Team looks at GSU’s future

Grambling State University’s President Willie Larkin and members of the Strategic Planning Committee, students from the Student Government Association, alumni, Greek organizations, chapter organizations and those with an interest met on Friday, April 8. The group met in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center to discuss the future plans and possibilities for the university. 

The guest speaker was Dr. Maurice Taylor, an alumnus of a historically black college (HBCU), majoring in sociology. His role was to help guide the committee through the process of finding the core values that reflect the intentions of the committee and what the institution should push for in the future.

After introductions, Dr. Taylor then listed the core values, ones that the committee previously voted on, with the highest priority on the agenda. These values were used in the discussion about what the committee stands for.    

GLENN LEWIS/The Yearbook President Willie Larkin (right) addresses the strategic planning committee audience as well as Dr. Maurice Taylor, guest speaker, (seated left).

GLENN LEWIS/The Yearbook
President Willie Larkin (right) addresses the strategic planning committee audience as well as Dr. Maurice Taylor,
guest speaker, (seated left).

Many that were present had various comments on how the university should direct their energies for future development, enrollment, academic excellence and learning environment. One such person that was present was Dr. Y.B. Neddly of the Mathematics and Physics department. Dr. Neddly was very adamant in his position of, “Whatever we do, we must do a good job in it.” He also noted that the need for action, stating that “ . . . there is a time for discussion and a time for action.” He brings up the point that every branch of the institution, student, faculty, staff and administration, need to equally work hard to make the plans come to reality.

Dr. Taylor also included the recent SOWT analysis and he made these the next topic in the meeting. The SWOT analysis is a higher level-form of business management of the characteristics of an organization. The evaluation is divided into four sections that reflect the strengths and weaknesses within an organization while the opportunities and threats refer to the outside forces that may affect the institution.

One of those present in the audience was Michael Meadows, a senior in business management and economics, noted on the brand as a strength saying, “I think that the student brand should be more to the strong competitive alumni out there. We should definitely use those as one of our major resources.”

Others were more inclined to discuss the need to improve the brand of Grambling State University, making it more internationally known as an institute of education. An alumna, Brenda Dupree, pushed for the use of some of the previously stated values, academic programs, student-teacher relationships and comradery as points to used to get prospective students to be interested in GSU. 

Weaknesses also took a point in the first part of the address that reflect the current state of the university. Dr. Shelia Fobbs, head of the Career Service department, acknowledged the list of weaknesses is accurate, but would also like to include the student development. 

“It doesn’t have to do with career services, but has to do with image and professionalism,” remarked Dr. Fobbs.

The main issues that were brought up in the second half of the meeting included the enhancing recruitment efforts by enrolling more students from diverse national and regional socio-economic communities, and from international countries. 

For the international students the university would work with the respective countries colleges and universities as a collaborative effort to boost study abroad opportunities and federal funding for student exchange programs. Another initiative that the committee would strive for is by increasing student success. The plan would be to introduce more online courses for non-traditional students who manage work and family life. 

The university would also boost efforts in retention by enhancing current, successful retention programs and practices by introducing new practices, from both nation wide and statewide, that would improve with the current retention programs. Another issue, faculty excellence, would be addressed by identifying high performing departments of significant performance to the future vision of Grambling State and supplying these departments with resources needed to produce more graduates. Establishing a fund for these high performance departments in the Office of Provost would do this. The last action the committee would take in student enhancement would be to reduce the time taken to achieve a degree and enhancing facilities and technological infrastructure for graduate student success.

For the athletics the institution would support extra curricular activity in the arts and athletics by building more facilities for students to perform in the SWAC and NCAA. The committee would also aim to collaborate with business to help fund the endeavors set out in the strategic plan.

These plans were discussed in more detail throughout the Friday evening. The full meeting can be viewed on the Grambling State University YouTube page.