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President's Insider Blog

January 2020


While you and I have long known of Drake University’s impact and potential, others are starting to take notice. A collection of exciting announcements and big developments over the course of the last few years has garnered increased positive attention for the University on both the local and national level.

Every few months there is more good news for Drake and the surrounding community. New campus buildings, increased neighborhood development, innovative campus/community partnerships, strong enrollment numbers, and record-setting philanthropic gifts come to mind in the last 18 months alone.

These points of pride are the results of weeks, months, and years of carefully aligned, constantly assessed, campus-wide efforts. They are all according to a dynamic, comprehensive blueprint called the Drake Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP).

We based the Continuous Improvement Plan on the balanced scorecard model of strategic planning—used by at least 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies—and adapted it for our use in the non-profit, higher education sector. Research shows organizations that follow this approach see higher productivity and better overall success. The Continuous Improvement Plan replaces the traditional, static, “Five-Year-Plan,” often consisting of a list of objectives that are rarely revisited until the next five-year cycle begins. This mode of planning is neither reasonable nor responsible in today’s fast-changing higher-ed marketplace.

The CIP provides every school, unit, department, and employee with a common cause and direction to turn aspirational objectives into reality. The plan is a living document that adapts and develops as new information becomes available and new events occur. Each department on campus sets goals and regularly provides data and evidence of progress toward them. This campus-wide alignment keeps us steadily moving toward long-term points of achievement while allowing the flexibility and quick decision-making to capitalize on unexpected opportunities that come our way.

The CIP at Drake breaks down into four Commitments: Teaching and Learning, Reflection, Execution, and Stewardship. I invite you to visit the following link to learn more about what the areas cover and see examples of success for each: I hope you will come back to this site frequently. As the plan is in constant motion, we are regularly updating with new data, achievements, and information on our progress as an institution.

I wanted to share this plan with you as we enter what will surely be a new year of success and growth for Drake. As some of the University’s most loyal and generous supporters, I wanted to be transparent with you about the extensive efforts undertaken by Drake to make sure your investment is well used. You provide us with the necessary resources to deliver on our mission promise and to make real our inspiration to transform lives and strengthen communities.

I hope you had a joyous holiday season and New Year. There is much to anticipate as our second semester starts and we head into spring. I look forward to communicating with you as we reach new milestones on our Continuous Improvement Plan and value the commitment we share to this exceptional institution.


Warm regards,

Marty Martin
President, Drake University