President Glassman announces vitalization chairs

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

Eastern President David Glassman announced the chairs of Vitalization project workgroups and charged the groups with what they will be focusing on in the coming semesters.

The first meeting for the whole Vitalization project task force, which consists of the vice presidents and all members of the nine workgroups, was held Thursday.

Glassman did not give the days and times the workgroup committees would be meeting as the groups had not met to decide this information yet.

However, he said they will be open, and it will be up to the workgroups to decide when they will meet.

Glassman said a complete list of who is on the task force would be available Thursday or Friday on the Vitalization project’s webpage.

The chair of workgroup one will be Rick Roberts, chair of the Counseling and Student Development department; workgroup two’s chair will be Ryan Gibson, webmaster and director of the web and mobile application division on campus; workgroup three’s chair is Jody Stone, senior associate director of Housing and Dining; workgroup four’s chair will be Tami Babbs, the assistant comptroller; workgroup five’s chair will be Steven Daniels, the physics department chair; workgroup six’s chair will be marketing professor Richard Flight; workgroup seven’s chair will be Cindy Rich, a secondary education instructor; workgroup eight’s chair will be psychology professor Jeff Stowell; and political science professor Melinda Mueller will be the chair of workgroup nine.

The chair of the overall task force is Ryan Hendrickson, interim dean of the graduate school. The whole task force will meet at least twice between now and Jan. 1, with times being added as needed.

If Hendrickson ends up stepping down, the Council on University Planning and Budgeting executive committee will nominate a replacement.

Hendrickson, who is in workgroup eight, said he wants the workgroups to be done collaboratively, transparently and with great deliberation.

“We’ll see how this progresses,” Hendrickson said. “This is an evolving experience. This process will become clearer as we move forward.”

Glassman charged the task forces with considering how to change the university’s structure, programs and services to succeed in a changing higher education environment.

“The purposes of this project are to carefully and thoughtfully review university programs and services, to identify areas that we can grow and improve, identify areas that need adjustment and modernization and find opportunities for consolidation,” Glassman said.

Workgroups one through seven will be recommending targeted investments, reducing costs and inefficiencies and improvement plans to develop existing programs.

Another recommendation these workgroups can make is for the consolidation or deletions of any program or service, as well as outsourcing.

Workgroups eight’s priorities will be to increase enrollment through new and existing programs. Another category will be to modernize and make current programs more marketable, as well as to make learning more accessible to adult and online learners.

Workgroup nine will be recommending ways to increase the university’s marketability and enrollment through the reorganization of colleges, schools and departments.

Workgroup seven was increased from its original seven members to eight, including four faculty representatives from all four of the academic college, and the other four are from outside the Office of Academic Affairs.

Once groups get to work, Glassman will be informed on what is taking place, but will not be actively involved in the task force themselves.

“I will ask the task force members that you are placed on a committee not as dedicated lobbyists or advocates for any division, unit, college, office, department, service or program,” Glassman said. “You are selected as advocates and lobbyists for the university.”

Workgroups one through seven will finish their work by Jan. 31, while workgroups eight and nine will continue until June 30, 2017.

Recommendations made by the workgroups will be given to the president.

If there are any vacancies resulting from workgroup members not being able to complete their term, nominations will be made by the CUPB executive committee and forwarded to presidents to fill them.

Todd Bruns, who is part of workgroup three, which deals with enrollment, said he joined this particular workgroup because he thinks enrollment is a big challenge many institutions are dealing with right now.

“I think if we’re smart and we’re savvy and we do a lot of research we could come up with a lot of good ideas,” Bruns said.

Bruns wants to look at what other institutions are doing around the country, as well as touch base with people involved in enrollment management.

“We also need to look at what we’re currently doing, what we’re doing well, and if there’s anything we need to modernize or streamline,” he said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]