Spring 2017 Welcome Back Message

Jan. 17, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

As we begin the Spring 2017 semester, I want to express my sincere appreciation to those who participated in yesterday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, which has become a cornerstone of Radford University’s on-going effort to provide outreach and service in the New River and Roanoke Valleys. Since joining the Radford family this past summer, I have repeatedly witnessed first-hand that the Highlander spirit is one of kindness to others and passion for service. Such commitment is evident throughout the academic year, such as during the Radford Gives Back Community Service Project, in which more than 14,000 food items were collected for local needy students and their families. Please know that this level of direct engagement with our local community fosters the vital role that current and future students play as strong citizen-leaders long after they depart our beautiful campus.

As I shared with the Radford family during my Inaugural address, we, as a campus community, must be innovative in every aspect of our work. Innovation must be our new normal. For innovation to come to life in our organization, we must be willing to move beyond our single focus and look for new opportunities and niche markets. This will allow us to have meaningful conversations regarding delivery models, interdisciplinary programs and student success in bold, new ways. The core of innovation is about the process of thinking in new and profound ways to improve results. Therefore, we must allow innovation to drive our strategic planning and be the spark that allows our vision and mission come to life.

The future success of our great University is the focus of a collaborative, year-long strategic planning process, which began last October and includes the active engagement of approximately 175 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community representatives through the formation of a Task Force and nine subgroups. These individuals have been working diligently to brainstorm new and innovative strategies for shaping the future of Radford University. They are applauded for their work and commended for the long hours dedicated to this extensive process. Without question, I am encouraged by their work and know that their commitment will continue as this process evolves. Early results of their work are available at: http://www.radford.edu/content/strategic-planning/home.html. This information portal will be updated throughout the strategic planning process and provide detailed information regarding the progress of the Task Force and the subgroups. You are encouraged to be active partners in shaping our future success!

While the strategic planning process is taking an in-depth look at goals and strategies for the future with a strong focus on innovation, the Radford family is continuing to work diligently each and every day to provide increased programs and services to our students and the community. This past fall, the Board of Visitors approved a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Cyber Science degree program. The program requires additional action through the state approving entity, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and the regional accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Once approved and implemented, the program will address a statewide need for cybersecurity professionals and further Radford University’s designation as a national leader in the field as evidenced through designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This exemplary recognition is just one example of our dedicated faculty and staff who are committed to providing a world-class educational experience to both current and future Highlanders.

I hope that you will join me this evening beginning at 6 p.m. in the Bondurant Auditorium, located in Preston Hall, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program. As we remember Dr. King and his tremendous and lasting impact on our country, we further his legacy by demonstrating the Radford family’s unwavering commitment to civility, unity and respect, as evidenced when we came together United as One Radford Family during Fall 2016.

I look forward to working with each of you in the months and years to come as we transform Radford into an innovative, premier University in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond, with a keen focus on teaching, research and service.

With Highlander Pride,

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.