It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
This term at Graceland has flown by, and we’ve had an extremely exciting fall so far. As some students return home (and others stay on campus), I always find this time of year a good one to reflect on what I’m thankful for here at Graceland.
A New Strategic Framework
This semester, we kicked off the academic year with the official launch of our new strategic framework: Blue, Gold & Bold. Building on the previous strategic planning work that had already been completed, this new strategic framework clarifies our priorities and helps us as an administration, faculty, and staff remain laser-focused on where we should be putting our efforts.
Our priorities are clear:
- Enrollment and Revenue Growth
- Student Support and Success
- Revolutionize and Redefine the Classroom
- Community and Culture
Each of these priorities has progress trackers that we monitor on a regular basis. Further, all staff members have been challenged to create their own progress trackers that tie back to our strategic priorities, giving us the ability to clearly see our individual impact on each of the University’s goals.
I am so grateful for how willingly the faculty and staff have adapted to this new way of thinking. Their commitment to Graceland’s success is an inspiration to me.
Celebrating Wins – Small and Large
The fall has been a great success for the University. Not only did we snap a 30-game losing streak for our football program, but we have produced incredible results in many sports. We even had one student, high-jumper Michael Millslaigle, represent the United States at an international track and field competition where he bested all of his competition and won the gold medal, setting meet and venue records with a jump of SEVEN FEET.
In our staff gatherings, we regularly share our wins with each other, taking deliberate steps to ensure we are valuing each other’s accomplishments, whatever size they might be.
The Launch of Transformational Leadership
This fall, the first group of freshmen students enrolled in Graceland’s revolutionary new take on the liberal arts – a complete second major for every undergraduate called Transformational Leadership. Combining three distinct sections – general education, a set of courses on life and leadership, and three strategic skills courses, Transformational Leadership is a true differentiator for Graceland students, a second major that each student will be able to put on their resume when they graduate and begin the next phase of their lives.
The Reopening of Morden Center and More
We spent the summer preparing Morden Center for its new championship competition floor – Richard J. Resch Court – as well as brand new practice courts, and a snazzy new indoor track. Civil work is continuing on the building to ensure that the outside plaza is just as nice as the inside. One thing’s for sure: it was fun to host air band in Morden Center for Homecoming.
The Future is Bright
There are so many things to be thankful for here at Graceland and these are just a few. I am privileged to serve as president of this University, and I am so grateful for so many things. Most of all, I am grateful for the many people who make up the Graceland community. You are the lifeblood of this special institution and I wish all of you the happiest of Thanksgivings.
P.S. While you’re at it, give me a follow on Instagram – I’m new there, but would love to connect!