Since October, teams of Marshall University students, faculty and staff have been diligently working to develop the university’s latest strategic plan. The intensive discussions were sparked following a summit that identified Marshall’s key challenges as it faces dwindling state funding for public higher education.
During the Oct. 11 summit, known as the 20/20 retreat, one of the first priorities was to create a new “shared vision statement,” which will help set the stage for Marshall’s overall goal as a university, said President Stephen J. Kopp. Summit participants set a deadline of Jan. 10 to develop a draft vision statement.
“A vision statement should be both inspirational and aspirational, and serve to motivate all stakeholders,” Kopp said. “It should declare the august ambitions of an organization and answer the question, ‘What do we seek to become?’ It should be clear, memorable, and concise as it will serve as the guide for present and future university priorities and actions.”
As a result of the 20/20 retreat, an action plan was developed and participants were asked to choose two of eight action items to work on. Kopp co-chaired the 21-member Shared Vision Statement team with Dr. Tracy Christofero, professor of technology management. Those who chose working on the vision statement team as their first choice became the MUV (Marshall University Vision) team. The participants were organized into three teams. Each team included faculty, staff, senior staff, and two students enrolled in a strategic planning graduate course.
Christofero said each team was asked to identify aspirational and inspirational keywords for the university. They reviewed vision statements of businesses and other institutions of higher education to determine what they liked and disliked in a vision statement, she said.
“Our teams additionally worked on developing a cover story about what they wanted for the university. They used what they learned through these processes to develop a vision statement for the university that can be spoken in one breath,” Christofero said.
In addition to the three six-person teams, Kopp, MU Foundation CEO Dr. Ron Area, and Christofero developed a statement. Now that each of the teams has prepared a statement, they are asking campus and community members as well as alumni and friends across the globe to identify from among the four statements, the one that will best serve Marshall University as its inspirational, aspirational (bold, audacious), clear, memorable, and concise vision for the future.
The proposed statements, in no particular order, are:
- We are the most student-focused university in our region, united in realizing our students’ potential through learning and service.
- Marshall University . . . where you want to be.
- The vision of Marshall University is to inspire learning and creativity that ignites the mind, nurtures the spirit and fulfills the promise of a better future.
- Marshall University’s vision: Every student succeeds.
Anyone may vote on the four choices by visiting Marshall’s strategic planning website, http://www.marshall.edu/2020/2020-vision-statement-selection/. Voting will continue through Jan. 10.
Marshall’s existing vision statement is:
“Marshall University, an exemplar of excellence in teaching and learning, will continue to place its highest priority on providing outstanding undergraduate and graduate education, resulting in national recognition in academics and in scholarly, artistic, and creative achievement. Marshall’s students will graduate well prepared for the responsibilities of life within a culturally diverse and globally interdependent society. Marshall will address the changing needs of the state and region and will return to the community and state an outstanding value for the resources invested in the university.”
Once a new statement is selected, it will be brought before the Marshall University Board of Governors for official adoption in 2014.
In addition to the MU Vision Team, the strategic planning retreat created seven other “action teams” that are addressing topics ranging from the university budget and service quality to academic offerings and communications. More information about the process is available at http://www.marshall.edu/2020/.