Frostburg State Launches Strategic Planning Task Force

On Friday, October 14, Frostburg State University (FSU) President Dr. Ronald Nowaczyk officially announced the membership of the special campus-wide task force that will be spearheading the institution’s strategic planning process.

The goal of the process is to develop a new FSU strategic plan in time to be reviewed by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents during their June 2017 visit to Frostburg. This new plan is expected to include updated statements about the mission of the University and the vision for its future through the school’s 125th anniversary in 2023.

According to an administrative email sent out to the Frostburg campus, the task force will have over 50 members and is comprised of FSU faculty, staff, administrators, and a student representative. The task force will be co-chaired by Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Bowling, biology professor Karen Keller, and political science professor Stephen Simpson.

In addition to his current role, Bowling previously served as interim FSU president during the 2015-2016 academic year. Simpson also has extensive administrative experience, having served as Frostburg’s provost for 12 years and as interim president during the transition between the administrations of former presidents Catherine Gira and Jonathan Gibralter.

Simpson said he was “honored” to be asked to serve as co-chair of the task force, and described the mission of the group to The Bottom Line, stating, “The intent is to develop a plan that, in [President Nowaczyk’s] words, ‘is inspirational, provides direction, and, most important, is actionable.’” Simpson added that the process “will reflect input from throughout the university community.”

Bowling also commented to The Bottom Line about the strategic planning process, saying, “The model that our consultant, Dr. Pat Shangahan, has outlined for us is an elegant way to get individuals who care about the future of Frostburg to contribute their thoughts about our priorities, and how we can respond most effectively to the changing needs of our students and to the new landscape of higher education.”

Prior to the formal formation of the task force, Shangahan, the planning consultant assisting the task force throughout the process, visited campus on Friday, September 30. During his visit, Shangahan toured the campus and held three separate hour-long informational sessions in the Lane University Center about the strategic planning process.

The first official meeting of the FSU strategic planning task force was in the form of a two-day workshop held on campus on Monday, October 17, and Tuesday, October 18. Shangahan returned to campus to facilitate the workshop, which educated members of the group about the ongoing planning process.

Frostburg State senior Nicholas DeMichele, current president of the FSU Student Government Association, is the sole student representative on the strategic planning task force. Prior to the two-day workshop, DeMichele told The Bottom Line, “I am looking forward to the upcoming strategic planning sessions. After reviewing both the task force’s membership and agenda, I am quite optimistic about what we will accomplish.”

He added his belief that, “student inclusion in these types of university committees are essential, as students are, by and large, the main stakeholders in institutional success and direction.”

Per emails from Dr. Nowaczyk to the campus, the university will soon be launching an online web link where all members of the Frostburg State community can stay updated on the strategic planning process progress.

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