I’m not referring to Paul Gauguin’s painting. The IUP community is exploring these very questions and will soon have some answers about this university we all share. I tasked Michele Papakie, who chairs our Journalism Department, to lead what we call the Strategic Visioning Project.
Dr. Papakie guided a student team that, through surveys and focus groups, gathered from alumni, faculty and staff members, fellow students, and community members data on two key questions: What makes IUP distinctive? And, where should IUP be upon its 150th anniversary in 2025? The goal was to determine a destination—which next will lead us to the construction of a strategic plan of action to get there.
After a daylong summit in October that brought together students and faculty and staff members to discuss ideas and plan, Dr. Papakie and her team are on the verge of providing a finished product we will share with you in the next edition of IUP Magazine. I suspect we’ll see some of what you already know to be the essence of IUP—things like setting high standards for our students and ourselves, educating the whole person, pushing our students to reach higher, building strong communities, and conducting research and service that will improve life in western Pennsylvania and beyond.
Face-to-face relationships provide another vital component to the IUP experience. I also suspect personal relationships and lifelong ties are themes that will emerge in our visioning study. This issue’s stories about faculty member Stanley Chepaitis and alumnus Mike Barnett and about how important athletics are to the campus atmosphere illustrate bonds that last a lifetime.
Of course, we must prepare students for our evolving world and the digital means and distance education tools that have become standard. But we cannot abandon what makes IUP the special place that it has been to so many. We can’t deny what makes us what we are—a place where a student can learn the value of living in a multifaceted community.
That’s what matters most.
Editor’s Note: Learn more on the Strategic Visioning Project website and in President Driscoll’s opening of the academic year speech.
More from the Fall-Winter 2013 Issue of IUP Magazine
As shrinking high school class sizes take their toll on student enrollment, IUP must rely on innovation to weather the challenge
Mike Barnett came to IUP to grow musically. Twenty years later, the CU-Boulder faculty member has enlisted the help of an IUP mentor on his latest project—a fusion of metal, rock, and jazz
Junior Caitlin McCabe, a member of the IUP Color Guard, starts to get her gear together for the IUP Marching Band: her uniform, her flag—and her prosthetic leg
Since the start of the Fall semester, students have had access to a new gymnasium adjacent to the Hadley Union Building
Women are no longer outsiders in distance running, even in races beyond 100 miles, due in part to the trailblazing Marcy Schwam