For immediate release…
Wednesday – Nov. 13, 2013

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents unanimously approved today a five-year strategic plan that will guide the institution through its 50th anniversary in 2018.

“This plan, which was created by the entire university community, will build upon our existing strengths, while promoting further innovation and creativity,” NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said. “But a plan is only as good as its implementation. It is the combination of planning and execution that will define our impact – and distinguish our university.”

The plan, which focuses on student success both in the classroom andbeyond graduation, is the result of a year-long process that included open forums with faculty and students; a comprehensive campus survey completed by nearly 1,000 faculty and nearly 2,000 students; 20 meetings with external constituents to discuss regional needs; a stakeholder conference with more than 100 internal and external participants; and a website and online forum to facilitate a public dialogue about NKU’s future. The process was led by a strategic planning committee chaired by Mearns.

Titled “Fuel the Flame: The 2013-18 Strategic Plan for Northern Kentucky University,” the plan includes updated mission and vision statements as well as a new set of core values. The focus on student success is illustrated in the revised mission statement: “As a public comprehensive university located in a major metropolitan area, Northern Kentucky University delivers innovative, student-centered education and engages in impactful scholarly and creative endeavors, all of which empower our graduates to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, while contributing to the economic, civic, and social vitality of the region.”

The plan also lays out five overarching goals for the university over the next five years:

  • Student Success: Provide a supportive, student-centered educational environment that promotes academic success, global awareness and timely graduation.

  • Talent Development: Increase educational attainment levels of the region by serving more students, producing superior graduates and promoting lifelong learning.

  • Academic Innovation: Advance academic programs that are innovative, distinctive, experiential and transdisciplinary.

  • Community Engagement: Engage with community partners to catalyze regional growth and vitality.

  • Institutional Excellence: Strengthen the capacity of the university to fulfill its mission and achieve its vision.

A central theme of the plan is an innovative, transdisciplinary approach to serving students, the region and the commonwealth.

The plan illustrates a transdisciplinary approach by plotting a disciplinary continuum starting with a single disciplinary approach (faculty teach concepts and principles specific to their discipline) and progressing through multidisciplinary (faculty from different disciplines work together to teach and study concepts and principles from their respective fields), interdisciplinary (faculty from different disciplines work together to teach and study concepts and principles by collaboratively exchanging information between and among disciplines) and finally transdisciplinary.

A transdisciplinary approach involves faculty from different disciplines working closely together to create new approaches to teaching and problem-solving through a shared conceptual model that integrates and transcends the separate disciplinary perspectives.

“As we embark on implementing this plan, I draw strength from reflecting on the women and men who founded our university,” Mearns said. “They inspire us to believe that, with ambition, planning and hard work, great things are possible. Only 45 years ago, these women and men had the audacity to embrace a bold dream. They believed they could transform farmland into a modern, comprehensive university. Today, their ambitious dream has come true. I believe we have an obligation to honor their legacies with a sustained commitment to achieve the bold aspirations articulated in this plan.”

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