Forums to gather info for strategic plan underway

In a series of forums, the members of the Strategic Planning Committee are listening to members of the university community to help to form the university’s strategic plan for the coming years.

University President Geoffrey Mearns said that he hopes these open forums will generate all kinds of ideas and let the committee know what the students, faculty and staff want to see in the university’s future.

Faculty, staff and students all contributed several of these ideas.

One thing that both groups said the administration needs to be conscious of moving into the future is the cost of NKU.

Sam Zachary, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that while it’s always good to improve the campus, the faculty and staff have a “moral obligation” to not do so at the expense of the students.

In a student forum on Wednesday, a many students said the main reason they chose to attend NKU is because of the affordability.

Students also spoke with Mearns about the difficulty of keeping a job while being a full time student. A majority of students present at the forum said that, in addition to being full-time students, they work over 20 hours a week.

Beyond the pricing of NKU, members of the university community also spoke about ways to improve NKU and make it better.

President Mearns came up with the idea of software that would tell students registering for classes what classes they should take, based off of what classes they’ve liked and their major requirements.

Mearns compared this software to Amazon, where it tells you what you’d like based off of your recent purchases, but said the software is only in the brainstorming phase right now.

Students said one of the biggest issues facing the university is how the broader community sees NKU, and, particularly, how students’ parents see NKU.

One student spoke about how it’s all based off of how we view our school, and that if we love the school, our parents will love the school as well. Students then said that our perception in the broader community is based off of how much school pride we as students have.

Allen Hornung, junior and SGA vice president, said one simple way to fix this is to change the look of the campus.

He spoke about the University of Louisville, and how everything is painted red on campus and even the sidewalk every couple of feet has mention of the university.

He criticized the plaza renovation that happened at the end of last school year and the beginning of this year, saying that it “could have been so much more.” He said that it looks good, but he doesn’t get the feeling that he’s on a college campus like he does at U of L. “I don’t see black and gold anywhere, he said.

The next forum for students will take place next Feb. 26, from 4:45-6 p.m. in SU 104.

If you are not able to attend the forums, you may express your opinion either on the Strategic Planning Committee’s website, or by emailing the student body representative, Katie Cox, at

Cox also said the committee is sending out a survey next Tuesday, and asks that members of the university community complete the survey when it is sent out.