Horizons 2025

Horizons 2025 Executive Summary

In response to the evolving landscape of higher education and the unique needs of Northern Wisconsin, Nicolet College presents Horizons 2025, a comprehensive planning initiative aimed at ensuring the College focuses on investing its time and resources in the right activities to improve College operations and outcomes. Horizons 2025 serves as Nicolet College's integrated planning framework, consolidating the collective efforts of the Board of Trustees, Strategic Leadership Team, and employees to propel the institution towards its vision of becoming a model college recognized for educational excellence.

Nicolet College sign, blue sky, sunny day

Positioned at an elevation of 80,000 feet, the Board of Trustees' strategic priorities provide visionary leadership, charting the course for Nicolet College's future trajectory. These priorities serve as guiding stars, illuminating the path toward sustained growth, innovation, and impact.

two graduates outside in cap and gown with their diplomas

Board Strategic Priorities

The Nicolet College Board of Trustees sets two overarching priorities to implement that will advance our core mission and values for the next decade.

  1. Develop and nurture a deeply imbedded culture of continuous quality improvement (CQI) and a planning mindset.
  2. Develop and nurture a deeply imbedded culture of sustainability that is present in all facets of the college, impacting students, employees, and the community.

Additionally, three strategic priorities will be implemented over the next three years. These priorities will increase the value and contributions of Nicolet College to the community, increase learners’ success while at the college and in their lives and careers, and increase student enrollment.

  1. Improve digital access.
  2. Identify and engage in purposeful partnerships.
  3. Build pathways of global, lifelong learning.
The "Now" Horizon

Focuses on core business and operational strategies for 1-2 years.

The "New" Horizon

Focuses on collaboratively building new programs, services, and resources in 2-3 years.

The "Next" Horizon

Focuses on future-oriented expectations that are integrated and sustainable and spans at least 3 years into the future.

Using the three horizons ensures that plans reflect current, near-future, and long-term considerations, along with elevations to identify the scope for each process level. The graphic outlines the other components of Horizons 2025.

3 Horizons Graphic

Central to Horizons 2025 is a steadfast commitment to innovation and program development and continued improvement. Nicolet College recognizes that to remain relevant and responsive to the needs of our community, it is imperative to evolve and expand our offerings continually. Aligned with the Board's Strategic Priorities, innovation becomes not merely a goal but a guiding principle driving decision-making and resource allocation. Nicolet College aims to stay at the forefront of educational excellence through strategic investments in new programs, cutting-edge technologies and learner support, and creative pedagogies.

Horizons 2025 calls upon all members of the Nicolet College community to adopt a future-oriented mindset in their strategic thinking and planning. In an era of rapid change and disruption, it is essential to anticipate and adapt to emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities. By fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning, Nicolet College stands poised to realize its full potential and fulfill its mission to deliver superior community college education that transforms lives, enriches communities, fosters economic development, and expands employment opportunities in Northern Wisconsin.

Horizons 2025 Timeline

The Horizons 2025 Timeline highlights the work the college has done through April 2024. 

August 2022, Environmental Scan Board Presentation – Director of Business Intelligence Christin Van Kauwenberg provided the Board with a comprehensive, data-informed, future-focused presentation titled "Scanning the Horizon." Christin offered a snapshot of current social and economic conditions shaping future college priorities and direction.

September 2022, Board Planning Session – This session, facilitated by the college’s strategic plan leaders, used the Society for College & University Planning (SCUP) Trends in Higher Education to assess what board members were concerned, curious, and excited about.

November 2022, Board Strategic Priorities – Following the planning session, the board formed a committee. It developed the Board's Strategic Planning Priorities, setting strategic directions for the College based on macro trends in higher education and at Nicolet College.

December 2022, Executive Leadership Team (ELT) Planning Priorities – Following the Board’s articulation of strategic priorities, the President and Executive Leadership Team, now Strategic Leadership Team, determined overall college expectations for planning that will carry the College in the direction set by the Board. The president's and ELT's expectations are future-oriented to provide growth and development direction for the college's strategic plans over the next 3-5 years.

April 2023, Foundational Academic Plan – The strategic plans began with the foundational academic plan, representing our core business. Aligned with the board's priorities and planning expectations, this foundational plan guides other strategic plans. The foundational academic plan was shared with the Board in August 2023.

July 2023, Strategic Plans: Enrollment, Technology, Facilities, and Marketing – Subsequent strategic plans were built upon the foundational academic plan, ELT planning priorities, and board strategic priorities. Like the academic plan, these strategic plans focus on a time horizon of 3 years. Strategic plans were with the Board in September 2023.

August 2023, Society for College & University Planning (SCUP) Integrated Planning Sessions – The College partnered with the Society of College & University Planning (SCUP) to provide three two-hour workshops on integrated planning. This series aimed to help the College collectively understand integrated planning as it moved into operational plan development. 

August 2023, Advance Teams – Advance teams support Horizons 2025 by aligning with board priorities and ELT planning expectations. These teams support a planning culture and mindset by providing a new way to structure and support cross-collaborative work. Currently, there are eight Advance Teams. 

October 2023, Core Teams Operational Plans – Operational Plans are engaged at the team level to align with the Board's Strategic Priorities, ELT Planning Priorities, and strategic plans. Led by team leaders, these plans focus on ensuring current programs and services are effectively administered and implementing strategies to improve, expand, stop, or transform existing operations.

April 2024, Implementation Strategy – the implementation strategy team aligned operational plan strategic activities with significant college initiatives: the Enterprise Resource Planning project, Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation, enrollment, and the Horizons 2025 Planning Priorities. The implementation strategy also includes the Horizons 2025 strategic plan executive summary and covers the Horizons 2025 revision process, how Horizons 2025 ties to resource allocation, and how the college will measure Horizons 2025 success.

Horizons 2025 is intended to be updated in 2025-26 after the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reaffirmation in 2025.