President presents preview of strategic plan at Fall Convocation

President Geoffrey Mearns delivered a preview of NKU’s strategic plan at this morning’s 2013-14 Fall Convocation, revealing the plan will include themes such as the promotion and focus on the learning of “soft skills” (rather than just content knowledge), the continuance of the university’s innovative leadership in transdisciplinary education and the furthering of the university’s commitment and involvement with community engagement.

Mearns noted that some elements of this plan will be new and different, but that many elements will stick to the university’s “long-standing commitments and… fundamental mission.”

“Our paramount institutional goal will continue to be to promote the success of our students,” he said. “In that regard, though, we will emphasize the importance of lifelong learning. It is not sufficient if we simply enable our students to get a job right after graduation.”

Other points included in Mearns’ preview of the plan included the installation and maintenance of rigorous standards in all of the university’s programs, the furtherment and improvement of the university’s relationship with local educational facilities to better prepare all children for college and the continuance of service from NKU to both traditional and “post-traditional” students.

One person who, according to Mearns, played a quintessential role in the strategic planning process was senior Business Management major Katie Cox. Cox represents approximately 16,000 students (who attend NKU) in the process of creating the strategic plan.

“I feel very honored to have been chosen as the student body representative,” Cox said. “I knew that what I would be saying in meetings is on behalf of the students and not solely my own voice. I am also very aware that this plan will have a lasting impact on NKU and so I try my best every day to talk to different students, read the materials that different committee members present to the group and just give 110 percent.”

A full draft of the strategic plan will be distributed to the NKU community Sept. 1, according to Mearns, with the plan going for approval in front of the Board of Regents in November.

Mearns also added one final observation, asking the audience not to look at the plan to see if it fits into each person’s individual discipline. Rather, Mearns asked for each person to “please look for all the ways that you– each one of you– can contribute even more to our collective ambitions– to our success.”

Get to know the rest of the members of the Strategic Planning Committee at

A full draft of today’s 2013-14 convocation can be found online at

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