By Garrett Chapman
A feedback and listening session concerning the strategic plan was held at 3 p.m. on March 29 inside Wroten Hall for faculty, staff, and students. There were 11 people in attendance.
The session had no set ground rules as the floor was open for feedback and questions regarding the plan.
The first question brought to attention was, how does online fit into this plan? There is no separate online plan, Brad Andrews, president, explained, “as I recall, we thought this was a college wide plan to serve the community.”
Andrews went on to explain that “these are not umbrella things, we are talking about something that progresses everything.”
Another question from a faculty member was “How does the branding and marketing relate to the financial mission?” Andrews answered with, “We’re creating it to send a message. It will fully impact how we recruit students, it will create a voice for us.” Kaydee Johnson, vice president for marketing and communications, added, “They are closely linked and so primary. Having an established brand and understanding who we are.”
“We will always be tuition dependent, it is true that doing this will help our enrollment, as were building for the future we need to find what the students are willing to pay for. What is it about us that will make students willing to pay 16 thousand a year to go here. To meet our financial stability for the next 20 years, we need to find what everyone values about southwestern college,” said Andrews.
Steve Kramer, assistant director for advising and student success, added some feedback by saying, “Center of career and vocation, I am concerned that we will become disconnected with the way we do things now.” Andrews replied with, “As my experience and what I understand, I firmly believe that an effective process will show all of our strengths and aspirations. Also, it answers how we can take what we have and make it even better. Nothing we have will be dismissed or disregarded unless we have complete deliberation that we have something better”
One concern brought up was that the freshman talk about the speed of the internet being a problem.
“Like I said, there are over 200 things that need to be done and we are picking four. Part of our decision was weighing the financial capabilities. When we met with students, they did not bring up the internet, they know it is an issue but they acknowledge there are more important things to come first. If we have money to renovate Wallingford, we would much rather do that,” said Andrews.
Andrews went on to explain that this is not about student satisfaction, it’s about what will take the college to another level. We have issues everywhere, we have eight million dollars in maintenance that we would not notice. We are focused on building the campus that we want to see in 25 years from now. At the end of the day, we need to get to a balanced budget as soon as we can, that’s what this plan is for.
“If we fix Wallingford, but don’t create a career center, we will be no better off. That is all for the master plan. The sequencing and timing will be dependent on the dollars we have which is dependent on the enrollment we have,” said Andrews.
The three words, discover, inspire, and empower were a big topic. The question was, what words to go with? “I am trying to grab the utilitarianism and sell our belief in that,” said Andrews.
He went on to explain that what he really wants to do is define conceptually where were headed. “There is no timeline, it will take on a natural timeline,” said Andrews
Andrews asks everyone to take the time to send him any thoughts that you have about any of these pieces of the strategic plan that are important to you.
“My overall thought is that it is a realistic plan of things that can be done. I appreciate the flexibility and the realism of the plan,” said Michael Tessmer, professor of chemistry.
Another open session will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m. on March 30 in Wroten Hall.
Garrett Chapman is a senior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.