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Team meets to devise university five-year vision plan

On November 18, 2013

A group of Marshall University administrators, faculty and students met Monday to discuss the university vision statement. The Vision Statement Team, which is a strategic planning subcommittee, is working on developing a new vision statement for Marshall within the changing university environment.

Monday’s meeting was the second session of an ongoing initiative to plan for Marshall’s future.

Tracy Christofero, professor of technology management, said a vision statement is necessary for a university to move forward and succeed.

“We have to plan for the future, and we have to have a goal for where we want to go,” Christofero said. “A vision statement gives you a path to where you want to be…it may be lofty and unattainable but that gives us something to continually work toward.”

While most organizations create vision statements that cover about a five-year range, Marshall’s team is working to create a more sustainable statement that will extend beyond five years.

Participants were asked to discuss in groups keywords and concepts surrounding Marshall. Tradition, diversity, and positive, engaged learning were some common themes throughout these discussions. Innovation and research were also ideas that some participants thought were important to Marshall.

Maurice Cooley, program director of the Center for African-American Students, said the vision statement has to be something that people can understand and identify with.

“I think we have to find what types of things we hold closest to our hearts that will say who we are in 20 years,” Cooley said.

Jan Fox, senior vice president for information technology, said identifying what Marshall’s presence will be in the future is necessary.

“We have to find what we will be known for in 10 years…what will people think when they hear Marshall,” Fox said.

The students involved in the discussion were members of one of Christofero’s graduate classes, which focus on strategic planning and team building.

“This gives them the opportunity to practice their skills on something they know and love-Marshall,” Christofero said. “Plus, it allows them to work with faculty and administrators and give them their point of view.”

Meetings will continue until each of the four groups has developed a full vision statement. The four final vision statements will be presented to the university community for a vote. Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said it’s important that the statement chosen reflects the choice of all members of the Marshall community.

“The statement that is chosen will represent the future and direction of the university,” Kopp said. “It will show us what resonates with people and how they view Marshall.”

The Vision Statement Team will meet again Dec. 2.

Alison Wickline can be contacted at wickline19@live.marshall.edu.

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