8/23/16 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University President Dr. Carlos Campo looked to the future with optimism during his address to faculty, staff and board members during the University’s all-institutional meeting Monday afternoon in Hugo Young Theatre.
In beginning his address, which focused on the University’s new strategic plan titled Ashland Rising, Campo said, “We are stepping into 138 years of tradition and for the next couple of hours we are going to talk about how that tradition will move us forward over this next year.”
“We are looking to the future and our strategic plan, which was not in place a year ago, is in place now and provides us with a road map for the future,” Campo said. “And I think that sentiment of Ashland Rising we want to make, of course, more than just a motto, we want it to be something that is reflective of our attitudes and about our vision for where we are headed as an institution. The 138-year-old tradition that I referenced earlier is the bedrock of who we are as an institution.”
Campo said he heard from another college president that research is indicating now that it is not really “where” you go to college but “how” you go to college that makes a difference. He said he wants develop a theme around the “how” people come to Ashland, “how” they experience Ashland and what they take away from this experience.
“We promise a transforming educational experience guided by our Christian heritage – a transformative experience that will lead to graduates who will work, serve and lead with integrity. That’s our promise. That’s our mission. It’s a promise that is inspirational and aspirational,” he said.
Campo then went through the pillars of the strategic plan.
He said Pillar 1 of the strategic plan deals with Academic Excellence. “We are an academic institution and this is the promise that we will make – that we are going to deliver the most comprehensive, fully comprehensive individualized education possible so each student feels that they are not just another number at Ashland,” he said.
Campo said Ashland was ranked in the Top 200 National Universities in the U.S. News and World Report, but noted that AU was one of only 25 religious affiliated schools in that list of 200. He said if you remove those that are Catholic schools from that list of 25, there are only 12 remaining schools.
“Now we are one of 12 religiously affiliated non-Catholic schools in the nation. That’s a big deal. But beyond that, we feel strongly about this first goal of our pillars because it really places that emphasis on the individual,” he said. “We are a different kind of institution. We are making promises about transforming human beings. We believe that our students are going to discern their life calling and thrive.”
Campo touched on Pillar 2, which deals with the Unique Christian Identity on campus. He said Ashland is not an overtly Christian campus, but “we felt we were not being fair in that we were not declaring that we come from a Brethren tradition - a very open position. We want to embrace this in a fashion that is non-threatening.”
Campo said Pillar 3 deals with Exemplary Fiscal Stewardship and the University thinks deeply about stewardship and guarding every dollar. “And we made a promise that we are going to do our best to refine our practices and ensure they are exemplary in the way we spend dollars,” he said. This session also included a walk-though of the AU Budget Summary and a discussion of the incoming freshmen class, which looks very good at this time.
Campo also discussed Pillar 4, which deals with a supportive Campus Environment, and Pillar 5, which deals with Community Engagement. He said both of these areas are big deals on the AU campus now and groups are working in these areas to ensure that faculty, staff and students on campus are healthier and that the campus is projecting to students the education values and values that relate to what it means to live the good life.
“If we are going to be successful in the future, we want to be remembered by how we treat people,” he said. “We invite you to be a part of that journey. We are a different University – thank you for all you do to make AU a place that is rising.”
In addition to Dr. Campo’s presentation, Dr. Dale Thomae, a member of the AU Board of Trustees, presented the greetings from the board, while AU Provost Dr. Eun-Woo Chang gave remarks from academic area and Joshua Hughes gave a Human Resources update. AU’s Dan Lawson and Debbie Sullivan also gave a presentation regarding United Way’s Pacesetter Campaign on the AU campus.
Seven Ashland University employees were recognized for 25 years of service at the all-institutional meeting, which traditionally kicks off the new school year each year.
Those employees receiving Ashland University watches and certificates for their 25 years of service were: David Challender, Dining Services; Connie Van Swearingen, Graduate Studies Stark Center; Luann Motter, Offset Printing; Glen Fincher II, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Tina Oswalt, Student Health Center; Michelle Backensto, Dining Services; and Dave McLaughlin, Safety Services.
The University also recognized the 56 new employees who were hired between May and August.
Following the meeting, a reception for the new employees and those with 25 years of service was held in the Coburn Art Gallery.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2016, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###