from the Vice Presidents, the group invited additional staff and faculty members to form a Strategic Plan Committee that would begin meeting in the early part of 2021.

During the two-day session, as part of its “Strategy Map” development, the group identified three areas of concentration in creating a new Strategic Plan:

  • Commitment To & Belief In Success
  • Transforming Expectations
  • Focus On The Future

From there, the group identified four different objectives to consider (referred to by Credo as “file cabinet drawers”) under each theme.

To categorize initiatives (referred to by Credo as “folders in the file cabinet drawers”), the group linked their objectives to four criteria:

  • Students & Stakeholders
  • Internal Processes
  • Organizational Capacity
  • Financial Resources

On October 21, Credo conducted a virtual “Community Day” to gather input from the entire campus community. Well over 200 staff and faculty members took part in the three-hour session.

The Credo virtual input session with the Board of Trustees took place on October 30.

Building a strategic road map...

In January of 2021, the President’s Cabinet and Strategic Plan Committee met three different times – twice virtually for a total of four hours, and a third time face-to-face for four hours – to review the data gathered from the Board of Trustees and the faculty/staff in order to prepare for the next steps in the planning process.

Through those meetings, the Strategic Plan Committee developed three Theme Teams that would go on to meet in February four times for a combined total of eight hours each. A portion of those Theme Team meetings were held virtually, while others were held face-to-face.

As agreed upon during the Theme Team Launch meeting with the President’s Cabinet and Strategic Plan Committee on January 22, 2021, the three Theme Teams were Co-Chaired by Mike Cerino/Stacey Mason, Monica Baloga/K.C. Barnhill, and Michael Scharff/Charles Wyatt. During that January 22 meeting, the Executive Committee did in-person training with Credo to practice suggested activities with the respective Theme Teams.

. Also, as part of the training on January 22, the President’s Cabinet and Strategic Plan Committee did training that would be used during the four February meetings with the Theme Teams. That training included reviewing/organizing data from the campus community (to create “file folders” for each drawer), determining what might have been missed that needs to be added to the file folder and shaping up some of the identified initiatives, identifying paths to success by giving each initiative a time-frame for completion, and prioritizing each initiative.

Following the four meetings of the Theme Teams in February, the co-chairs of each team then summarized its findings and presented those to Dr. Parker for his review and consideration.

The Theme Team co-chairs submitted reports to Dr. Parker that identified objectives (drawer title), initiatives (folders in each drawer), initiative descriptions, a success matrix for year one, a success plan for years 2-5, an Ultimate Success Metric to identify the aspirational/full goal for each initiative, and a prioritized list of initiatives.

On March 18, 2021, the President, the President’s Cabinet, and the Strategic Plan Committee met virtually for six hours to provide feedback and recommend prioritization of the Theme Team summaries. From there, Dr. Parker edited the recommendations to formulate the Strategic Plan to be presented to the Board of Trustees on April 16, 2021.

Mission, Vision, & Values

Limestone University Logo - stacked
Limestone University



The mission of Limestone University is to educate students from diverse backgrounds in the liberal arts and selected professional disciplines. By providing degree programs throughout South Carolina and by way of the Internet, Limestone University offers opportunities for personal and professional growth, including to those individuals who may find access to higher education difficult. In a nurturing, supportive environment based on Christian ideals and ethical principles, students are challenged to become critical thinkers and effective communicators who are prepared for responsible citizenship, successful careers, and graduate study.


Limestone University’s vision is to continually foster a mentality of growth, responsible citizenship, and community for all constituents within the traditional ideals of a liberal arts environment while adapting and changing to meet the needs of current and future students.


Limestone expects its students to be concerned with two closely related types of development: that of the productive citizen and that of the person working toward intellectual maturity and self-awareness. The undergraduate experience serves as a catalyst for the student’s intellectual development and as a means by which each student may reach his or her potential.

Limestone University values excellent teaching and supportive student-faculty interaction encourage faculty to promote active learning in face-to-face and Internet classrooms and seeks to cultivate the intellectual curiosity of each member of the University community. Because our society presents continuing challenges to values, students are encouraged to cultivate respect for other individuals and cultures. Limestone University is a diverse community of women and men of different races, religions, geographic origins, socio-economic backgrounds, personal characteristics, and interests. It aspires to be a community of learners that is harmonious in its differences, just and compassionate in its transactions, and steadfast in its commitment to an educational program of the highest quality. The University respects each student’s religious liberty and provides an environment consistent with the institution’s non-denominational Christian heritage.

Limestone University, fulfilling its leadership role in South Carolina, strives to enhance aesthetic and cultural life, integrate qualities of liberal education and career preparation, improve the quality of social services, help meet human resource needs, and promote economic vitality.

Go to Themes, Objectives, & Initiatives