Plans for the next five years
Destene Savariau – News Writer
After interviewing for a presidency position at Stockton University, President Joe Bertolino felt it imperative that the university begin to plan for the next three to five years. Especially with a potential transition in leadership.
The Strategic Action Planning Kickoff Forums were an open floor meeting for faculty, staff, and students to attend. Bertolino and his leadership team created a roadmap for the future to prioritize what they want to be doing as an institution.
“The strategic plan really outlines the future of the institution. I think it’s really important for us to be planning given all of the changes in the state that have happened,” said Bertolino.
The top three priorities outlined by Bertolino were social justice and anti-racism, enrollment, and student success. In addition, he also plans to place a renewed focus on the culture of care at Southern for our students. For instance, how the leadership communicates, engages in inclusive and transparent dialogue, places laser focus on planning for the future, and value entrepreneurialism amongst students.
“At this point, we’re sharing where we are at in the process; just getting feedback. And if folks have ideas or want to contribute, this is a great opportunity to do that,” said University Administrative Assistant Roland Regos.
At the end of this forum, Regos hopes there will be a comprehensive strategic plan they hope to accomplish over the next three to five years.
Looking more in-depth at the plan are the sub-focuses of the social justice and anti-racism initiative. These would be, defining what social justice and anti-racism are for the university, embedding the Division of Diversity Equity Inclusion in the Academic Mission, and continuing to implement equitable and anti-racist policies and processes.
Though the administration hoped to get feedback, it did not seem too interested in joining the event.
“I just came in for the snacks. I didn’t really want to stay. It seemed very boring,” said Special education major Aiden Moore, a junior.
Despite the lack of student presence, Bertolino expressed his expectation to have these conversations with students, faculty, alums, and community members, so the different constituency groups will have an opportunity to participate and be at the table.
“I expect there to be student forum student town halls, working with student government working with other student entities, just to talk about the student voice and the student impact as we develop this plan,” said Bertolino.
Nevertheless, the leadership council and administration focus on why students should come to the university.
“We have to be able to be prepared to give a good reason and not just for bringing students here but give him a reason to then stay,” said Regos.
According to the Strategic Initiative Plan, part of the enrollment initiative is centralizing the K-14 relationships, promoting the university’s brand, enrolling and supporting adult learners, ensuring equitable affordability, and expanding accelerated bachelor’s degree offerings. In addition, part of the priority of academic excellence and student success is to facilitate social mobility, invest in and foster analytics, and provide more student financial support and faculty scholarship.
“It’s time for us to think about and rethink who we are and the direction we want to go. And how we’re going to meet the needs of the students moving forward,” said Bertolino.