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President Crawford offers ASUPS a glimpse of Puget Sound’s future

President Crawford addresses ASUPS Senate — Photo credit to Emma Jones

On Sept. 20, 2018, University of Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford attended the weekly meeting of the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS) and presented the updated progression of the Strategic Plan.

Set to present the completed Strategic Plan to the Board of Trustees this October, President Crawford has been making his way around campus, meeting with faculty, staff, students and community members to present the updated version of the plan.

So what is this Strategic Plan? Simply put, it’s the vision of what the University of Puget Sound will become over the next 10 years (2018-2028). Creating the plan involved the participation of over 150 people in some capacity and required a 13-month process that launched in September 2017 and is wrapping up this upcoming October.

To assist with the development of the plan, the university created a Strategic Planning Steering Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and parents. The committee helped focus the vision for the University’s future by breaking into groups to determine initiatives they would like to see the school take on.

The strategic plan is summarized into five goals. The first is “Advance Institutional Excellence, Academic Distinction and Student Success,” involving the intention to grow total enrollment back to 2,800 students through increasing visibility and the general reputation of Puget Sound, a “hidden jewel” in the Northwest.

The second goal is to “Enrich the Learning Environment Through Increased Diversity, Inclusion and Access.” “Essentially we want to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, that you can bring your full and unfettered self here and focus your energies on your education and your social development and you don’t have to deal with pressure,” Crawford said.

Special attention was drawn to the “Legacy Project,” a concept involving curricular and co-curricular activities that would allow us to examine our campus community, regions and the world and educate each other on issues of diversity, benefitting campus as a whole.

The third goal’s focus is “Support and Inspire Our Faculty and Staff” by recognizing their needs more completely and providing them with more resources. As President Crawford put it, “they are our people, our most precious resource.”

The fourth goal aims to “Enhance Engagement with the Community and Promote Environmental Sustainability.” In discussing this goal, President Crawford emphasized increasing alumni engagement, especially on the potential contributions that the network of more than 40,000 past students can offer. As the saying goes, once a Logger, always a Logger.

The fifth and final goal of the strategic plan is for the University to “Pursue Entrepreneurial and Other Opportunities to Fully Leverage and Expand Our Assets as an Institution.” The University will continue to pursue opportunities that will improve the value of a Puget Sound education and enable the university to better respond to our ever-changing society.

President Crawford was candid about where he saw needs for improvement, and honest about challenges that the University faces. He highlighted the importance of increasing the student population back to 2,800 students, the need to improve retention rates (80 percent retention with the Class of 2021, usually at 85 percent), how our campus demography should reflect better the increasing diversity in America and how we as a small liberal arts college must work to stand out among larger institutions.

Upon concluding his presentation, Crawford turned the floor over to ASUPS with the opportunity to both ask questions and provide feedback on the Strategic Plan, as he is seeking ASUPS’ support moving forward.

ASUPS President Collin Noble commented on ASUPS’ reaction to the presentation: “While the Senate intimated affirmation with most of the strategic plan, the body would want to view the documents before providing a formal or ‘binding’ affirmation ­— a decision I agree with. In general, I believe the Strategic Plan will meet the needs of current and prospective students so long as it is implemented well and with campus-wide collaboration.”

ASUPS senator at large and senior at the University of Puget Sound Kelly Johnson commented on the amount of effort that has gone into the Strategic Plan, as well as encouraged students to make their voices heard. “I’m excited to see how the goals of the Strategic Plan come to fruition! I still encourage students and members of the community to give their feedback to President Crawford at his office hours or by email on ways they would like to see the community continue to grow and develop so the Strategic Plan can continue to represent student interest.”

Questions or feedback about the Strategic Plan are encouraged to be sent to strategicplan@pugetsound.edu, and additional information about the Strategic Plan can be found at pugetsound.edu/about/strategic-planning.

 

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