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State of the University: Work together to move SPSU forward

President Lisa RossbacherIn her annual State of the University address on Aug. 14, SPSU President Lisa A. Rossbacher exhorted university faculty and staff to recognize how critical every individual’s role is in the success of the institution.

“We’re all part of the university community. Everything we do affects recruitment, retention, student success, graduation and reputation,” she said in describing a vision for the future of SPSU and how to achieve it. “The pruning of the trees, the appearance of the restrooms, access to the wireless network and saying hello to the people you walk past on campus – everything matters. Everything is connected.”

All of SPSU’s planning efforts are guided by the current strategic plan, which includes three major goals: attracting students who will be successful and graduate from the programs SPSU offers, increasing the resources needed to pursue the university’s mission and strengthening the sense of community both on campus and between the university and the region. All the other plans developed in recent years to shape the university’s future are driven by this one.

When all of the various plans come to fruition, Dr. Rossbacher said, “SPSU will be a comprehensive university with a special-purpose mission that emphasizes science, engineering, technology, and design... known for collaborative research that engages both undergraduate and graduate students with faculty members who apply knowledge to solve real-world problems."

But, she noted, there are “gaps between where we are and where we want to be“ – gaps in funding that make enrollment growth and fundraising more important than ever; gaps in support for the success of some subsets of students; gaps in the graduation rate and gaps in fully serving a student enrollment that has doubled over the last 10 years.

“So, how do we get there from here? We need to work on implementing all of our plans to get from the current reality to our vision of the future,” Dr. Rossbacher said. “And it involves every one of you. We all need to be working on our pieces of the future – and always in the context of the big picture.”

The president identified the university’s priorities for the coming year as:

• articulation, support and promotion of the vision for SPSU’s future;

• stronger communication about what SPSU is doing and why; and

• attention to what SPSU students need to be successful and use of data and analyses to figure out ways to help students.

“All of these goals support the current strategic plan,” Dr. Rossbacher said. She concluded with “I want to emphasize how critical it is that we work together to move Southern Polytechnic forward. Thank you all for the role that you play in realizing this vision. It’s going to be a great year.”

To read an expanded description of the vision for SPSU’s future, go to Notes from the President.

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