By Daylon Bonner, Staff Writer
Representatives from the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses gathered in the Ogeechee Theater last Friday, to go over the draft plan for the University moving forward. This was the first of two sessions discussing the proposal which will spearhead the overall goals of Georgia Southern for the foreseeable future.
Dr. Robert Pirro, chair of the Strategic Planning committee, was at the helm of the meeting. He offered answers to many of the questions posed by attendees as well as expositing on the thought process behind portions of the document. He also offered some insight into how Dr. Hebert projected the use of the document as well as explaining why it is relatively short and vague.
Much of the discussion in the forum was over semantics in the draft. After the forum, much of it remained intact excluding some sentences that were changed for the sake of clarity or for intent. Some of the proposed changes asserted by teachers and staff concerned diversity, transparency of grades and hiring and retention of new professors. This is not to discount the discussion taking place concerning the document. However, many of the points of contention boiled down to changing the wording of the document to reflect a desire or a striving point for the university.
One of the more animated comments came concerning the section on collaboration on acknowledging anything concerning a shared government between the three campuses. Both Dr. Pirro and President Ambanpola agreed that this is an egregious oversight and expressed intent to amend the section and make shared government an explicit part of the plan. To what capacity this will be amended is yet to be shared.
Student involvement at the meeting was sparse at best. Including this reporter, there were less than ten students at the forum. Admittedly, many students were probably in class given that the forum took place from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Also, this was the Friday session. Those who do not have to stick around the campus on this day are most likely gone or did not show up.
SGA President Ambanpola, acknowledged this as well but noted that student involvement in this draft is paramount considering its wide scope of ramifications for both current students and students in the near future. He is hoping on student participation from the online feedback survey and those who will attend the Tuesday afternoon session for greater participation.
The president would further state that the goal is to have this plan finalized in some form or fashion for installation and utilization by June or July. The time for student input is now. The prospect of student involvement during the summer months is unlikely.
To facilitate student involvement in the process, Dr. Hebert, President of Georgia Southern University, has sent a copy of the plan to students by way of e-mail. Another session is to be held Tuesday April 24, 2018 from 3:30 pm until 5:00 pm for anyone else who has comments concerning the plan. Should anyone else wish to make their voices heard but cannot make it to the final Armstrong Campus forum, there is a place to offer the university feedback. It can be found in the same email in which the Draft Plan document can be found.
The goal of the drafted plan should be to have all three campuses working towards a common goal. However, the document needs to be mindful of the detours each campus faces in pursuit of the desired goal. While the goal can be expected to not remain static, the plan and its previously stated future use necessitates adaptability being built directly into the document. The Armstrong campus has areas in need of improvement to catch up to the Statesboro campus. The plan needs to be retooled and fine tuned before time runs out and the plan used as is.