Brandon Chase – Managing Editor
President Michael Alexander unveiled the college’s new strategic plan, “Vision 2017,” in October 2011 and many of its goals have been achieved or are on their way to being accomplished.
In the academic section of the plan, the inception of a summer course program in 2012 proved to be successful. The college plans to triple the course offering for the 2013 summer semester. The graduate program will also continue to expand. Athletic Training and Hospitality and Event Management master’s degrees are scheduled to be presented to the state for approval next semester.
President Alexander said Hospitality and Event Management has been tentatively identified as the college’s next signature program. Alexander cites developing interest in the major and accelerated job growth in the field as reasons for the prediction.
“The U.S. Department of Labor has put out projections saying the job growth in that area over the next five years is going to be about 30 percent. That’s five to ten times higher than other categories,” said Alexander.
Usage of Moodle by faculty will continue to be increased, as 100 percent of classes will be required to use the program for attendance, assignments, and grades by Fall 2013 according to “Vision 2017.”
The first-year retention has also improved due to points in the plan that called for the hiring of full-time academic advisors specifically for first-years. First-year retention is up eight percent from Fall 2011 to 72 percent. The five-year goal is to consistently keep first-year retention at least 75 percent.
The college also plans to make improvements to Woodland Hall, renovating its bathrooms during the next two summers.
Alexander said donors are being searched for to begin funding the construction of a new athletic center. That effort has just begun this semester. “It’s going to take a lot of time,” said Alexander, because the college will need 1-3 lead donors and at least $5-15 million to start the project.
A year after being unveiled, Alexander said “we’ve got a good head start,” in accomplishing the goals of “Vision 2017.”