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Comment 9: Thank You

Thank you Rick, Scott, Jerry and others who have taken the time to comment on the Strategic Planning Process! I find it refreshing to serve on a university board where we can have an open dialogue about the issues and opportunities we face going forward. We have so many positive things going for us at UIU and they are a President who has a passion for the universities customers both internal and external, a BOT's that are passionate about this university and are willing to make tough decisions (we are listening) and a faculty and staff that are the cornerstone of this university, just to name a few. Betty (my lovely wife) and I have held several discussions with students over the past year and the one common theme discussed is how much the faculty and staff cared about their well-being and education.

Betty and I have been involved in the planning process from the beginning and we have learned so much about our university because the students, faculty and staff were willing to share their thoughts and ideas. Keep in mind there is no strategic plan until one is finalized sometime in 2008. The comment period is exactly what it is named for and that is a comment period. With problems should come solutions? For example, there are universities that have hundreds of millions in their endowment but will probably not make it long term because they don't have a vision of how the landscape of learning will look like 5, 10 and 20 years from now. We all know it is changing but where will it go with regards to technology, housing and areas where our students will be working. I view the university as having two customers, one internal (faculty and staff) and the other external (students). As we develop this plan let's think about both customers and how they determine our future for this university. We targeted in on the $40 million price tag and not what's best for this university (Just My Humble Opinion). Its human nature to think about costs before we determine what we really need to accomplished. (I'll agree some of the dollars may have been a "Wish List" but it made us all think, ponder and comment). Put the dollars to the side until we determine what we want to accomplish. Let's focus in on these issues; 1) How do we bring more students to the Fayette Campus? 2) How do we bring more faculty and staff to the Fayette Campus? 3) How do we increase the enrollment at our centers, external degree and on-line programs? 4) How do we increase our scholarship program? 5) How do we add more Academic Programs to our curriculum? 6) How do we use technology to increase efficiency? 7) How do we find grant and foundation dollars to fund our projects? 8) How do we increase our endowment? Ladies and gentlemen these are just starters.

I applaud and ask you to keep debating and discussing the issues because we have a chance to provide the vision and outcome for UIU over the next 150 years. This is my university; this is your university so let's make a great institution even better.

Go Peacocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob Firth (rfirth@aplmc.com)

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