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Participants at Strategic Planning Day gather for lunch.

Campus community advances forward together

By Jerry Lewis

November 2, 2023

The Purdue Fort Wayne campus came together on Monday for a full day of presentations, sessions, and activities devoted to strategic planning. More than 250 faculty, staff, and students were in attendance.

The day’s agenda and programming were developed by the Strategic Planning Design Committee, led by co-chairs Farah Combs, Joel Givens, and Shubitha Kever.

“It was exciting to see the attendees' passion and dedication to make Purdue Fort Wayne a better place,” said Givens, who is an assistant professor of counselor education in the School of Education. “I enjoyed the brainstorming sessions, the interesting discussions, and the laughs I shared throughout the day. I feel more connected to my friends and colleagues at PFW.”

The positive tone for the day was set by a moving video produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing that featured numerous individuals from across the university expressing their thoughts on what makes our students special, what makes them proud to work at Purdue Fort Wayne, and what excites them about the future.

Chancellor Ron Elsenbaumer then provided an overview of the university’s accomplishments over the past few years, with a primary focus on initiatives and achievements related to the university’s current strategic plan that grew out of a similar all-day strategic planning session in 2019.

“I think it’s important to point out that we’re not here to celebrate the success of the strategic plan itself,” Elsenbaumer told attendees. “Instead, we are celebrating your success. Everyone in this room is responsible in some way for all that we have achieved during the past few years.”

The chancellor’s address served as the introduction for a series of presentations by university leaders on various aspects of PFW’s operations, which was followed by a robust Q&A.

“The event helped bring people from all areas of campus together in one place to hear updates on what we’ve done and to listen to campus input about where we should go,” said Kever, who is the university’s associate chief diversity officer. “One of our greatest strengths on campus is our strong relationships with others.”

The afternoon sessions were focused around eight moderated roundtable discussions that included New and Current Academic Programs; Strategic Enrollment Plans; Quality of Education; DEI: Then, Now, and Future; A Safe Campus Community; Pathway Resolution: Effective, Fair, Comprehensive; Engaging Community: Furthering the University’s Value Proposition; and Open Space, which was a free-form session where participants could name the topic(s).

“Monday was a resounding success!” said Combs, who serves as the university’s Honors Program director. “Witnessing our faculty, staff, and students unite as a force of community was truly inspiring. Our collective efforts filled the International Ballroom with a wealth of ideas and enthusiasm throughout the breakout sessions, which helps us establish the trajectory for our new strategic plan. It was a monumental day, and I am incredibly grateful for all who contributed to its success.”

Output from the sessions is currently being compiled into a meeting report that will help inform and guide next steps in the strategic planning process.