Truman State University President Sue Thomas released her annual All University Address today to the Truman community. The topics of the address ranged from the University’s budget to the 2021-2025 strategic plan for the University.
Thomas’ address this year was given in a virtual format that was delivered via email. The address was shorter than usual this year, running 13 minutes long.
“Like everything else this year, my 2021 All University Address looks different,” Thomas wrote in the email.
Thomas said she made the address shorter this year in response to digital fatigue from online classes.
The title of the University address this year was “Time To Transcend”. Thomas described this as thinking about how to overcome the pandemic and how to rise above it.
“Given that we are just about a year into this pandemic, and we have done so many amazing things to take on the challenges of this pandemic, it is now time for us to think about how we overcome it,” Thomas said.
Thomas emphasized to students and faculty how important each individual is to the overall mission of Truman.
Thomas gave three points on how to transcend the COVID-19 pandemic: realize, visualize and actualize.
When discussing realization, Thomas mentioned areas to consider in the current reality such as racial inequality, COVID-19 responses and the accomplishments of Truman faculty and students.
Thomas showed several numbers that express the current reality of the University’s budget and enrollment. Truman received $9.8 million from the CARES Act. One point seven million dollars went to students and $3.9 million went to reimbursing room and board credits. One point eight million dollars went to technology, with the remainder going to the University’s COVID response plan.
Thomas said residence halls are down 429 students this year. Overall student headcount this year has decreased by 10.9%.
Thomas said student retention has increased by 4.8%, increasing from 83.5% to 88.3%.
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Thomas also said eight new academic programs were added or approved during the last year.
Visualize was described through the 2021-25 Strategic Plan for the University.
Three overarching commitments were discussed. Organizational excellence, student success and achievement, and professional and societal impacts. Each of these commitments will help make Truman distinctive, Thomas said.
To actualize, a process was constructed to allow for modification and development of the Strategic Plan.The Strategic Plan was approved by the Board of Governors December 2020.
The first aspect of actualizing are foundational metrics. These include factors of enrollment, operational effectiveness, graduation rates, academic performance and aspects of the campus climate.
Major initiatives are the next step, Thomas said. These include an enrollment initiative and campus climate initiative.
The complete strategic plan will be shared with the University after Spring Break.
“It is then time for each of us to determine where we will contribute to the actualization of our strategic plan,” Thomas said.