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Mearns to Lay Out 5-Year Startegic Plan for NKU

Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mearns will deliver his January Convocation Address on Friday, Jan. 10, at 9 a.m., in the Votruba Student Union Ballroom.

Mearns will present for the first time publicly the details of the 2013-18 NKU Strategic Plan, which includes a new mission statement, vision, and set of core values. It was approved by the NKU Board of Regents in November and will guide the university through its 50th anniversary in 2018.

“This plan, which was created by the entire university community, will build upon our existing strengths, while promoting further innovation and creativity,” Mearns said. “But a plan is only as good as its implementation. It is the combination of planning and execution that will define our impact – and distinguish our university.”

Mearns will also introduce Sue Ott Rowlands, NKU’s new vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Her leadership and experience will be critical to the implementation of the strategic plan,” he said.

The plan, titled “Fuel the Flame,” focuses on student success both in the classroom and beyond graduation. This focus on student success is illustrated in the revised mission statement: “As a public comprehensive university located in a major metropolitan area, Northern Kentucky University delivers innovative, student-centered education and engages in impactful scholarly and creative endeavors, all of which empower our graduates to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, while contributing to the economic, civic, and social vitality of the region.”

The plan is the result of a year-long process that included open forums with faculty and students; a comprehensive campus survey completed by nearly 1,000 faculty and nearly 2,000 students; 20 meetings with external constituents to discuss regional needs; a stakeholder conference with more than 100 internal and external participants; and a website and online forum to facilitate a public dialogue about NKU’s future.

The plan also lays out five overarching goals for the university over the next five years:

  • Student Success: Provide a supportive, student-centered educational environment that promotes academic success, global awareness and timely graduation.
  • Talent Development: Increase educational attainment levels of the region by serving more students, producing superior graduates and promoting lifelong learning.
  • Academic Innovation: Advance academic programs that are innovative, distinctive, experiential, and transdisciplinary.
  • Community Engagement: Engage with community partners to catalyze regional growth and vitality.
  • Institutional Excellence: Strengthen the capacity of the university to fulfill its mission and achieve its vision.

“As we embark on implementing this plan, I draw strength from reflecting on the women and men who founded our university,” Mearns said. “They inspire us to believe that, with ambition, planning and hard work, great things are possible. Only 45 years ago, these women and men had the audacity to embrace a bold dream. They believed they could transform farmland into a modern, comprehensive university. Today, their ambitious dream has come true. I believe we have an obligation to honor their legacies with a sustained commitment to achieve the bold aspirations articulated in this plan.”

The January Convocation Address will be preceded by a continental breakfast at 8:15 a.m. in the Student Union lobby.

From Northern Kentucky University