University Council discusses strategic plan

The University Council, comprised of about 30 MSU leaders and administrators who look over institutional policies and procedures, discussed the university’s long-term learning goals at Wednesday’s meeting.

During the council’s February meeting, President Waded Cruzado said she hopes to have monthly updates of the progress toward strategic plan objectives so the plan does not become a document that sits on the shelf.

At that meeting, council members were also updated about MSU’s strategic growth plans.

Chris Fastnow, interim director of planning and analysis, delivered this month’s report, choosing to focus on the strategic plan’s “learning” goals.

These goals include preparing students to graduate equipped for careers and further education, as well as increasing graduation rates, job placement and further education rates.

Perhaps the largest increase is expected to come from the six-year bachelor degree graduation rate. The 2012 rate was 49 percent, down from 51 percent in 2011. The strategic plan calls for that number to increase to 65 percent by 2019. The average rate for Western land-grant institutions is 54 percent.

The plan also calls for an increase in first-year freshmen retention from 74 percent to 85 percent by 2019; an increase in graduates employed in full-time positions, from 62 percent in 2012 to 70 percent by 2019; and an increase in graduates pursuing an advanced degree, from 21 percent to 25 percent.

Cruzado said she believes MSU’s strategic plan is aligned with national higher-education goals. She also noted she was optimistic that “MSU’s graduation rates are the highest in the state,” but added “we need to work on our students’ debt.”

The council also discussed changes to MSU’s Motor Pool, as representatives presented a plan for its future, which includes divesting the on-campus pool and contracting with independent companies. This change, according to Facility Services Manager of General Operations Chris Catlett, would allow for students and faculty to rent a wider range of newer vehicles at more competitive market prices. The council unanimously voted to show support for the plan.