Plan draft announced


Eden Cohe, Ashley Emanuel, News Editor, Copy Editor

University officials released a strategic plan draft to the Pitt-Johnstown community March 22.

The draft is to become the guiding document to implement campus changes in the next seven years. It lists goals and plans of university officials, which can be changed before the plan is finalized.

The draft was start- ed back in October by task forces and a supervising steering committee. Faculty, staff and students as well as community members, participated in writing the plan. The plan is organized into nine over-arching goals.

In the first goal, steering committee members focus on enrollment and student-retention. The plan suggests that Admissions staff recruit outside nearby counties and send representatives abroad to recruit internationally. Also, the plan suggests creating a credit-transfer agreements with community colleges.

Committee members also recommend improving the academic advising process to improve student retention. They would also like to create year long transition programs for new international and undeclared students.

The second goal is centered on faculty and staff. Committee members want all new faculty to have the highest degree available in their field. Staff would be trained to work with international students.

Members want to increase support and listen to more staff feedback. The Wellness Center would be open to faculty and staff on weekends and during early mornings.

Communication among faculty and staff would be improved with town-hall-formatted meetings.

Within goal three,members emphasize preparing students for employment.

Members plan to hire faculty for new programs like health information systems, health-care administration and digital humanities. Two faculty are to also be hired for hotel and service industry management courses.

Members want the social science and humanities divisions to reconsider their structure. They want another general education class that teaches problem-solving.

Committee members are pushing for learning based on first-hand experiences; they may make internships mandatory for all students. They want all juniors and seniors to have a learning experience worth three credits.

They want engineering students to help with campus renovations and hotel and service industry management services to help with Living/Learning Center events.

Members also want to connect the Real World Action Program to clubs and academics.

Special attention is to be paid to juniors to get them focused on graduating and getting a career. Juniors would be offered a housing discount.

Goal four features living and dining. One objective is to get to an 85 percent food-satisfaction rate. Dining service staff would have quality-control training and customer-service training.

Members have plans to renovate housing, athletic areas and academic buildings.

Vice president Amy Buxbaum said Blackington’s lobby and staircase are to be worked on in 2016-2017.

Committee members also plan on paving Kunk’s Drive and the Sports Center parking lot.

Physical Plant Director Andrew Walbeck said repairs are to be made until the project is complete.

Members also want to improve Internet connection in academic buildings. Goal five and six are about student engagement. This includes an increase in student service hours Similar to Real World Interest Groups, Living-Learning Communities would be voluntary groups that house upperclassmen according to major.

Members want Programming Board members to schedule late Friday night events.

In goal seven, members concentrate on marketing and communication. They want to increase Real World Action Program marketing.

Dining services employees plan to use social media. Staff and faculty will also have a Web presence, using social media and an updated website.

Members want to stress that the university is preparing students for life after college through advertising the Real World Action Program and reminding students.

Goal eight concerns finances. Committee members expect every staff and faculty member to contribute monetarily to the university.

Student financial aid would be re-evaluated so funds go to retaining students.

Financial Aid Director Jeanine Lawn said the re- evaluation will mean look- ing closer at students.

“We will be taking a comprehensive look at student profiles to determine how cost affects retention and graduation rates and to determine who might benefit from additional funding,” she said.

Efforts would be made to increase international enrollment and to purchase new academic equipment.

Goal nine is centered on graduation and career placement. Member aim to have 90 percent of graduates working in their chosen field within six months of graduation.

Members want to target students in their fifth semester who haven’t completed 60 credits and redirect them toward graduation.

They would like to create a junior year program, having students meet with advisers to track graduation progress and consider career goals.

According to an accompanying statement, Pitt-Johnstown community members are able to provide feedback through an email. Feedback is to be considered by steering committee members.