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A Strategic Blueprint for an Indispensable Association

A Bold New Path

As the nation’s premier association for higher education business leaders, NACUBO is dedicated to supporting business officers and their essential—and expanding—role in the sector. To this end, we are proud to share NACUBO’s Strategic Blueprint, in which we introduce our plan to support business officers and higher education and in doing so, solidify our role as an indispensable 21st-century membership association.

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Susan Whealler Johnston, President and CEO, NACUBO
NACUBO 2019 Annual Meeting (July 16, 2019)

NACUBO's Strategic Priorities

Building a More Connected and Innovative Association

Strategic Priority 1: Transformations

Engage higher education institutions in undertaking necessary transformations to strategically position themselves in the dynamic higher education environment.


Launch the Center for Higher Education Financial Leadership

Bring NACUBO’s expertise to bear on necessary higher education transformations, broadening awareness of its capabilities among other audiences, and enhancing its contributions to member institutions.


Reinvest in the Economic Models Project

Help institutions navigate their mission, structure, strengths, and resources to create viable models for economic sustainability.

Strategic Priority 2: Advocacy

Increase proactive advocacy.


Develop a cohort of authoritative business officer voices in higher education

Help them serve as persuasive, proactive, and responsive spokespersons for their institutions and the sector on matters related to the business of higher education.


Equip NACUBO members to communicate the value of higher education

Invest in videos, infographics, and customizable op-eds to help CBOs and other campus leaders share the tremendous impact their institutions have on students and society.


Expand advocacy to include state-level reporting and guidance

Build on NACUBO’s respected federal reputation and respond to member-identified needs.


Recast the "NACUBO in Brief" podcasts

Focus on areas of interest to business officers, such as economic trends, financial aid, accounting and reporting changes, and NACUBO’s annual endowment study.

Strategic Priority 3: Solutions

Drive effective solutions in higher education.


Personalize NACUBO's website

Provide tailored access to resources and materials that offer insight, advance ideas, and support effective solutions in higher education.


Develop microlearning opportunities

Help business officers gain specific leadership skills and technical competencies in short, accessible modules.


Build a robust, online solutions center

Members will be able to access resources, get support on emerging issues, find volunteer opportunities, and contribute to Q&A—all in one place.


Train business officers on dashboards and visualizations

Build institutional capacity to measure and track a variety of indicators related to institutional performance, all with a focus on intentional improvement.


Help business officers link strategies and sustainability

Leverage business office expertise to strengthen environmental initiatives and outcomes.

Strategic Priority 4: Leadership

Strengthen the strategic leadership role of the CBO.


Create a credential

Help business officers and others acquire the necessary skills to advance their careers and to contribute meaningfully to the future of their institutions.


Define the CBO of the future

Identify the skills, abilities, and backgrounds needed to thrive in higher education and to serve its business needs.


Offer a high-impact, transformative leadership development experience

Aid high-potential finance and business office staff at colleges and universities.


Design a sector-wide DEI initiative

Strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in the higher education business community.

Strategic Priority 5: Analytics

Lead higher education’s integration of analytics to achieve institutional strategic goals.


Embed analytics content in all NACUBO conferences and workshops

Ensure analytics becomes a core activity of the association.


Expand collaboration efforts

Work with other organizations to leverage NACUBO’s endeavors.


Grow NACUBO's data-informed culture

Become the leading higher education association utilizing analytics to enhance business development and member engagement.


Leverage business partnerships to develop analytics tools

Review high-quality work already done in this space and share it with NACUBO members.

Guiding Principles


Higher education is valued as an outstanding investment.


To advance the economic vitality, business practices, and support of higher education institutions in pursuit of their missions.

Value Proposition

NACUBO convenes those influencing and advancing higher education, is a catalyst of unmatched knowledge, and is a leading advocate for colleges and universities.

Core Competencies


Collaboration with our many partners in higher education, especially those who support the business of higher education, to aid members in improving their business practices, finding solutions to their problems, and advancing their careers.


Advocacy at the federal and state levels, by using our national perspective to develop the necessary member resources that enable productive policy engagement.

Knowledge Creation & Sharing

Knowledge creation and sharing through unique research, relevant reports and briefs, and both face-to-face and online programs.


NACUBO’s Strategic Blueprint was informed by hundreds of individuals including staff members, board members, and NACUBO volunteers who contributed their time and insight to designing this bold path. During this process, areas of consensus and innovation emerged and were then tested with community members. The end result is an enterprising and exciting plan that adds value to NACUBO membership and advances the value of higher education.

This Strategic Blueprint was approved by NACUBO’s board of directors on July 12, 2019.