Fall Convocation Address Hints at Future Developments

“One University, A World of Experiences.” That’s the new Bobcat motto that came during the 2013-2014 school year at Frostburg State University, and while the new signs all over campus preach FSU’s new branding, President Jonathan Gibralter cleared up the long-term and short-term goals in his Fall 2014 Convocation Address.

Before Gibralter painted his vision of the future of FSU, he congratulated the work that has been done to make FSU what it is today in 2014. Seventeen FSU faculty members received promotions to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor.

Gibralter articulated the changes he sees in FSU’s future by highlighting how new developments work hand in hand with FSU’s strategies, stating, “We’ve come a long way in 8 years, and together we’re on track to go even further. I want to thank everyone in this room (and everyone too busy to be here today) for all of their hard work. Everything we’ve set out to achieve has been aimed at meeting our six strategic goals—goals we continue to review and refine.”

The first strategic goal is, “Develop and support academic programs and student services that prepare a changing student population for an era of complexity and globalization.” Gibralter expressed plans for a new College of Health Sciences, stating, “FSU will continue to expand in a need-driven, responsible manner. Our region needs quality healthcare providers, and we are uniquely suited to educate them in a community that stands ready to hire them when they graduate.

The second strategic goal is one that is very easy to see accomplished due to the opening of the state-of-the-art Center for Communications and Information Technology. The goal states that FSU is to, “enhance facilities and the campus environment in order to support and reinforce student learning.” Gibralter also spoke about the new changes in dining at FSU that came with the new dining service, Chartwells. Plans for new buildings and projects, such as a new Public Safety Building, were discussed briefly, and Gibralter expressed his interest in creating the safest campus possible.

Some of the most important news in this category, however, was the announcement of a new planned building. Gibralter stated, “We’re fortunate that for the first time ever, in support of that goal, our Education and Health Sciences Center has found a place in the governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019.” Although that is five years in the future, this signifies an important change in FSU’s campus, as the new center will allow for the development of new majors. This new center will also replace the Brady Health Center.

The third strategic goal of FSU is, “Increase student quality and institutional retention and graduation rates while encouraging baccalaureate students to persist to graduation.” Gibralter listed numerous percentages that indicate growth in both retention and enrollment, best summarizing in the statement, “This semester, we have the largest total headcount enrollment in the history of our institution, with 5,645 students, an increase of 3.1% from last fall.”

Gibralter also noted a new development with the Academic Success Network, which, in its implementation, will take advantage of reallocation of resources after the opening of the CCIT. Gibralter stated, “Structured under the Office of the Provost, the Academic Success Network will bring together the efforts of Programs for Advancing Student Success, TRiO Student Support Services, Disability Support Services, programs managed by the Assistant Provost for Student Services and Retention, and the new Center for Academic Advising and Retention.” These services will now be located in Pullen Hall.

Gibralter noted FSU’s upcoming Middle States evaluations, stating, “Our collective participation in Middle States helps serve our fifth strategic goal, which is to promote activities that demonstrate the University’s educational distinction.” While this goal isn’t as active or flashy as others, it is extremely important, as noted by Gibralter in his statement, [Middle States accreditation] is a crucial step to ensure our efforts instructing our students are producing the outcomes those students deserve”

As Gibralter concluded the convocation, awarding three 2014 Staff Awards for Excellence, he joked about how he will be remembered as the man who brought Starbuck’s back to FSU. Still, when he handed out the awards, recognizing the unsung heroes of campus, the vibrations of thankfulness and hope were clear, calling back a statement made in his introduction, “Thanks to your hard work, FSU has changed in many ways. And I have to say, I like what I see.”

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