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Strategic Plan

NEWS FROM HERALD DISPATCH

Friday, Nov. 18, 2005
Eric Fossell (efossell@herald-dispatch.com )

Vision planning under way

HUNTINGTON -- Recruiting new faculty means a lot to Marshall University student Ashley Miner, and Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp welcomes her input.

As he and fellow administrators map out a strategic vision for the university, Kopp requests input from anyone with suggestions to improve Marshall during the next seven years. That includes people not directly connected with the university, and using a Internet-based technology, it could also include alumni and friends of the university scattered across the country.

Kopp, who became president of the university in July, outlined his plans Thursday to develop a strategic vision for Marshall.

Participants may provide suggestions by visiting www.marshall.edu/strategic  on the Internet. The input stage, which began Thursday, continues through Dec. 19. The theme of the long-term strategic vision is "Aiming for Perfection: Our Bold Constellation for the Future."

"This is a bold concept," Kopp said Thursday during a news conference. "It harnesses technology and brings our communities -- our constituents -- to Marshall University to have a significant voice in our future."

Kopp said the timeline for the strategic vision includes finalizing and review stages from late December into latter January. It is scheduled to be presented at the Marshall Board of Governors meeting on Jan. 25 and to the Joint Educational Committee of the West Virginia Legislature on Jan. 31.

From February to April of next year, administrators will consider foremost goals for a one- to three-year action plan for the university. By April 24, the action plan will be implemented, including budget allocations during the specified time frame.

James Sottile, a professor in Marshall's School of Education and faculty representative on the Board of Governors, said salaries remain a top long-term priority for faculty.

"Our salaries are so low they're no longer competitive," he said. "Recruitment and retention of both students and faculty are important. ... We can't recruit faculty without good faculty, and the student population will decrease. They go hand-in-hand."

While Miner, a Teays Valley, W.Va., junior, said Marshall has many outstanding faculty, she agreed that faculty recruitment is a key issue on campus.

"I think we have a hard time getting new professors," she said. "It's hard to get into upper-level classes because of the lack of professors."

Amy Boslaugh, a Charleston junior, said she would like to see an increase in class offerings.

"Especially during the summer semesters for students who are trying to graduate in four years," she said. "It can be a real struggle."

Other student concerns include an increase in recreational and sports facilities, as well as additional parking. Kopp said such concerns will be considered.

"Students are our future," he said. "They have good ideas. We don't ask them enough what they think."

While students are closely associated with Marshall, their suggestions will not necessarily receive greater attention than input from others, according to Kopp.

"We want to be sure we know who the contributors are so we get the perspective," he said. "It isn't an issue of prioritizing things. On certain things that involve students directly, I think (the students are) going to be very influential."

Among other faculty concerns are professors' input into what the administration does, parking availability and physical growth of the campus, Sottile said.

Kopp emphasized that everyone's suggestions will be considered, whether they make them on campus or off. He also said the theme of "Aiming for Perfection" is not necessarily about being perfect.

"It is not a destination ... but committing ourselves to becoming better and better in all that we do each day."