BCU BEST | 2020-2024 Strategic Plan

Briar Cliff University is a community committed to higher education within a liberal arts and Catholic, Franciscan perspective. In the Franciscan tradition of service, caring and openness to all, Briar Cliff emphasizes quality education for its students, combining a broad intellectual background with career development. The University challenges its members to grow in self-awareness and in their relationships to others and to God.

For nearly a century, a Briar Cliff University education has exhibited enduring value, preparing ethical, visionary leaders and citizens who impact and influence every aspect of society. In our ever-evolving world, the need for Briar Cliff graduates has never been more critical. As we welcome new members into our university community, our core values foster growth, empowering our students and graduates with a sense of purpose and service to boldly go out into the world as ethical world-changers.

The Changing World of Higher Education

While we are committed to our founding ideals, such efforts face challenges as higher education confronts a period of unprecedented change. Briar Cliff University is operating in a dramatically different context than when the University was founded. While research shows the value of a college degree is higher than ever before, rising tuition costs have made that investment difficult, and even prohibitive, for many potential students. Additionally, the population seeking a higher education is transforming, as are their expectations. At the same time, the number of high school graduates nationwide has declined. Taken together, this means the University needs to attend to new questions and concerns of an evolving student population.

Our Bold Future

As a liberal arts university grounded in our Catholic, Franciscan identity and guided by our mission, Briar Cliff University has set its course in an intentional direction to provide a truly transformative education by:

  • Teaching and empowering our graduates to change the world through bold and relevant programs and teaching methodology and pedagogy
  • Strengthening the unique On-the-Cliff™ experience and community belonging we offer students and employees
  • Highlighting and expanding our stellar reputation as the Help Sciences™ university – preparing skilled, ethical Helpcare™ professionals
  • Innovatively adapting our campus and IT infrastructure and culture to support and serve as a home-away-from-home for future generations of Briar Cliff students
  • Fortifying our financial strength and agility through diversification of revenue, academic and community offerings, and fundraising and grant acquisition strategies


As stated, the world of higher education is changing at an astronomical pace. Briar Cliff University is shifting with these changes, while at the same time honoring its tradition of providing exceptional educational opportunities. Our new strategic plan is designed to inspire confidence, create markets, and seize new growth opportunities.

Four years. Four core elements. 

  Bold Academic Opportunities
We resolve to enhance teaching and learning on campus through effective, contemporary practices, emphasizing bold, market-relevant, and fiscally responsible curricular, co-curricular, professional, and community programs in the tradition of the liberal arts that align with our Catholic, Franciscan mission.
  Economic Vitality
Briar Cliff University will position itself to meet the current fiscal realities inherent to higher education. We recognize the need to create and implement a business model that maximizes institutional resources by reducing costs and diversifying revenue while emphasizing the recruitment and retention of best-fit students.
  Singular Brand
Briar Cliff University resolves to strengthen the reputation of and share the unique identity of the Briar Cliff University experience.
  Transformative Campus Culture
We resolve to enhance campus facilities and processes to better serve the holistic needs of the Briar Cliff community.

Perfectly Poised for the Future

Briar Cliff University’s Strategic Plan 2020-2024 will guide the University to position itself for continual positive growth and vitality.