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Discover 2025 Strategic Plan Approved by Board of Trustees

JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s new five-year strategic plan, “Discover 2025,” received approval today by the ASU System Board of Trustees, marking the official start of efforts to determine A-State’s future, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced.

“I am grateful that the Board of Trustees has endorsed our new strategic plan,” Damphousse said. “While the final stages were delayed by coronavirus precautions, I am extremely proud of the work done by our entire Pack – students, faculty, staff, alumni and community friends – in the creation of this new plan for our future. It is the culmination of input from hundreds of individuals and thousands of hours of study, discussion and feedback.”

The core of Discover 2025 features five statements covering student success, teaching and learning, research and creative activities, community engagement and campus climate.

“We call these statements the pillars of our plan, and they will guide us in the establishment of priorities over the next five years and beyond,” Damphousse said. “And in reality, they are already having an impact.”

Prior to the onset of the global pandemic, Discover 2025 was slated to complete in late spring 2020. However, the A-State administration did not let coronavirus stand in the way of using the principles in key.

“Functionally, we’ve taken to heart the feedback we received and started making changes to fulfill parts of our specific objectives,” Damphousse said. “Two important examples are the filling of two new dean positions to provide oversight for our Graduate School and University College, which will greatly enhance opportunities for student success at A-State. Our faculty encouraged me to re-establish our Graduate School when I first came to campus in 2017, so I was glad to be able to see that happen this year.”

According to Damphousse, strategic planning is only the first, and often easiest, step in creating a new future for A-State. He has asked the chair of the strategic planning committee, Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance, Administration and Chief Operating Officer Len Frey, to guide the university’s implementation of the plan.

“Implementing Discover 2025 will take a tremendous amount of effort and leadership, and I am glad that Dr. Frey has agreed to spearhead our strategic initiatives,” Damphousse said. “Len is uniquely qualified for this role. He is an A-State alumnus and has served here as a faculty member and academic administrator. His research and teaching expertise is in strategic planning and organizational change. I look forward to watching him lead his alma mater forward.”

“The landscape for higher education has undergone significant change in the past decade,” Frey said. “While we have dealt with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic most of 2020, the reality is there are many other challenges in front of us. The stress on public funding and the projected decline in the number of college-aged students pose significant challenges for all public colleges and universities. Our continued success depends upon the creation of a close strategic alignment across all divisions of the university. The excellent work that has already begun in the academic division will need to be replicated across the university, with the result being a coordinated focus on creating A-State’s future.”

This fall, three key objectives within the Discover 2025 goals got underway as Provost Alan Utter charged task forces to look at the university’s general education curriculum, program viability, and test score admission standards.

Under each pillar, Discover 2025 identifies specific progress indicators and projects at the university level, and with full approval of the plan, Damphousse is looking ahead to the next steps in the process.

“I’m excited to see how each division, college and department at Arkansas State will translate our broad pillars into goals and objectives at their level,” Damphousse said. “This is how Discover 2025 has impact across our entire campus community.”

The preliminary work for several other projects named in the plan is also underway.

“Our faculty have already begun to create new interdisciplinary centers of study, which will be the hallmark of the teaching, learning and research pillars,” Damphousse said. “I am also excited to see other large scale projects come to life – like our proposed College of Veterinary Medicine, the creation of a Rural Studies Center, the expansion of our P-20 Center partnerships with schools in the Delta, and the completion of our new Windgate Center for Three-Dimensional Arts, along with new collaborative degree programs like data science and applied artificial intelligence are on the horizon.”

Damphousse is devoting his upcoming monthly video chats to further discuss of each of the Discover 2025 pillars with campus leaders. The December First Friday includes Provost Utter and Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Abhijit Bhattacharyya discussing the Teaching and Learning pillar.

To learn more about the five pillars and their objectives, go to AState.edu/Discover2025.

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