Foundation D: Build the Infrastructure to Support the Needs of the 21st Century University

During the two years of the strategic planning process, we engaged in numerous candid conversations with members of the Trinity community. One theme that vividly emerged from these discussions and electronic surveys is that all groups – faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees – perceive opportunities for greater institutional coordination. On campus, faculty and staff recounted examples of administrative inefficiency, redundancy, and increasing bureaucratization that make it increasingly time consuming and difficult to accomplish routine tasks. When talking to alumni and community partners, we repeatedly heard that lack of a central organization or inadequate web-based tools makes it difficult to access the resources of the institution. We need both long-term planning and regular reviews to help us determine the most efficient and effective use of all human and financial resources.

We know that our continued success is directly secured by our robust financial health. We endeavor to enact the action steps outlined in this strategic plan and to leave our institution finally stronger than it is now.

  • Trinity’s Composite Financial Index (CFI) exceeded the peer school median in six of the last seven years. In fact, Trinity’s Composite Financial Index was in the top 25% of the peer institutions for six of the seven years reported, lagging the 75th percentile only in FY14 where the large one-time charge for Center for the Sciences and Innovation expenditures pressured the index.
  • Trinity’s CFI score reflects good financial health relative to our internal planning threshold and our peer institutions.

D1: Improve Trinity’s web site and electronic document management

A user-friendly and up-to-date Trinity web site is essential. Prospective students begin their college searches online and we must ensure that a student’s first impression of Trinity is positive. On campus, faculty, staff, and students rely on University web sites to fulfill their daily responsibilities. Trinity’s web site must be regularly updated to provide accurate information regarding our academic and co-curricular programs. Maintaining such a web presence demands internal coherence and coordination.

Trinity has made strides to conduct business efficiently in an increasingly “paperless” way. We will continue to transition to streamlined yet effective oversight systems, such as an online document management system or a coordinated database that enables offices and divisions across campus to share and access information using industry-identified best practices. Trinity is committed to collaboratively developing new pathways and expectations for sharing information across departments, divisions, and offices to combat isolation and compartmentalization.


D2: Develop a Facilities Master Plan and maintain our campus infrastructure

Within the next year, Trinity will develop its first Facilities Master Plan to ensure that future building projects are consistent with the vision and design principles of founding architect O’Neil Ford, the values of a Trinity education, changing campus needs, environmental sustainability, and the strategic objectives outlined in this plan. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will develop this plan in consultation with Facilities Services, Financial Services, Academic Affairs, Conference Services, and Residential Life. Faculty and students with expertise in architecture, ecology, and urban planning should also be consulted. The plan should entail major building projects and the costs associated with deferred maintenance for the next ten years. Upon completion, the plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval.


original master plan side by side with the new facilities master plan

Honoring the Past, Preparing for the Future

The Trinity University Campus Master Plan

We are heirs to a historic, mid-century modern masterpiece. Our Skyline Campus is a treasure for future generations, distinctive with its significant collection of regionalist and mid-century modern buildings by renowned San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford. In the early 1950s, Trinity’s 14th president, James Laurie, and Ford empowered each other to create a vision of building a campus on the site of an abandoned rock quarry.

Establishing a historic district is central to Trinity’s Campus Master Plan. It pairs the University’s mission with its architectural legacy. Boundaries to the historic district will encompass all of the University’s buildings designed by O’Neil Ford. The Campus Master Plan reinforces the historic nature of campus and establishes criteria that will guide decisions for renovations, enhancements, space usage, and new construction in the coming decades.

The Campus Master Plan goes beyond the decision to seek designation as a national historic district. A few of the signature strategies include:

  • Creating a new wayfinding program to provide signage for better navigation of campus.
  • Enhancing a “corridor” through the core of campus that meanders from the upper to the lower part of campus. The “corridor” will improve pedestrian navigation without bifurcating the campus and enhance opportunities for connections.
  • Replacing two existing parking lots on lower campus with intramural green space.
  • Redeveloping the Coates University Center as the central dining facility on campus and adding a 500-guest ballroom that can be reconfigured for use as a conference facility.
  • Establishing a northern gateway to provide an outward face to the University for visitors, prospective students, and our connections with the city of San Antonio.
  • Improving existing student housing and adding independent living options for juniors and seniors. The plan identifies the need for more single rooms, kitchens, and common space in residence halls.

Trinity has accelerated the Campus Master plan with two purchases: City Vista Apartments and the ‘Oblate’ property west of campus. The University announced in January the purchase of the City Vista Apartment complex at the corner of Hildebrand Avenue and Devine at 655 E. Hildebrand. City Vista Apartments is a 141-unit complex with a 340-space parking garage, advancing the University's plan to add apartment-style living to its student residential housing options.

While Trinity realizes instant use in the purchase of City Vista Apartments, the University has no immediate plans for development of the “Oblate” property, purchased in March. The 9.2-acre tract of land adjacent to campus at the southwest corner of Shook Avenue and E. Kings Highway was previously owned by the Oblate Title Holding Company. The largely undeveloped property expanded Trinity’s campus to 125 acres.


Trinity Designated a Historic District

University is officially listed by the National Parks Service in recognition of architect O’Neil Ford’s vision

Trinity University is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, becoming the only Texas campus to be designated a modernist historic district and one of just three in the country.

The National Parks Service designated the Trinity campus as a National Historic District in late May, four months after the Texas Historical Commission approved Trinity’s nomination as a Historic District. This designation is a key component of the Campus Master Plan and honors the architectural work of O’Neil Ford, who designed most of the University’s mid-century buildings.

“This distinction honors the legacy of renowned San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford and the vision he shared with Trinity President James Laurie,” says Trinity President Danny Anderson. “Our historic district calls attention to the forward-thinking, modern vision that guides Trinity University and the spirit of entrepreneurial innovation, expressed in bricks and mortar and construction techniques, that has differentiated our campus for generations of students.”

As a historic district, the University will seek to preserve the exteriors of buildings. With the exception of notable interior features, Trinity will be allowed significant latitude to renovate the interiors of the buildings within the district.

The district was proposed by a Master Plan committee that worked in partnership with the architectural group Page. Larry Speck, a senior principal at Page, says Ford's contributions to Trinity deserve national recognition.

“The stature of its architect, the consistently high quality of design work over decades, and the intact nature of much of the work now are all extraordinary distinguishing features that combine to make Trinity University a premier architectural ensemble that will now be preserved in the foreseeable future,” Speck says.

Ford designed most of Trinity’s campus buildings from the 1950s to the late 1970s using the site’s unique topography to fashion modernist red brick buildings connected by walkways and lush native landscaping. Trinity has the largest concentration of Ford-designed buildings anywhere in the world, and 26 buildings on the campus contribute to the historic district.

The Texas Historical Commission voted unanimously in January to approve the proposal by Trinity to preserve Ford’s mid-century modern buildings. The Commission then forwarded the district to the National Parks Service for final approval.

D3: Develop an Information Technology Master Plan

Trinity has long recognized the central role that information technology plays in higher education. We understand that living in an age characterized by rapid and profound technological advancement requires sufficient investment of resources including frequent hardware and software upgrades, continued training and support, and administrative flexibility to adjust to ever changing user behaviors and trends. We also realize that technologies must serve multiple audiences with multiple needs and it is imperative to make collaborative decisions, when possible, coordinating the needs of many offices with multipurpose tools.


In October 2015, Trinity commissioned Protiviti, Inc. to complete an internal audit of Trinity’s Information Technology Services (ITS). Informed by Protiviti’s findings, in May 2016, two faculty and staff task forces were appointed to undertake a comprehensive review of Trinity’s use of Information Technology. One task force focused on the needs of academic computing (teaching and research) and the second addressed administrative strategy (data, information/security, networks). Vice President for Information Resources, Marketing, and Communications White and President Anderson are currently considering these recommendations in anticipating the future needs of information technology at Trinity.

D4: Conduct an audit to determine the effectiveness of the current administrative structure

In the next year, the University will conduct a thorough administrative audit to determine if the current administrative structure best satisfies current and anticipated needs. The findings of the audit will enable Trinity to: (1) consider consolidating existing offices beneath new titles; (2) explore budgetary and staff reallocation to maximize effectiveness; and (3) address future and unmet needs. We will also consider the role of disciplinary groups in advising the VPFSA on matters such as evaluation of faculty, budget preparations, and the allocation of faculty lines and other resources. Trinity should engage in regular and transparent administrative audits to ensure that leadership structures are attuned to the changing needs of the University.


During the fall 2013 semester, a faculty task force initiated a series of conversations and interviews with members of the Trinity community and Steve Lewis, former president of Carleton College, about the strengths and deficiencies of the current academic administrative structure. The task force’s recommendations stemmed from perspectives of faculty colleagues, task force members, and members of the administration. The task force concluded that there was a high degree of consensus related to the positive and negative aspects of the current academic administrative structure. President Anderson is currently considering these recommendations in establishing the appropriate administrative structure for the entire University. Trinity will host an external review team in October 2016 to assist him in this effort.

In Fall 2016, President Danny Anderson organized a formal Administrative Audit in the form of an external review.  Dr. Kenneth Ruscio, President of Washington and Lee University, and Dr. Stephanie Fabritius, Provost of Centre College, conducted the review.  They examined organizational charts, reviewed position descriptions, and conducted individual interviews with all of President Anderson's Executive Staff and the Associate Vice Presidents reporting to the members of the Executive Staff, as well as group interviews with faculty and staff leaders.  In total, they received information from thirty-eight individuals.  The site visit occurred Wednesday, October 12 through Friday, October 14, 2016.

On November 17, 2016, President Anderson received a confidential personnel assessment, recommending a series of key changes to the portfolios of certain Vice Presidents as well as the creation of new positions. An Executive Summary of the review was prepared and shared with the campus in August 2017, along with a presidential communication framing the major changes that have occurred.  The following table identifies the key positions existing in Fall 2015 and the new positions established by Fall 2017.

PDF icon View the Trinity University Administrative Structure Report (PDF)

Fall 2015

Fall 2017

  • Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs
    • Office of Admissions
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs
    • Coates Library
  • Vice President for Student Life
  • Vice President for Enrollment Management
    • Office of Admissions
    • Office of Student Financial Services
  • Vice President for Information Resources, Marketing, and Communications
    • Coates Library
    • Institutional Research
  • Vice President for Strategic Communication and Marketing
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Vice President for Finance and Administration
    • Office of Student Financial Services
  • Vice President for Finance and Administration
    • Director of Investments (new position)
  • Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development
  • Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development

 

  • Institutional Research (reporting to the president)
  • General Counsel (reporting to the president)

 

D5: Develop an integrated marketing plan

In the next twelve to eighteen months, Trinity will develop and enact an integrated marketing plan for admissions, fundraising, and alumni relations. As an institution, we must effectively communicate all that we have achieved as a result of the Trinity Tomorrow strategic planning process, including the possibility of a new general education curriculum for students. Our goal is to leverage all institutional communications to efficiently disseminate information to target audiences. Messaging should be consistent across platforms – including the web, social media, online video, alumni newsletters, and the alumni magazine – and emphasize the four strategic objectives described in Part I of this plan. An integrated marketing plan will use data to ensure that our coordinated efforts are properly calibrated to achieve desired results with prospective students and alumni donors.


Completed in January 2014, The Trinity University Integrated Marketing and Communications Plan (IMC Plan) describes a new, holistic approach to the University’s external marketing and communication strategy. The Plan serves as a guide to help reshape brand perception, enhance awareness, and increase applications and enrollment. Secondarily, the implementation of this plan will help build internal culture and pride by fostering engagement among all members of the Trinity community: alumni, donors, staff, students and faculty. Evidence of the plan’s implementation can be seen in the updated university web site, strategic outreach through newsletters and targeted marketing, and admissions outreach.

D6: Develop a new generation of faculty, staff, student, and alumni leaders

In order to ensure Trinity’s long-term, sustained success, we must promote leadership development among our current faculty and staff members. This will be accomplished by University Vice Presidents leading an initiative to improve training for their respective divisions, to mentor emerging leaders and make available continuing education opportunities, among other possibilities. These opportunities will enable faculty members and Trinity employees to perform their duties more effectively and with greater confidence. We will also nurture the next generation of campus leaders by investing in ourselves. Opportunities for continued promotion and growth improve Trinity’s ability to retain talented colleagues, resulting in higher employee satisfaction, greater institutional and programmatic continuity, and possible cost savings. Through the division of Student Life, we will enact similar programs to ensure that all Trinity students have opportunities to hone their leadership skills both inside and outside of the classroom. By cultivating alumni leadership, Trinity will continue to benefit from the trusted counsel of our most important external advisors.


three faculty members talk in front of a red wall

University Participates in Gallup Engagement Survey

Trinity seeks to strengthen its workplace culture through intentional improvements

Trinity launched its first-ever Gallup Employee Engagement Survey in November 2018 for all faculty and staff. The initiative marks a first step in an ongoing effort to solidify and strengthen Trinity’s workplace culture. The survey, administered by Gallup, served as a measurement tool for engagement and provided data necessary to create actionable plans for improvement.

Results obtained in spring 2019 showed that overall, faculty and staff are incredibly proud to work at Trinity University, and they find meaning and purpose in their work. However, the University identified two specific areas in which it needs to show improvement: finding new and better ways to reward and recognize hard work and dedication, and identifying opportunities for growth.

“The executive leadership team is setting smart, measurable goals for improvement in these areas,” says Tess Coody-Anders ’93, vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing. Coody-Anders notes that quantitatively, the University should strive for a substantial increase in the percentage of employees who consider themselves engaged in the workplace. Qualitative success will be measured by a feeling of value from employees who are excited to come to work every day. “The University incorporated specific questions from the survey in our University-wide dashboard to measure progress for the Trinity Tomorrow plan. As we receive divisional updates on a semester-by-semester basis, we will begin to see where we are making progress.” 

It is well-documented that the result of having a highly engaged workforce yields dividends: Employees are more productive, there is greater employee retention, and employees are invested Trinity’s mission and vision. But, Coody-Anders clarifies, the Gallup process is about more than just this survey. “We are using survey results as a way to be intentional about engagement,” she says, “but Gallup is a movement on campus. As a long-range initiative, we will use Gallup to understand where both opportunities and challenges are. Beginning conversations about change that you and your team feel would meaningfully make a difference—what you do going forward is what really matters.”


Trinity Continues Investment in Staff Development

Learning opportunities include technology, time management, and telling stories

For the second year, the Trinity Staff Engagement Council (TSEC) hosted Growing TUgether, a professional development day for Trinity staff. At about 750 strong, staff are involved in every nook and cranny at Trinity University, and Growing TUgether gives them development opportunities tailored to their Trinity experiences.

Fifteen breakout sessions focused on hard and soft skills, from technology training to time management techniques to creative storytelling. Special focus was given to building campus partnerships and supporting a culture of collaborative communication.

Alli Roman, director for Trinity’s Diversity and Inclusion Office, gave the lunch-time keynote, “Transforming Silence: Speaking truth to power while creating space for others to do the same.” Roman discussed ways the University can create a more diverse and equitable community through the use of storytelling, addressing our aspirational value of intentional inclusion.

D7: Pursue partnerships with other institutions, including universities, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and cultural institutions

Trinity will investigate new partnerships to expand opportunities for faculty and students. In particular, we will pursue partnerships that eliminate programmatic redundancy and offer new sources of revenue. Local partnerships enable Trinity to strengthen ties to the San Antonio community and beyond. One example of our recent work in this area has been a successful collaboration between Trinity University Press, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA), and the San Antonio Library Foundation to launch the Arte Kids series, a collection of bilingual children’s books in Spanish and English.


group of Trinity representatives pose with LeeRoy, president anderson, and governor abbott

Capitol Letters

Trinity University Recognized for its 150th Anniversary at the Texas State Capitol

On April 25, 2019, Trinity President Danny Anderson and other members representing the University were invited to the Texas State Capitol in honor of the University’s 150th anniversary. Upon their arrival, the group were greeted by Governor Greg Abbott during a special reception in his private chambers. There, he presented a proclamation lauding the University’s milestone anniversary and commitment to providing an education that has “established a legacy of success—a legacy that will long highlight the best of our great state.” 

Immediately following the governor’s presentation, Trinity was honored on the floor of the Texas State Legislature by State Senator José Menéndez, District 26 from San Antonio. Menendez invited Anderson, Denees Jones, vice president for Academic Affairs, Ty Tinker, president of Trinity’s Student Government Association, and Amani Canada, Trinity student ambassador onto the senate floor where he proclaimed April 25, 2019 as Trinity University Day at the State Capitol.


Story Time / Tiempo de Cuentos

Arte Kids book series blends art and bilingual learning

Thanks to its unique “Arte Kids” book line, Trinity University Press is changing the game for young readers who may be or aim to be bilingual. Tom Payton, director of TU Press, says the Arte Kids series blends reading in Spanish and English with visual learning thanks to vibrant colors, diverse subjects ranging from animals to numbers and shapes, and stunning art from the lush galleries of the San Antonio Museum of Art.

“These are the only early reader bilingual board books on the market right now that use art as a teaching tool,” Payton says.

The Arte Kids line, which includes hits such as Hello Circulos, Animal Amigos!, and 1,2,3 Si, is a partnership between the TU Press; the San Antonio Museum of Art, which provided the artwork for each book; and the San Antonio Public Library foundation (SAPLF). Working with SAPLF, the book line was funded through generous gifts from the Semmes Family Foundation, under the direction of Trinity Trustee Thomas R. Semmes, whom Payton credited as the true visionary behind the publishing initiative.

In San Antonio, SAPLF has been able to distribute tens of thousands of books to the parents of newborn children for free, thanks to Semmes. TU Press has also partnered with local children’s museums and literacy programs nationally to send books home, free of charge, to thousands of children.

“These are children of often lower-income households that may not have big libraries and whose parents’ dollars have other places to go besides books,” Payton says.

H-E-B, Target, and other large chains have sold the books at select locations; so have museums, such as at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The books have also garnered several awards, including the Silver Prize in the children’s category from the Latino Book Awards.

D8: Remain poised for the unexpected

The President will form a 21st Century Challenge Committee in order to shepherd the vision of this plan through an uncertain future and unforeseen challenges. The Committee will develop Trinity’s strategic response to emerging risks and opportunities that arise during the implementation phase of the Trinity Tomorrow plan.