Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future

By Max Esterhuizen, M.S. ’15

New strategic plan has Radford University poised for new heights

Radford University’s 2018-2023 strategic plan, Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future, was unanimously approved during the Dec. 8 Board of Visitors meeting. The strategic planning process, which began in October 2016, was co-chaired by Kenna Colley, current interim provost and previous dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and Jack Call, professor of criminal justice.

“The goals identified within this five-year plan reflect the hopes and dreams of Radford University and those it proudly serves, including our students, faculty, staff, alumni, community and friends,” said Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill. “The plan will drive each of us in our daily interactions and collaborative efforts to selflessly serve current and future generations of Highlanders.”

The new mission statement, before the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) for final approval, emphasizes that “… Radford University empowers students from diverse backgrounds by providing transformative educational experiences, from the baccalaureate to the doctoral level, within and beyond the classroom.”

The new vision statement, influenced by President Hemphill, states that Radford University aspires to be the premier, innovative, student-centered university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with a keen focus on teaching, research and service.

During the developmental stages of the plan, dedicated individuals from the campus community and Highlander Family identified key focal areas.

“When this important work began, I asked individuals to be creative, innovative and responsive to future learners and societal needs,” President Hemphill said. “I charged them with engaging in the process, participating in robust discussions, stepping out of their comfort zones and thinking outside the box. I can proudly say that, through the work of a Universitywide task force and various subgroups, these individuals embraced the tradition and, at the same time, envisioned our future.”

Focal Areas

The Radford University Strategic Planning Task Force and working subgroups considered several significant points regarding the context of contemporary American higher education. Public institutions must not only survive in today’s environment but also must be able to adapt, be creative and be innovative. The immediate surrounding locale of the New River Valley, the statewide environment of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the national and global settings all require that Radford University pursue new opportunities and niche markets and respond to societal needs.

The overarching theme of the strategic plan relates to the campus environment, with focal areas of academic excellence and research; brand identity; economic development and community partnerships; philanthropic giving and alumni engagement; strategic enrollment growth; and student success.

As part of the strategic plan, Radford University has adopted seven core values, which represent the University’s commitment to preparing students for their successful futures.

“During this comprehensive effort and inclusive process, we witnessed firsthand the direct involvement and dynamic interaction of task force and subgroup members, the active engagement of the campus community, the open sharing of ideas through forums and surveys and the honest feedback from individuals who have fully invested themselves in our campus and the community,” Colley and Call wrote. “We were truly honored and humbled to be asked to lead this vital effort by Radford University’s seventh president.”

Radford University’s commitment to embrace its traditions and envision its future stands tall and shines bright despite the challenges ahead. With this strategic plan in place, Radford University is well positioned to overcome challenges and seize opportunities that will make an even greater difference for all within  its reach.

Core Values

Student Empowerment and Success
We engage and support our students in the discovery and pursuit of their own unique paths.

Excellence
We expect our community to strive for the highest standards.

Inclusiveness
We are committed to a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, embracing and honoring the diversity of our community.

Community
We foster relationships and a  culture of service within and beyond our  university community.

Intellectual Freedom
We encourage and defend a fearless exploration of knowledge in all its forms.

Innovation
We inspire and support creativity in research, scholarship, pedagogy and service.

Sustainability
We are committed to integrating sustainable practices into all aspects of our operations and engage students across the curriculum to learn, discover and contribute to positive current and future environmental solutions.

Mission & Vision

Mission
As a mid-sized, comprehensive public institution dedicated to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, Radford University empowers students from diverse backgrounds by providing transformative educational experiences, from the baccalaureate to the doctoral level, within and beyond the classroom. As an inclusive university community, we specialize in cultivating relationships among students, faculty, staff, alumni and other partners, and in providing a culture of service, support and engagement. We embrace innovation and tradition and instill students with purpose and the ability to think creatively and critically.  We provide an educational environment and the tools to address the social, economic and environmental issues confronting our region, nation and the world.

Vision
Radford University aspires to be the premier, innovative, student-centered university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with a keen focus on teaching, research  and service.

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