The University of West Georgia has announced three new pillars as a part of its strategic planning for the future of the university, which will be discussed at a virtual event next Tuesday.
Since the arrival of Dr. Brendan Kelly, the university’s new president, in March, he has been planning changes to cope with sinking enrollment and loss of revenue. On Thursday, the university announced that Kelly would discuss his plan, which Kelly said is based on three “pillars” or concepts: relevance, competitiveness, and placemaking.
The new president’s vision also comes with a new “theme” for the university that he calls “Becoming UWG.”
“We’ve chosen the theme of ‘Becoming UWG’ to reflect that we are engaging in a process that is rooted in creating our future — our institutional becoming,” said Kelly in the statement issued Thursday.
A virtual event called “Becoming UWG: A Virtual Gathering on Strategic Planning” will be held on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m., where it will be streamed on UWG’s Livestream page.
During the event, Kelly will inform attendees of the steps of the strategic planning process and how they can become engaged with setting goals and imperatives for the university.
“I look forward to sharing more information about how we will engage our stakeholders both on and off-campus to set the course for the future of UWG,” Kelly said.
The pillar of “relevance” is meant to “break new ground in the landscape of higher education.” Kelly said that UWG will need to continue to evolve to be more relevant to the needs of the students, both inside and outside the classroom, and a changing world and economy.
“Competitiveness,” another pillar, is needed at the university and according to Kelly, UWG “should build its operations around higher expectations,” as higher education is a competitive marketplace, and the university should focus on raising performance standards all the time. With higher expectations though competitiveness, he said, the university can emerge as the first choice for prospective students.
Finally with “placemaking,” Kelly said “a public university is a unique institution in the United States that has the capacity to provide a holistic ‘sense of place,’ ”adding that UWG should live up to that expectation all the time.”
“We must build on our assets and inspiration, our relevance and competitiveness, and intentionally create public spaces and experiences that promote people’s health, happiness, civility, and well-being,” Kelly said. “This will strengthen the connection between people, places, and the experiences they share.”
These foundational concepts are not the first way that the new president has sought to modernize and change the university. The university is also in the process of reorganizing some of its departments as well as consolidating three of the colleges into one.
Those colleges are the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the College of Social Sciences.
The proposed consolidated college would focus on four departments, Natural Sciences and Math, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Film, Media, and Communications.
The University College will also be expanded to include three departments and consist of four areas: General Education, Civic Engagement and Public Service, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Student Success.
“Growth of a public university is marked and measured by its complexity, sophistication, depth, scope, and sense of purpose,” Kelly said. “We need to grow in size, scope, and influence in the lives of stakeholders and the communities we serve by enhancing and elevating our collective relevance, competitiveness, and sense of place.”