The future of Augusta University is currently being decided upon, where many organizations and committees working hard to ensure it survives. Now, students have an opportunity to help improve it.
As of right now, the university is currently working on the Strategic Planning Project, a project trying to improve certain aspects of the university on both school campuses. The plan is currently being put under review, so students and faculty were encouraged to come to the town hall meetings that were held on Mar. 23 and Mar. 24. The meetings were livestreamed for those that could not attend.
In the timeline of the project, the first stage is the preparation of the Strategic Planning Project, which was made in the fall semester of 2016. The current stage is where students and faculty are being aware and engaging in the project. The final stage is where the project is finalized.
For the Strategic Planning Project, there are four focus areas in the project: education, research, clinical and outreach. Each focus area was placed under review during the two town hall meetings on campus.
Focus Area: Education
The Strategic Planning Committee’s goal on education is to prepare the student body to contribute to the communities they will serve after college. They plan to do this by trying to foster an environment that encourages preparation, reforming the curriculum, improving the academic reputation of the university, and recruiting more educators.
Focus Area: Research
Their main priority of the Committee on research is to advance knowledge that addresses the needs of communities that Augusta University serves. The ways they plan on doing it is by enhancing fundable research, create targeted education, change the research infrastructure to improve the process of research, and align Augusta University priorities to enhance retention. Many deemed this an appropriate and excellent approach, though some have stated that these definitions remain vague and indistinct.
Focus Areas: Clinical and Outreach
For those who work on the Health Science Campus, clinical care will have a focus on providing patient and family care that is exceptional across the board. They plan on doing this by focusing on the quality and safety of health care; encouraging performance excellence; enforcing inter-professional collaboration; enhancing cyber security; and delivering high quality patient care.
In outreach and economic development, the areas focuses on helping others through social, cultural, professional and economic development. Those in charge plan on doing this by gaining more partnerships, collaborate with local communities on certain projects, and increasing economic disciplines within the university.
However, each of these strategies will abide to a set of guiding principles placed by Augusta University. The principles stipulate that these strategies must be the following: based upon our values; participatory; built on past successes, planning efforts, and current initiatives; ready for implementation; open and transparent; strategic and forward looking; streamlined process; focused and realistic; communicable; and must have measurable anticipated outcomes.
Originally operating under the Transition Forward strategic plan, which was originally created in 2013, Augusta University hopes to take new steps by shedding the old plan in which had come to the end of its intended purpose. Preparation for a new strategic plan started as early as May of last year. Now, they are intending to finalize the plan in Fall 2017.
Not starting from scratch, the committee plans to build upon the planning work of the past three years from the old strategic plan. The plans include the Education Mission Plan, the Research Mission Plan, college strategic plans and support unit strategic plans. By utilizing these new plans on the horizon, the university hopes to reach the vision of becoming a top-tier university.
The feedback will most likely be taken into consideration, but there is no guarantee. While the university would most likely not try to waste time and resources by doing things like the town meetings and producing online surveys, there is still some doubt. When the university had to change the name from Georgia Regents University to Augusta University, they consulted students on what the new name should be until they decided to do it themselves.
It is up to the faculty to decide whether or not it uses the feedback.
There are also other opportunities to give feedback at various locations on Apr. 18-20. Students and faculty are encouraged to take the online survey provided by the university or to leave feedback on the goals for on http://www.augusta.edu/about/planning/2017_strategic_planning_process.php.
Editorial Staff: Austin Wright, Jamie Sapp, and Skyler Mitchell
Published on March 30, 2017 in Volume 59, Issue 4 of The Bell Ringer newspaper.