Committee plans for Baker’s future

Story by Sarah Day, News Editor

The Strategic Planning Committee began work toward the Baker University 2022 Strategic Plan in May 2018 through a group discussion. At the forum, individuals from all of the University’s campuses shared concepts about overarching strategic themes.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Marcus Childress said the strategic planning process for an organization “provides an opportunity to set priorities and strengthen operations, all while working toward a common goal.”

This plan consists of three key points, according to VP of Institutional Effectiveness Andy Jett. Due to these ideas being clearly outlined, Baker’s Strategic Plan is intended to be used as an everyday guide, leading to long term success.

“Goal One [is that] our students will have an exceptional experience from first contact through graduation that promotes meaningful careers and purposeful lives. Goal 2 [states that] our programs will be innovative, current and relevant to prepare graduates who are responsive to global challenges and opportunities,” said Jett. “Goal 3 [calls for] our resources to be managed to ensure financial sustainability and growth.”

Jett said the Strategic Plan allows employees to set their own goals through actions based on those highlighted by the University, and he is confident in the Strategic Plan’s ability to lead to successful results for the University.

“The plan and subsequent actions associated to the plan help focus the efforts each day of every employee on the priorities set up in the goals,” said Jett. “This increased focus on ensuring the strategic plan stays on track [as well as the] focus on using more and more data in our decision-making processes should result in the achievement of those noted strategic goals.”

In order to best accomplish this goal, several vice president positions were combined, thus creating new VP titles that include a greater amount of responsibility.

Vice President of Finance and Administration Shelley Kneuvan said that Information Technology will allow the Strategic Plan to have seamless communication between different departments.

“Our administrative departments, including information technology [IT], provide the infrastructure and internal services for the academic and student services departments,” Kneuvan said. “It is our hope that this change will improve our quality and timeliness of services provided to the rest of the University by having all administrative services reporting as a team.”

Childress explained that his switch in roles from Dean of the School of Education to VP for Academic Affairs includes many new responsibilities, the majority of which tend to be focused on promoting and maintaining Baker’s academic vision.

“Baker is blessed with an abundance of remarkable scholars dispersed among many departments and programs,” said Childress. “I am most excited about working more closely with the Baker faculty from our many disciplines.”