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Students, faculty, administration and staff can provide their input on the university’s future at the Strategic Visioning Summit Oct. 28.
The Indiana University of Pennsylvania Strategic Visioning Team has been conducting interviews of campus groups since February and will present a draft of what they found at the day-long summit from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“The event will present the strategic draft to members of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania community in order for corrections to be made accordingly,” said Michele Papakie, the president’s associate for strategic visioning and chairwoman of the journalism department.
The draft is a representation of core themes from research conducted by Papakie’s presentation making class in spring 2013.
Papakie hired 11 of the 30 students to continue the work through the summer.
Those students conducted both group and individual interviews on campus and in the community.
While they had specific questions for each group, some general questions asked included, “What do you think IUP should celebrate at its sesquicentennial in 2025?” and “What makes IUP distinct?”
They would also ask for an analysis of IUP’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
After interviewing more than 400 people, the information gathered was put into Nvivo, a qualitative software. The software found several recurring topics, Papakie said. Those themes currently shape the strategic draft.
At the summit, keynote speaker and University of Richmond chancellor Dr. Richard Morrill will advise summit attendees on how to develop a strategic plan.
Attendees will be able to place themselves into themed groups for discussion on a particular topic that will further develop IUP’s strategic vision, Papakie said.
Some themed breakout groups include building communities, engaging alumni and keeping excellent education affordable.
“We hope to present the research and have it either validated or debated,” Papakie said. “From there, we can finalize the strategic vision statement.”
Input from the entire IUP community is important, President Michael Driscoll said.
“As president, I get asked about the future of the school and the vision of the school,” Driscoll said, “and including everyone in the conversation allows for us to develop a shared understanding of the future.”
Both Papakie and Driscoll said that it is important for IUP to define itself with a strategic plan.
“Competition is intense because we have a shrinking pool of traditional students in Pennsylvania,” Papakie said. “There is a large number of schools in this state.”
There are a reported 135 four-year colleges and universities in Pennsylvania according to the college search feature on Collegeboard.org.
The number rises to 231 schools when 2-year and community colleges are added.
“We need to communicate what makes us ‘us,’” Papakie said.
Through the strategic vision, the IUP community decides where it wants to be in the future and it will be used to guide the step-by-step plan of how we get there, Driscoll explained.
“As the world of higher education changes, we will be able to use this as a mile post,” Driscoll said. “Without it, we have a real danger of drifting.”
This picture created by the attendees will define IUP’s image, help with fundraising, change the narrative we use when recruiting students and weigh in on the reaffirmation of accreditation, according to Driscoll.
After the summit is over, the new information will be used to redraft the strategic vision statement.
It will then be presented to both the Council of Trustees and the University Senate in December for endorsement, Driscoll said.
“I just hope we have a great participation from students, faculty and staff,” Driscoll said. “So sign up early, sign up now.”
To sign up or view the detailed schedule that includes the full list of themed discussion groups, a link can be found on the IUP home webpage in the News and Events box.