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SPSU is off and running for Fall 2013

Southern Polytechnic State University is off and running for Fall 2013!  Enrollment is hovering around 6,550, which is an increase of about 5.6% over Fall 2012.  At a time when many of the institutions in the University System of Georgia are experiencing declines in enrollment, this amount of growth at SPSU is remarkable.

My State of the University presentation, during Fall Kickoff, was organized around the Big Rocks for the upcoming academic year:  the most important areas that we need to include in all our planning, to be sure that we fit them in.  If we don’t plan ahead to focus on these important topics, we risk wasting our time and energy on less important things and never being able to fit in the critical goals.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the “Big Rocks” metaphor – and story – please check the summary of my fall kickoff presentation, which is posted on the SPSU website at http://www.spsu.edu/officeofpresident/presidentspeeches/documents

Southern Polytechnic’s five Big Rocks for 2013-14 are (1) increasing enrollment, (2) increasing retention and graduation rates, (3) increasing resources (i.e., fundraising), (4) strengthening communications, and (5) supporting diversity and inclusion. 

The goals of increasing enrollment and increasing the retention and graduation rates are inextricably linked, and they are part of SPSU’s Complete College Georgia plan.  The original 2012 plan is available on the University’s website, as is the 2013 update and report of progress (http://www.spsu.edu/planningassessment/Complete.htm).  A study of factors that influence student retention is currently being completed by the consulting firm Noel-Levitz, and I look forward to being able to incorporate those findings into our action plans in the coming year.  The University Institutional Effectiveness Council has been working to align SPSU’s Complete College Georgia plan with the existing strategic plan, and more information about this effort will be available soon.

An important aspect of increasing the resources we need to fulfill our mission is PolyDay, the comprehensive fundraising campaign that builds community support for the University.  We are celebrating PolyDay 2013 today (Monday, October 14), culminating in an event at The Globe at 6 p.m. this evening.  The website for PolyDay is http://www.spsu.edu/polyday/index.htm, and I very much look forward to announcing this year’s successes – especially with the Faculty/Staff Campaign that is part of this effort.

SPSU’s strategic plan includes the goal of strengthening community, and I am committed to ensuring that our community is both diverse and inclusive.  As I announced during Fall Kickoff, I have appointed a Task Force on Diversity & Inclusion.  I know that this group will be reaching out to involve many members of the University community as resources and for additional perspectives.  Information about the members of and the charge to the President’s Task Force on Diversity & Inclusion has been posted on the SPSU website at this URL:  http://www.spsu.edu/officeofpresident/presidentstaskforce/index.htm.

A University communications plan is being developed, and it will be shared with the University community as soon as a draft has been completed.  This plan will reflect the new organizational structure that brings together the people responsible for public relations, marketing, the website, and social media, to assure coordinated messaging about SPSU.  The plan will also benefit from a marketing study that is currently being conducted by Simpson Scarborough.

I want to emphasize that everyone in the University community has a role in helping with all of these goals for the coming year.  Whether your responsibility is teaching in the classroom or laboratory, maintaining the facilities, providing student support, raising money, managing the business processes, or supporting other operations of the University, your participation in helping SPSU fulfill its mission is critical.

Thanks for your role in helping SPSU focus on the Big Rocks this year!SPSU Big Rocks