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UMU President Presents State of the University

August 27, 2012

ALLIANCE, Ohio — Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the University of Mount Union, delivered the institution’s annual “State of the University” address on Monday, August 20.

“Collectively, we have been a busy, productive and successful University community over the past years,” Giese said. “All that we do is directly related to creating an educational experience second to none where our students grow and thrive to lead enriched and fulfilling lives, augmented with meaningful work and responsible citizenship.”

During the presentation, Giese shared with faculty and staff members the accomplishments made at Mount Union over the past year as well as details on the development of a Campus Master Plan, the University’s Quality and Efficiency Task Force report and the institution’s goals for the upcoming year.

According to Giese, some of the accomplishments made over the past year include the development of the Integrative Core, a new general education curriculum; further development of new programs including civil engineering, mechanical engineering and physician assistant studies and the launch of men’s and women’s lacrosse teams at the intercollegiate level. Giese shared that Mount Union ranked among the top 25 schools in the nation in the final Division III Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings this past year. Additionally, fraternity and sorority life is flourishing on campus, with membership growing significantly over the course of the past few years.

Giese shared that the University is making significant progress on key objectives of Advancing Excellence — A Strategic Plan for the University of Mount Union, with one of the most involved goals of the year being the development of a Campus Master Plan. The University has been working with Westlake Reed Leskosky of Cleveland and MSI/KKG Landscape Architects of Columbus to develop the Campus Master Plan. In May, the plan was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees.

According to Giese, the plan provides planning and phasing recommendations for near-term initiatives to be completed by 2015 and long-term initiatives that extend beyond 2015. These initiatives include building projects, campus landscape improvements, property acquisitions, prospective building sites, selective demolitions, campus parking strategies and off-campus development.

Short-term projects that began over the summer include enhancements to the Union Avenue streetscape, the launch of phase one of the Mount Union Stadium locker room and press box project and the vacation of internal streets on campus from the City of Alliance. Future short-term projects to be completed by 2015 include a gateway development containing restaurants, shops and graduate student housing adjacent to the campus in partnership with a commercial developer, a health and medical sciences facility and a performing and media arts facility.

Giese also discussed the University’s recent report compiled by the Quality and Efficiency Task Force. This group included members of the Mount Union and Alliance communities who were charged with examining the potential shifts in the marketplace over the next 10 years that may challenge the University’s ability to provide an education that is of high quality while remaining fiscally responsible and affordable. Following the force’s year-long efforts, a report including a number of short-term and long-term recommendations was released. The report was presented to the Board of Trustees in May and was unanimously approved.

Short-term recommendations of the Task Force include a reconciliation of resources to align them with both demand and overall cost effectiveness of all activities and programs at the University, moving forward with a price and positioning study, unification of strategy to improve retention, looking at how data is analyzed and presented and the formation of a Futures Committee with the objective of looking at the changes in the educational model.

Goals for the upcoming year, according to Giese, include developing a campus-wide assessment plan of all programs, identifying additional potential graduate and undergraduate programs, carrying out long-term technology planning, completing a five-year housing plan, beginning to implement the initial steps of the Campus Master Plan and enhancing the diversity of the campus community.

“Together, we are contributing to the creation of future leaders and ultimately a better world,” Giese said. “This is our calling ­– our purpose for all we do.”

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