SHU kicks off strategic planning process with town hall

Keeling and Associates, a higher education consulting firm, is currently spearheading the University’s strategic planning process, which will aim to facilitate a thorough, iterative information-gathering process whereby leading to an “overarching institutional direction,” according to the firm’s mission statement.

According to Dr. Alyssa McCloud, senior vice president of Enrollment Management and a co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), the process will allow opportunities for constituents across the University to engage in discussions about the school’s future.

Kiera Alexander/Photography Editor

The information-gathering meeting “serve to gain insight and input from students, faculty, the priest community, staff members and more,” McCloud said. “This will inform and guide the strategic plan which will serve as a road map for the University’s strategic initiatives in the next 3-5 years. The strategic planning process will conclude in May at which point the University will move to the implementation phase.”

The SPC and several working groups, which includes students, faculty and administrators will direct the planning process with consultation and assistance from K&A, according to the firm’s official strategic planning layout provided at an open forum.

The firm hosted an open Town Hall on Oct. 28 in the Main Lounge, where firm representatives Director of Research and Consultant Jennifer Dickson and Vice President Alex Vasquez discussed the project’s goals. Specifically, Dixon reviewed the project’s timeline and Vasquez led an open discussion with attendees, which included administrators, clergy, students among other representatives of the university.

Vasquez prompted discussion at the forum by posing questions such as what qualities are most distinctive to Seton Hall and what do you hope will be true about Seton Hall in five years that is not true today.

When asked about Seton Hall’s distinctive qualities, attendees claimed attributes such as the school’s Catholic identity, prolific basketball reputation and its liberal arts tradition represent the community’s unique qualities.

The discussion considered the University’s unique challenges and areas where the school requires improvement. Attendees discussed the lack of hiring new associate professors across disciplines, the unforeseen toll of opening a new medical school and the rapid expansion of schools within the University, among many other topics.

One of the attendees and a student member of the SPC, sophomore diplomacy and international relations major Stefan Ferreira, at the Town Hall, commented on the school’s concentrated focus on the well-being of students.

According to Ferreira, the Student Government Association is working with Keeling and Associates along with other students to provide important perspectives and contributions to the long-term strategic planning of the University.

“It is with great privilege that I will actively work with students to determine how to inclusively represent student ideas in the strategic planning process,” Ferreira said. “Specifically, I plan on working directly with students to address topics including: campus culture, affordability, identity and academic life.”

Furthermore, Ferreira said that over the next year and a half, K&A will conduct numerous visits to the Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS), Seton Hall Law School and main campuses.

Additionally, the firm hosted another forum in the Bishop Dougherty University Center on Oct. 30, where the group continued its engagement and information-gathering process.

According to the firm’s timeline, in November, the firm will host additional small group and individual interviews with community members. Additionally, the firm and the committee members will continue the ongoing data and information analysis and continue theme development for the strategic plan. After the planning process concludes in May, the timeline dictates that the plan will potentially be approved by the Board of Regents during June and July 2020. Moreover, according to the timeline, both the strategic plan and the implementation plan ought to be completed in August 2020.

In addition, to the multiple campus-wide meetings scheduled throughout the semester, in mid-November, K&A will send a survey seeking feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, etc., according to McCloud.

McCloud said she encourages everyone to complete the survey and assist in crafting Seton Hall’s strategic direction for the coming years.

McCloud said, “I am very excited about this process and honored to serve Seton Hall, along with Dr. Andrew Simon as a co-chair of this very important process.”

Thomas Schwartz can be reached at thomas.schwartz@student.shu.edu.

Author: Thomas Schwartz

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