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Progressing on ‘Our Bold Path’

Kelsey Bundra
News Editor

Many students may have heard of “Our Bold Path” but may not know if it’s origin and influence. New changes taking place shows the “Bold Path” is progressing. This includes a new scholarship fund, new tuition model and a variety of administration changes.

As of March 9, Brian Hazlett, Vice President of Enrollment Management, will hold a multifaceted new position called Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Two key cogs will remain below Hazlett: Michelle Pérez, formerly the interim Vice President of Student Affairs, will be Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, overseeing student engagement and campus housing; Tom Richardson, formerly the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Housing and Residential Programs, will become Dean of Students, overseeing areas of student wellness and accountability.

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Anderson said Millersville’s new model is not a unique one. Hazlett will have seven others reporting to him. Anderson said the combination of the positions will fit well together.

The new formula will be focused on following the student from recruitment to enrollment to graduation.

The search for Vice President of Student Affairs only lasted about a week until the search was called off. Anderson said the general sentiment was simple: “We can do this differently.”

“Every once in a while you need someone to shake you and say, ‘Hey, why don’t we do things a little differently,'” Anderson said. “And that’s what we did.”

“Our Bold Path” came about after the previous strategic plan reached the end of its term. Also, the change was in sync with President Anderson’s inauguration.

Decreasing state funding has caused Millersville to think creatively.

“The content of the new plan is influenced by many environmental changes including declining support to public higher education, greater demand for online and flexibility in the delivery of education, and a global economy,” Dr. Aminta Hawkins Breaux, Vice President for Advancement, said.

The title of the university’s strategic plan is meant to show inclusion for the students. Breaux said the intention of naming the strategic plan “Our Bold Path” is to create a plan everyone can embrace. This includes students, faculty and community. Anderson coined the phrase.

“Our Bold Path” has a committee of advisors known as the Strategic Planning Committee that has been meeting since 2013. Many other groups had a hand in getting the strategic plan off the ground.

“The strategic plan is derived from efforts of the President’s Cabinet, the Strategic Planning Committee comprised of faculty, staff and students as well as representatives from the Council of Trustees and the University Foundation Board,” Breaux said.

Photo courtesy of Millersville.edu
Photo courtesy of Millersville.edu

Phase I is now complete. The Strategic Planning Committee meets regularly and they reached out to the university for a revised mission statement. Phase II, the implementation stage, has begun.

The university has seen many changes as a result of “Our Bold Path”. Changes include a new scholarship fund, new tuition model and administration changes.

“President Anderson spearheaded the goal of ensuring student success when he kicked off the campaign for the American Dream Scholarship Fund, an endowment that is set up for the sole purpose of providing additional financial support to our students,” Breaux said.

The pay per credit tuition system may have not been spelled out in the strategic plan, but Breaux explained that its “innovative” designed was encouraged by “Our Bold Path”.

The restructuring wasn’t necessarily planned either, but the president is confident it is the right decision.

Anderson wants to ensure that students will get the right support and be engaged on campus. Vice presidents will have to “work harder” because there are less positions, Anderson said, but he does not see it causing issues. This change is revenue neutral, which means it will not to add to the budget.

“It makes a lot of sense,” he said, adding current students won’t notice much of a difference. “It’s really almost seamless from a student’s perspective.”

The intention of this modification is to get more people working directly with students, according to Anderson. New positions include Assistant Director of Multicultural Programs & Education in the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership, Title IX Coordinator, Mentoring Coordinator, a Police Officer and a part-time equipment manager.

In the president’s office, the position of executive deputy will be eliminated. Anderson’s Executive Deputy, Dr. James McCollum, is retiring in June.

The university has also hired a director of online programs, Lauren Edgell. Edgell will assist with emerging majors, such as a newly approved nursing major offered solely online.

“We have a lot of those programs in the pipeline,” Anderson said. “We’re going to be very strategic for which programs we put online. We’re going to be very methodical.”

Anderson added the focus on online programs will hopefully lure in new part-time, adult, out-of-state, as well as international students in order to reach his goal of 10,000 students.

Dr. Rita Smith-Wade-El, professor and Director of African American Studies, is working on developing higher retention and graduation rates for minority students.

The president also confirmed Monday that Dr. Anthony Grant has been reassigned to interim Athletic Director as a nationwide search for Athletic Director begins. Former Athletic Director Peg Kauffman will serve as Grant’s associate, while also retaining her duties as Chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Department and Director of Equal Opportunity in Sports (Title IX).

Alex Geli also contributed to this report.