December 13, 2007
The process of updating our strategic plan has continued to unfold through Campus Conversations, Shared Vision Surveys, focus groups and program reviews. At various levels, there is an on-going, rigorous and systematic review and assessment of institutional endeavors, directions and priorities going forward. A broad swath of the UPJ community has been engaged in formal and informal discussions about UPJ’s strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats - a comprehensive SCOT analysis if you will. As I synthesize the views, voices and values so generously shared with me over the past six months, I am filled with optimism about our future.
The emerging direction, as eminently articulated by so many, envisions a revitalized traditional liberal arts and sciences education that is, of necessity, professionally-complementary, socially-grounded, globally-focused, interdisciplinary, current and purposefully designed to ensure students – upon graduation – are ready for the real world of the 21st century. From the responses to the survey, as well as from discussions with faculty, staff, students, alums, advisory board members and beyond, it is clear that there is a great sense of pride in the past and hope for the future.
Several broad or general themes are emerging from the survey responses and subsequent discussions, constituting an umbrella beneath which many initiatives may crystallize going forward. To further explore various issues and concerns identified in survey responses and discussions with various members of our community, work teams or task forces have been created to do some of the leg work as a prelude to more extensive campus consultations, planning meetings in Spring, 2008. In addition to naming individuals selected for their cross-functional expertise and /or interest in particular areas, I have asked the President of the Faculty Senate, the President of the Student Senate, and the President of the Staff Activities and Concerns Association to recommend representatives to these task forces. In addition, since these work teams can always use more help, anyone who is willing to fully participate in advancing the work of these task forces is strongly encouraged and welcomed to submit their names for consideration to the individuals named above (i.e President of the Senate etc) to fill a few open slots in each task force.
The following task forces or work teams are currently underway:
UPJ Enrollment Management and First Year Experience Task Force: Led by the Senior Assistant to the President for Enrollment Management, Dr. James Gyure, this cross-functional work team will review recruiting and student success/engagement initiatives; conduct a peer/competitor analysis; propose a comprehensive enrollment plan (including a related assessment plan); and make recommendations regarding our means of achieving the totality of our enrollment goals. Other members who have agreed to serve include: Ms. Marilyn Alberter, Registrar; Mr. Kelly Austin, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs; Dr. Nina Girard, Associate Professor of Mathematics Educaion; Dr. Jon Gonder, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Ms. Jeanine Lawn, Director, Student Financial Aid; Ms. Amy Miller, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology; Ms. Kimberly Miller, Director of Marketing; Dr. Jerry Samples, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Mr. Jeffrey Sernell, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology; Ms. Janet Valine, Manager, Business Office; Ms. Susan Wieczorek, Instructor of Communications; Ms. Sharon Wilson, Secretary, Social Sciences Division and yet to be designated representatives from the Faculty Senate as well as the Staff Activities and Concerns Association.
UPJ Facilities, Infrastructure and Technology Task Force: Led by Vice President for Finance and Administration, Mr. Jeffrey Lavine, this cross-functional group will review, assess our current situation relative to facilities, infrastructure technology and related areas; conduct a rigorous SCOT analysis relative to peers and draft a comprehensive report for actions required to achieve a first class living and learning environment. Other members of the task force are: Ms. Marilyn Alberter, Registrar; Mr. Kelly Austin, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs; Ms. Nicole Babik, Assistant Athletic Director; Ms. Neelima Bhatnagar, Assistant Professor for Management; Mr. Robert Blaschak, Director of Construction and Planning; Mr. Jeffrey Burtner, Vice President of the Student Government Association; Dr. Anthony Capon, Associate Professor of Sociology; Mr. Andrew Csikos, Director of Maintenance & Operations; Ms. Helen Golubic, Director of Development; Dr. Janet Grady, Associate Professor of Nursing; Dr. Stephen Kilpatrick, Associate Professor of Biology; Mr. Robert Knipple, Director of Alumni & Community Relations; Ms. Angela Mazur, President of the Student Government Association; Mr. Patrick Pecora, UPJ Wrestling Coach; Ms. Joyce Radovanic, Assistant to the President; Ms. Pamela Sabol, Director of Human Resources; Dr. Jerry Samples, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Mr. Jeffrey Sernell, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology; Mr. Christian Stumpf, Assistant Vice President for Auxiliaries & Director of the Conference Center; Mr. Ronald Vickroy, Associate Professor of Management; Mr. Jon Wescott, Director of Housing & Residence Life and yet to be designated representatives from the Faculty Senate and the Staff Activities and Concerns Association.
UPJ Global Education Task Force: Led by Dr. Reinhard Heinisch, Professor of Political Science, and Mr. Douglas Reed, Assistant Professor of Management, this work team will undertake a study and assessment of global or international education and make recommendations on the following areas: (1) a strategic plan for internationalization; (2) study abroad and related international exchanges; (3) international student enrollment and engagement; (4) foreign languages and culture; (5) global learning outcomes; (6) international courses in the curriculum, including related interdisciplinary courses (7) international faculty development activities in teaching, scholarship/research and scholarly exchanges; (8) international partnerships and various forms of inter-institutional collaboration; (9) rigorous assessment processes. Other faculty and staff who have agreed to serve include: Ms. Neelmina Bhatnagar, Assistant Professor of Management; Dr. Dolores Buttry, Assistant Professor of German; Dr. Elena Constantin, Assistant Professor of Mathematics; Dr. Monica Frolander-Ulf, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Dr. Seung Hyun Im; Assistant Professor of Computer Science; Dr. Ola Johansson, Assistant Professor of Geography; Dr. Thomas McGahagan, Associate Professor for Economics; Dr. Barbara Petrosky, Assistant Professor for French; Dr. Andrew Rose, Associate Professor for Civil Engineering Technology; Ms. Anita Thompson, Instructor of Mathematics; Dr. Frances Zauhar, Chair of Humanities Division and yet to be designated representatives from the Faculty Senate as well as the Staff Activities and Concerns Association.
UPJ Inclusive Community Task Force: Led by Dr. Jon Darling, Professor of Sociology, Dr. Mark Previte, Assistant Professor of Education and Ms. Josette Dau, Coordinator of Judicial Affairs & Leadership Development, this work team is expected to conduct a comprehensive review of issues related to inclusivity, draft a comprehensive plan, including an assessment plan and make recommendations for further actions required to achieve our vision of a more inclusive internal environment, as we hire faculty and staff and recruit students including historically underrepresented persons and international students. Overall this group shall explore and make recommendations on ways to enhance the intercultural climate, foster understanding of other peoples and culture and enrich community life and learning. Other community members who have agreed to serve on this work team include: Dr. Jon Gonder, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Mr. Bobak Karimi, Student Representative; Dr. David Magill, Assistant Professor of English Literature; Dr. Patty Michael, Assistant Professor for Communication; Ms. Andrea Sadvari, Secretary, Natural Sciences Division; Mr. Abba Shettima, President of the Black Action Society; Mr. Jeffrey Webb, Associate Professor of Music; Dr. Veronica Wilson, Assistant Professor of History and yet to be designated representatives from the Faculty Senate as well as the Staff Activities and Concerns Association.
UPJ Student-Friendly Culture of Service Task Force: Led by Co-Chairs Ms. Jeannine Lawn, Director of Financial Aid and Mr. Kelly Austin, Associate Vice president for Student Affairs, this work team will review and assess our current situation relative to student services, conduct a peer/competitor analysis, draft a comprehensive plan for assessing services at UPJ and make recommendations for further actions required to achieve a more student-friendly, welcoming and service-oriented environment. The following have agreed to serve on this work group: Ms. Susanne Bodenschatz, Administrative Assistant for Admissions; Mr. Christopher Caputo, Sports Information Director; Mr. Mark Dougherty, Associate Director for Housing & Residence Life; Mr. Robert Eckenrod, Director of User Services; Ms. Katherine Kinsinger, Academic Support Coordinator; Mr. Robert Knipple, Director of Alumni & Community Relations; Ms. Andrea Leibfreid, Secretary, Social Sciences Division; Ms. Joyce Radovanic, Assistant to the President; Mr. Christian Stumpf, Assistant Vice President for Auxiliaries & Director of the Conference Center; Mr. Bryan Valentine, Director of Student Engagement & Union Operations; Ms. Janet Valine, Manager, Business Office; Ms. Donna Vickroy, Enrollment Services Specialist; Mr. Joseph Wilson, Instructor of Mathematics; Ms. Loretta Zerby, Financial Aid Specialist and yet to be designated representatives from the Faculty Senate as well as the Staff Activities and Concerns Association.
These task forces shall provide the background material that facilitates more productive campus discussions later in Spring, 2008 as we enter the third stage of the strategic review and planning update. To ensure greater inclusivity and collaboration, all recommendations will be presented and discussed with key governance bodies, including the Johnstown Budget and Planning Committee (JPBC), the Faculty Senate Council, the Academic Council, the Student Senate, the Staff Activities and Concerns Association, the Student Affairs Council, the President’s Cabinet and the Advisory Board.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all who have agreed to serve the University so selflessly on these many work groups. For their part, Task Force members are expected to actively consult members of the campus community as they proceed with their reviews and deliberations. I am confident that our progress toward our exciting shared vision will be greatly facilitated by the commitment of diverse faculty, staff and students to making these task forces successful.