Strategic Planning Underway, Trustees Told

Jun 07, 2019

President Geraldine M. Jones provided an update on the strategic planning process at the June 5 meeting of the Council of Trustees.


Noting that a strategic plan is “essential to the long-term growth and evolution of any University,” President Geraldine M. Jones provided an update on the strategic planning process at the June 5 meeting of the Council of Trustees.

Cal U’s current five-year strategic plan has been in place since 2015. To build on its success for 2020-2025, the President has formed a steering committee to integrate the recommendations and conclusions that emerged from workshops organized by Carnegie Dartlet and two campus climate surveys.

“I’m charging the Strategic Planning Steering Committee with developing a vision and setting actionable institutional goals and objectives for the University over the next five years,” said President Jones.

Those goals, she said, will address assessment and evaluation of Cal U’s academic offerings; developing approaches to meet enrollment goals; fostering a culture of open communication, engagement and inclusivity; and maximizing facility use through effective space utilization and program demand analyses.

Four working groups representing a variety of disciplines will develop strategies and tactics for achieving the goals. Once the committees’ work is integrated to create a draft strategic plan, the Deans/Provost Council, APSCUF Meet and Discuss, Staff and Leadership Council, Student Government, College Councils, and Faculty Senate will be asked to provide additional feedback, comments and revisions.

“The entire campus community will be actively involved as we work to guide Cal U to new levels of excellence,” President Jones said.

She expects to present a final strategic plan to the Council of Trustees in December.

Following her report, the President proposed a resolution of appreciation for former trustee Annette Ganassi, who concluded her term in April. Ganassi, a Somerset county businesswoman, held a seat on the panel from 1994-2000 and returned to the council in 2009. She had served as council chair for the past two years. 

The proposal passed unanimously. 

“Annette did a wonderful job,” said Jim Davis ’73, acting chair. “All of us admired her energy, commitment and efforts on behalf of the Trustees and California University.”  

In other business: 

Dr. Bruce Barnhart, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, introduced T. David Garcia, who joined the University in March as vice president for Enrollment Management. 

Garcia reported that Cal U expects to exceed its fall 2019 enrollment goal for first-year students. However, summer enrollment has slipped by 1.3%, compared to last year, and an overall 7% decrease in full-time equivalency (FTE) enrollment is anticipated this fall. 

Barnhart described academic programs in molecular biology and veterinary technology that are beginning this fall. He also reported that the University received $12.5 million in grants, contracts and in-kind-gifts in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. 

Robert Thorn, vice president for Administration and Finance, received approval for a revised five-year capital spending plan. It continues to prioritize construction of a new science building to replace Frich and New Science halls, but adds demolition of Azorsky Hall as the No. 2 priority. State funding would pay for both projects. 

Thorn also reported that renovations at Coover Hall and Lilley Field are nearly complete; both will be used this fall. 

Dr. Nancy Pinardi, vice president for Student Affairs, introduced Donna George, a Cal U employee and coordinator for the State System’s Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition. 

In existence since 2003, the coalition implements strategies to reduce dangerous drinking and drug abuse on all 14 System campuses. 

George explained that Cal U is the pilot location for using SBIRT – the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment program – with students who visit university health centers. The voluntary program, most commonly used in clinical settings, includes screenings and consultation regarding drug and alcohol use. 

The project is funded through a $175,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. 

“Cal U has been a pioneer in this program,” George said. “You should be very proud.” 

Christine Kindl, vice president for Communications and Marketing, highlighted her area’s production and reach during the past academic year. Among noteworthy statistics: 3,294 radio and 108 television spots aired, and digital ads garnered 42.2 million views. Some 240 news stories were posted on the Cal U website, and more than 3,000 unique stories about the University appeared in print. The website had 6.17 million pageviews, including 112,853 for the application page alone. The team completed more than 900 creative projects, including 20 feature videos. 

Tony Mauro, vice president for University Development and Alumni Relations, reported that his office has raised nearly $3.7 million in donations, which includes more than $2.1 million in cash donations, so far in fiscal year 2018-2019. Both of these totals are the second highest in the past seven years. 

The Trustees are scheduled to meet again Sept. 18.