Strategic Plan

After the institution’s successful completion of a revitalization plan (2010-2012) and strategic plan (2013-2015), President Barry Buxton challenged Lees-McRae to develop a bold long-term vision. Throughout 2015, a group of faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees met to examine historical trends, current realities, and future market shifts. With student needs and demands in mind, the group identified seven key areas of focus.


To encourage intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being, Lees-McRae will be an institution of choice recognized for excellence in traditional and innovative academic opportunities—promoting active learning, supporting an engaged community, stewarding the environment, and growing purposefully.

Strategy I

To prepare students for growing marketplace demand, Lees-McRae will be an institution of choice for health and biological sciences.

  • Introduce additional science programs to meet 21st century student expectations and demands
  • Strengthen and enhance the curriculum of existing science programs
  • Modernize science classrooms and laboratory spaces for expanded learning opportunities

Strategy II

To support academic, professional, and personal growth, the institution will emphasize experiential learning as fundamental to a Lees-McRae education.

  • Include and require appropriate experiential learning into the curriculum of all academic programs
  • Cultivate a network of external partners that can provide opportunities including internships, practical skills, and employment
  • Identify and appoint a Director of Experiential Learning

Strategy III

To ensure the highest quality education for all students, Lees-McRae will support various modes of learning.

  • Expand prospective online student market by securing additional articulation agreements and state approvals
  • Enhance and improve sustainability of administrative and technical support for distance learning
  • Reorganize the academic structure to create opportunities to strengthen traditional programs and develop innovative programs

Strategy IV

To further student opportunities for life-long learning, Lees-McRae will be an institution of undergraduate and graduate distinction.

  • Introduce and support graduate offerings that build on institutional strengths and meet marketplace demands
  • Expand and strengthen research opportunities within the curriculum for all students
  • Reinforce educational offerings through review and modification of existing curricula
  • Prioritize advising and mentoring among faculty, staff, and students to increase retention and graduation rates

Strategy V

To commit to its historic campus setting, Lees-McRae will diversify and increase its location based academic and co-curricular programs.

  • Ensure every student has a meaningful experience with the environment, promoting emotional and physical growth 
  • Identify and appoint appropriate academic and administrative personnel to support location-based programs
  • Foster an appreciation for the Appalachian region through curricula and other programs
  • Recognize and sustain appreciation of institutional heritage, including opportunities for spiritual development

Strategy VI

To maintain confidence and trust, Lees-McRae will strengthen critical relationships among its varied constituents.

  • Continue commitment to shared governance and organizational effectiveness through transparency and communication
  • Expand engagement opportunities between the institution and the external community
  • Employ a comprehensive financial campaign that supports institutional initiatives

Strategy VII

To provide students a superior living and learning environment, Lees-McRae will invest in and improve infrastructure.

  • Implement a facilities master plan that includes proactive maintenance and improvements
  • Renovate academic spaces, residence halls, and athletic facilities to meet the needs of students, faculty, and staff
  • Improve sustainability activities across the organization
  • Enhance and disseminate emergency preparedness protocols