Comments on Goals  

Goal 1: Seems to Only Pertain to Undergraduates

Goal 1 speaks to undergraduate, graduate and professional students, but only presents qualifications for undergraduates.  Should Goal 1 also include quals for admission to Mercer graduate and professional schools to promote excellence in these programs and will we have mechanisms in undergraduate education to facilitate achievement or surmounting of these quals by our own Mercer graduates.

Goal number one mentions attracting students at all levels but the metric pertains only to the traditional, 18 year old undergraduate. Need to either revise the goal to say undergraduate student body or add metric for other student categories.

1) Objectives for increasing the quality of the student body in the RACs while "optimizing" enrollment there  (See comment above for specific ideas.)

Focus on retention and fairness in tuition for all students-- regardless of college affiliation.

I look forward to seeing targets developed for the non-traditional working adult students in the Regional Academic Centers. As someone who worked directly with the Macon residential program for 12 years and the centers for six, I have developed an appreciation for the strengths, challenges and uniqueness of both populations.

I really commend this group for its hard work.  I know a monumental undertaking such as this took much time and thought.  At the same time the results appear to be largely CLA directed.  We have a whole other part of the university that is not CLA driven or dependent at all.

Goal #1 only has ways to increase CLA and (I assume nontraditional) undergraduates.  There is nothing about graduate and professional student retention or recruitment 

Goal 1 may prevent some nontraditional students from considering "The Next Chapter" in their lives at Mercer.  What support services will be availble to assist prospective students in meeting the proposed admission criteria?  What support services will be available for ensuring retention?

Goal #1: There are no goals stated for attracting adult learners to the RACs and Atlanta for Business, Education, etc. Is Mercer going to abandon its redemptive role of offering second chances to adult learners?

Goal 1: Doesn’t Like the Focus or Intent behind This Goal

On this same point, I think it is incredibly short-sighted to focus so much effort on recruiting students who will go on to our own professional and graduate programs. In most graduate contexts, students are strongly discouraged from going to grad school at the same place they did their undergraduate work. Moreover, if we are serious about recruiting outside of Georgia, more regionally and nationally, then it is even more important that we establish ourselves as a school places people in graduate and professional programs regionally and nationally as well, not just at Mercer.

Concerning Goal 1, Mercer is abdicating responsibility for the selection of a truly qualified student body.  (Please read Neil Postman, "Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.")  Each prospective Mercer student should experience an interview with an appropriate faculty member.  This would create a unique niche for our school and reduce our reliance on facile quantification.

If there is indeed a pattern of students being admitted for the pre-pharmacy program, not making the "grade" for the guaranteed admissions program and then leaving, haven't we created a bit of a "bait and switch" that is backfiring on us when it comes to retention. I worry that creating more "guaranteed admission" programs will creat more of the same problem. Why not sell students on the quality of our liberal arts program (whose  most of the pre-professional tracks rely on) at preparing them for pharmacy school, med school, law school - then they still have a reason to stay even if they don't qualify for guaranteed admission.

Increasing undergraduate entering class credentials although SMART, will eliminate a whole class of highly qualified students. Although they may not have the SAT score, they likely have just as much brain potential to succeed at Mercer as the student with the 1140 SAT score. I believe consideration should be given to accepting a limited number of students with an SAT score below 1140. I do not believe this will lower Mercer's standards, but continue to allow the University to provide higher education to a diverse group of students. Will this consideration prevent Mercer from joining the ranks of America's leading private higher education institutions?

I just disagree with Goal 1 because Mercer already attracts highly qualified students.  The emphasis should be on providing a higher quality education for those who currently attend, and as a consequence of that action retain a much higher percentage of those who do come here. Considering that Goal 1 does exist, there should be more emphasis on increasing the graduation rate well beyond 75 percent.

Goal 1 seems too number-driven.  While SAT scores and class rank can be good indicators, they do not necessarily mean that a student is a good fit for Mercer.  For me an "highly-qualified" undergraduate is one who is best served by the programs and opportunities that we have to offer here.  It would be a mistake to not seek to make sure that we are recruiting students who share Mercer's commitment to service, faith, and freedom.  If we have student's who desire to be here and are passionate about the university, they will achieve at a high level.  Merely shopping for students with strong qualifications as measured by the SAT and high school rank is no guarantee that they will actually be a good fit at Mercer. Another weakness of goal 1 is in the retention area.  Mercer has relied on part-time faculty advisers for too long.  It is time to either hire professional advisers (as many other universities do) or to provide more incentive for qualified faculty to advise (such as making advising count as a course instead of paying advisers a pittance for this vital work). If the university is serious about retention we need to fund this more thoroughly and professionally.

Goal 1: 1) Mercer has a very good track record as a place where the focus is on the individual student.  We can use this foundation to build future “added value.”  Consider developing supporting plans for the factors that will make Mercer attractive to the kinds of students we seek.  (2) Reasons students are attracted to Mercer range from academic goals to beautiful campuses.  Location is one key variable in students’ decisions, particularly undergraduates.  (Some will want traditional classroom and dorm arrangements, some may prefer distance learning, requiring little commuting.)  In order to attract more highly qualified undergraduate students, there needs to be clarity about support for undergraduates at each Mercer location.  For example, is there equity of services for a freshman at the Atlanta campus or the Regional Academic Centers as compared with those on the Macon campus?

Goal 1: Not Clear or Measurable

Goal 1: While I think retention of students is an admirable goal, it's hard for me to tell whether it's a realistic goal when I don't know why students are leaving or not graduating. Maybe there is more we can do to help students who are leaving because they aren't passing their classes, but maybe there isn't (without lowering our standards)? If I have a student who never shows up to class, makes a "D" on the first test and never takes me up on my offer to have him come and talk with me in office hours - realistically, what additional efforts are called for?

Goal #1 is not as straightforward as it seems at first glance, because the "student body" is not well-defined. Given that one of the objectives of Goal #5 is to "optimize enrollments in programs for working adults," it is clear that the primary aim for the "student body" of working adults is to increase enrollments, not to increase the quality of those enrolled. The two are not necessarily opposed, but without examples of how to increase enrollment while increasing the percentage of "highly qualified" students, the primary goal of the university leaves a student body of about 1800- 2000 people untouched. How might we increase enrollments while increasing the percentage of "highly qualified" working adult students? I'm not sure, but I think that Creighton has a program for working adults that is worth checking out, because they are redefining the nature of "continuing" education. Also, the attraction of a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) degree, which is oddly absent as an option from schools in Atlanta, might help increase both the number and the quality of our student population in the centers. Finally, I wonder if "non-traditional" should be viewed only as "working-adult." Bill Gates and others are developing "early college" programs in order to enable students to attend college after the 10th grade. With the centers sitting largely empty during the day, might we think about an "early & late" college for those students who are not of the "traditional" age? 

Goal one seems to question Jesse Mercer's original mission of accessible education for those who might not ordinarily have that opportunity -- CCPS students surely fall into that category. Secondly, goal one would have more impact for me if students upon graduation were more outstanding than their counterparts at other universities, therefore demonstrating our "transformative" education model. Measuring at the end of education is more meaningful than measuring at the onset of education.

Goal 1 is quite troubling.  First it is bundled.  That means that there are lots of goals wrapped into one. There are numerous schools and two diferent goals. One problem with that is metrics to measure success.  If there are many goals then you need many measures.  How does one decise that one has been successful? Second, the metrics given are applicable to traditional undergraduates only.  The multiple goals suggest "better" students for each division of the University.  These metrics will not apply to other divisions. So now the problem becomes one of metrics.  Do we adopt national metrics and simply apply them to our different divisions?  Are ther national metrics?  Should not the quality of the incoming students be measured with the school's mision in thought?  Is it consistnet with the Medical School's mission to have the best students in the nation? Speaking of metrics, even the exmples given in the first paper is troubling.  How is quality measured?  SAT is not a predictor of success in college.  Are we using it to improve rankings or do we want to use something that will indicate the quality of student we have?  SAT does not predict GPA. Additionally, the standard reporting of SAT and HS GPA ignores transfer students. They are a significant part of our student body.  The other measure also ignore transfers. As I said earlier, this gal is troubling.  It's unclear, unmeasureble, not applicable to all schools, does not consider mission, and does not indicate anything about the quality of our educational program.

Goal 1: General Suggestions

The idea of cutting student discounts and scholarships while increasing academic excellence seems daunting (R in realistic?)

Goal 1: Survey new and graduating students to find out if they would recommend Mercer to others.  Why or why not?  Publish findings and give them to student leaders, faculty and staff to address.  Help students feel invested in the academic and financial future of Mercer.  Encourage them to be active alumni during their senior year.

Goal 1: The goal of improving the incoming SAT score is commendable, however, I think that we need (at least for the School of Engineering) to aspire to an average incoming SAT of 1300.  This number would gain us a level of respect from other engineering institutions and from potential students that we could not get with a 1299 average SAT.  Since 1300 is not a huge leap from our current incoming SAT level, I would like to see us specifically plan to get there.  I cannot judge the value or cost of a 1300 SAT goal for the full university. 

Goal 1: Find out What Students Want

Goal 1: Survey new and graduating students to find out if they would recommend Mercer to others.  Why or why not?  Publish findings and give them to student leaders, faculty and staff to address.  Help students feel invested in the academic and financial future of Mercer.  Encourage them to be active alumni during their senior year.

An assessment strategy should be implemented to gain insight from the students since they are directly affected by the changes made in the learning community.

Goal 2: Want Better Compensation

Faculty and staff salaries should be explained better.

As I understood from the faculty meeting, there are plans to hire a vice president of information technology.  Yes, this is a crucial area for any university, but I had thought General Goddard was responsible for this area. If I may be is hard to swallow the creation of yet another upper level administration position (and all the additional support staff layers that will inevitably stem from that) in the wake of the elimination of so many positions and resources that directly diminish student services.

Goal number 2 is vitally important in the Department of Liberal Studies and the Department of Mathematics and Sciences in CCPS. Though CCPS has bylaws that not only support tenure-track appointments but which also describe their vital importance to the college as a whole, there has been an unwritten policy of denying LBS and MSC tenure-track appointments, while allowing the "professional studies" programs in CCPS to hire faculty on the tenure-track. This creates division within the school, severely limits who may be "chair" of those departments that focus on "general education," and creates an increasingly untenable position for the faculty who joined us with the hope (which we all share) that this situation would be resolved. The decision to deny tenure-track appointments to the departments that serve the university as a whole with their commitment to general education is not one of Mercer's shining moments, and the continuing lack of resolution suggests that Mercer wants to leave open the option of droppi

Goal 2: The Student Affairs staff and hours should be increased to serve the Atlanta campus.  This is the only department here working to build a sense of campus-wide community and identity.  Each school on this campus has worked primarily in isolation of the others in the past, and many students don’t know about the other programs here.  They are the best PR for Mercer/Atlanta, and need opportunities to meet students outside their school. Student Affairs needs more money to plan campus-wide events including student educational programs promoting mental and physical wellness, socials, and staff development. The Regional Academic Centers need Student Affairs personnel on site with a “Student Affairs Office” space designated in each RAC.  Career Services, Counselors, Campus Health, Wellness and Activities staff from Atlanta/Macon need a presence at the RACs.  This staff could each use this space on different days until RAC Student Affairs staff are hired permanently.  The students in the RACs are in great need of these services.

Goal 2  50% may work in some instances, but where disciplines are experiencing the "greying" of their profession is concerned this amount will not be effective in attracting anyone.

Is 50% enough to retain faculty/staff? I know greater minds than mind in relationship to salaries have set these goals but are they high enough. Is 75% of rooms being "smart rooms" high enough in 10 years when we are way behing in this area now?

Goal 5:  In some cases, we are losing the good employees to companies that are willing to pay at the median salary or above.  We must be ready and willing to do what's necessary to retain good hard working employees.  These are employees that love this University but have a need to look elsewhere because the pay scale is stagnant.  If I make $45,000 a year here...but some place else I can make $50,000 to $60,000 more a year--I will be forced to do what's best for me and my family.  I think employees would feel more appreciated if they could be paid just a little bit more. And if we're able to do this--could we please start with service and support staff?

Because of the lack judgement with the cost of living several staff members are having difficulty in keeping up with bills. Giving us a pay increase of .5 to 2.0 percent over the years is forcing several of the staff members to look for different jobs because we cannot afford working for mercer anymore. Our bills are over running the pay increases that we are getting. You may need to loog for some goals for your staff in this planning goals. You are about to loose this person if conditions do not improve.

I don't see how you can achieve the 1st goal without a deliberate attack at the 2nd goal. I find it personally defeating to discover that a 10 year goal is to raise faculty/staff compensation to the 50% percentile of our peers.  If you are serious about making Mercer a great institution, you must invest in her faculty and staff.

I would like to see us increase salaries to a higher level (than the midpoint) in a shorter time than ten years.

The statement of goals is lofty, but it's likely that most will remain unmet in light of your statement that the plan will require TEN YEARS to bring faculty salaries up to the 50th percentile. Recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty will continue to suffer in light of the low compensation Mercer offers and is apparently willing to continue to offer (for at least ten more years).

When will the university begin to focus its attention on people -- students, faculty and staff, instead of buildings and landscaping?  The layoffs last year were obscene while millions were being spent on the new entrance to the campus.  Why are top administrators at Mercer among the best paid in the nation while faculty and staff have been and continue to be among the lowest paid?

While I admire the 10-year goals and think that most of them are right on the mark, I have to question Mercer's ability to retain qualified STAFF when all the emphysis is placed on academics.  I realize that this is an academic environment, however, how do you expect to retain good, hardworking people when you cannot even meet the cost of living?  Because of the cost of living increasing every year, it now costs me more money to work at Mercer than it did 2 years ago.  I feel undervalued and underappreciated for my efforts on this campus. How many years do you think good employees will stick it out with Mercer?

I just interviewed at GSU.  Their starting salary for someone with no experience is the same as what I make at Mercer.  Their salary for someone with ten years of experience like myself is $8,000 more. There was no mention in the goals of distance education.  Even the most competitive universities are offering online courses.

In Goal number 2 , it is stated that we wish to obtain excellent first-rate quality professional staff and teachers YET you only wnat to pay the AVERAGE (50%) for these most excellent professional people. These statments are mutually will not retain or obtain excellence while paying only average salaries.
To obtain and retain excellence, you must be willing to pay above average salaries!

I definitely think that faculty salaries should be improved.  I am in teacher education, and it was alarming to find out that I would be paid more as a classroom teacher (with my degree level)than I am paid as a faculty member at Mercer. 

Goal #2: During the last 4 years of Godsey's presidency the Business school faculty was promised pay increases immediately upon AACSB accreditation. The pay increases were to bring the salaries to parity with other AACSB schools. The Business school was accredited in 2004. There have been no raises. Over 1/3 of the faculty has left for higher salaries in other Georgia schools. The Business school is about to lose its accreditation for lack of qualified faculty. AACSB parity raises are due now, not in 2 years, not in 5 years, and certainly not in 10 years.

I think the aim for faculty  salaries should be higher.  The schools listed in the target group  for the ten-year goal of having salaries at 50% were not the sort of  schools you listed when you discussed the academic ten year goals (at  least it didn't seem so to me).  It's not a direct correlation, I  know, and the job market for Ph.D.'s must be pretty slack, but my  impression as a med school person is that these folks have hung in  there with Mercer through a very long dark night.  I was physically  pained by the involuntary gasp when the guy announced 19 new faculty  members at the SOM after there were only two or three for the CLA.  Yes, doctors/engineers/business people "make more."  And I hope it is  true that these schools float all boats by bringing in money etc. BUT!!!  Liberal Arts that are the heart and soul.  Doctors,  engineers, executives almost universally are not intellectuals--- these are trades at worst, and even done well they usually rise only  to crafts. 

I cannot imagine what my scholarly colleagues in the  humanities must feel and think as they enact 8-10% budget cuts (that  didn't affect us in the med school), wait more years for raises, and  adapt to hiring freezes.    I thought of books I've read about  management (very few, and probably not even the best) where there is  talk of rewarding people in ways besides cash.  I had a couple of  ideas and here they are: I don't know much about our education curriculum.   When the teachers  in my family insisted I take my own children to a Montessori school  (in another city) I learned that Montessori teachers certify in an  entirely separate way from traditional teachers.  I don't know how my  traditional relatives even knew about it but I was immediately taken  with the strengths and enrolled my girls.  When we moved to Macon I  was disappointed that the Montessori schools here were American  Montessori Soc. affiliates, not International.  The International  training is much more rigorous and highly regarded.  But to make a  long story short, there are (at least) these two significant  processes for Montessori training and at least for the American  Montessori International (AMI) certificate, people pay high tuition,  spend a year or more unable to work while they study, and have  worldwide opportunities when they graduate.  (I learned about this  when our school tried to hire one.)  It seems to be a major  educational approach that any well rounded teacher would have some  exposure to.  I wonder whether we might establish links with the  Montessori schools in Macon through which their teachers could  lecture on  Montessori methods to our education majors in exchange  for Mercer faculty discounts and student internship experiences at  the Montessori schools.  (I confess a strong tie to Montessori of  Macon where my own daughters were students and where one is currently  a volunteer.)  I thought it might be a good way to provide valuable  and unusual education training for Mercer students, supply some  needed manpower in classrooms and provide a valuable benefit to  faculty members with small children.  Not a raise but definitely a perk.

Goal 2 does not go far enough to improve faculty compensation.  This is an area that Mercer continues to lag far behind its peers.  Bringing compensation to the 50th percentile may be achievable but it would be better to aim for the 75th percentile.  Mercer faculty are incredibly dedicated to the work they do, especially given how poorly remunerated many of them are.  The 75th percentile may cost the university more money but it will also yield better results.  I would rather that we focus on goal 2 and scale back our efforts in goal 1.  If the

Goal 2: Increase/Retain Employee Numbers

One additional point ... staffing must be increased to meet the growing needs of the students, faculty and community.

Goal 2: The Student Affairs staff and hours should be increased to serve the Atlanta campus.  This is the only department here working to build a sense of campus-wide community and identity.  Each school on this campus has worked primarily in isolation of the others in the past, and many students don’t know about the other programs here.  They are the best PR for Mercer/Atlanta, and need opportunities to meet students outside their school. Student Affairs needs more money to plan campus-wide events including student educational programs promoting mental and physical wellness, socials, and staff development. The Regional Academic Centers need Student Affairs personnel on site with a “Student Affairs Office” space designated in each RAC.  Career Services, Counselors, Campus Health, Wellness and Activities staff from Atlanta/Macon need a presence at the RACs.  This staff could each use this space on different days until RAC Student Affairs staff are hired permanently.  The students in the RACs are in great need of these services.

Class sizes are growing to the point where Mercer is losing its competitive advantage. As new students and programs increase, Mercer must similarly increase its expenditure on new faculty positions and sufficient library resources. [Faculty-student ratio is not a valid measure of class size.]

Focus on retention and development of faculty -- regardless of college affiliation.

If student-faculty interaction is to be enriched (3), we need to adjust teaching and administrative loads, not just student-faculty ratio as one of the strategies suggests. The sabbatical plan needs to be enriched--so that everyone gets a year-off with full pay at least every seventh year.  Some schools (e.g. College of Wooster) make sabbaticals available every 5th year.

Missing with goal 2 is the idea of retaining faculty. Are these differences intentional?  Some clarification may be necessary.

I am especially excited by the possibility that my department (economics/Macon) might increase from 3 full-time faculty toward 13 (Wake) or 15 (Tulane) in the next ten years and that average class size may fall below forty students. Our students will receive more personal direction and have greater access to student/faculty research opportunities.

I am very much in favor of continued efforts to reduce the student/faculty ratios.  Such ratios, while not perfect, do provide good information about the nature of a place.  I would like to ask the UPC to consider examining the variability of the student/faculty ratio across colleges and across space, however.  I know that in the Stetson School of Business and Economics on the Macon campus, for example, we serve approximately 450-500 students with approximately a 13 member full time faculty.  This places our ratio in the neighborhood of 33 to 1; three times the desired ratio value for the university!  I believe that each of our students, regardless of college of enrollment, should expect to receive the kind of individual attention traditionally offered in a liberal arts environment.  In summary, I believe that the examination of variables like these at only the universtity level might mask sharp inequities and discrepencies across colleges.  As such, I would hope that they are examined at more narrowly defi

Perhaps under goal 2 or 3 but just as a general statement we give a lot of emphasis (as I believe we should) to student engagement but if Mercer is to achieve its' aspirations it will be critical that we create a work environment that engages faculty and staff as well.  Engagement is a popular (and perhaps overused) buzz word these days.   I believe that employee engagement that can be defined as follows is a worthy goal:  "Create an engaging work environment were employees are encouraged to utilize their best skills and abilities to make a contribution and that contribution is valued by the organization (including the leadership of the organization)."  Employees engaged in this manner know that they make a difference and that difference pays off personally and for the University.  Research studies are beginning to demonstrate the bottom line value of an engaged workforce.

These goals as stated here are not good "translations" of the versions of the goals disseminated via email to the faculty. Goal #2 was originally "Recruit, develop, and retain faculty..." now it says nothing about this.

As a Student Affairs professional serving the Atlanta, Douglas, & Henry campuses, I have great concern about the limited staffing and budgeting the University has provided for our department.  The role of our department is crucial to student satisfaction, retention, and campus safety as noted in the Virginia Tech tradegy.  Is the UPC aware that 9 of the 14 member Student Affairs staff are part-time employees? This is not because there are only part-time needs on our campuses.  If the University seeks to improve retention & graduation rates and articulates a goal which states "every student matters", these deficits must be given priority.  Given the projected housing increase of 800 on the Atlanta campus, this need is underscored further.

Goal 2: the stated, and worthy goal, of lowering the student-faculty ratio from 13/1 to 11/1 is admirable. But it needs to be recognized that, for example, the CLA may already have met this goal. My calculations suggest that the student-faculty ratio in CLA is currently about 10-1, while the student-faculty ratio in SSBE is 30-1. My hope is that these figures will be calculated school-by-school or even department-by-department so that resources are allocated appropriately. To expect the SSBE to deliver a student-centered learning environment, let alone increase and improve research and scholarly activity, when class sizes and total numbers of students taught and advised are overwhelming large for each faculty member, implies workloads far above comparable institutions (let alone aspirant schools).

Goal 2: Need More Resources

Goal 2: The current reality is that I hear comments from many of the new faculty I work with about how they were used to having more resources at their previous institutions.  I understand that we do not have the same resources as a large research institution, but if we expect people to pay more to attend this institution than the public institutions and if we want to retain top faculty, then people will expect more, or at least comparable resources.

Goal #2: Support for research should include library, etc. You did not include assistantships/scholarships to support graduate students who would support faculty in research. There should be money to support undergraduate research assistantships as well. To have the time to be active in research, faculty need graduate and undergraduate research assistants.

I am on the faculty of the Medical School.  Before I was tenured I had undergraduate students doing projects in my lab.  It would be difficult for me to take one today, partly because of what I am doing and partly because I would be hard pressed to provide adequate supervision.  In addition to pedagogical and administrative responsibilities, I waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to do state-of –the art science with inadequate equipment. The research capacity of the Medical School has seriously eroded over the past few years.  Much of our equipment is outdated and, we do not have even outdated versions of some of the equipment needed.  Class size has increased while open faculty positions are not being filled.  Having sat on search committees, I can attest that it is becoming more difficult to recruit and retain top caliber faculty, in part because of shortcomings in the research environment.

Goal 2: This goal includes “providing competitive start-up packages, and laboratory and library resources to attract and retain faculty,” and aims “to provide high quality [library] service in support of students and faculty.”  It is essential to configure current library facilities for the transition to a larger percentage of digital information resources, while retaining core print materials.  This will require new patterns of university budgeting.

Goal 2: General Comments

Is there going to be any explicit attention paid to recruiting Baptist and other Christian faculty?  Will there be any effort to actually increase the number of Christian faculty at Mercer? In addition to lowering faculty student ratio, will there be any attempt to actually reduce teaching load at Mercer?  It is unrealistic to think we can increase scholarly activity and quality of instruction while teaching 21 or more semester hours a year. Will any attention be paid to increasing tech support for faculty teaching and research?   Once again, we can't have a quality program with the level of support we currently have.

Name the peer schools and staff market. Refusal to name is a threat. Oklahoma City University almost blew apart with contrived markets and peer schools.

We have this great University that educates it's employees for free after a year of service.  The threat is that these folks a lot of the time move on to work some place else.  It would be wonderful if we could figure out a way to use this to the Universities advantage.  It could be sort of like a grow your own program.

“5-7 additional distinguished university professors”.  There should be a plan to attract distinguished faculty for specific schools to demonstrate a balanced approach to this objective.  Having distinguished faculty in each school might very well be a beginning for endowed chairs and better fund-raising.

Goal 2: Staff Feel Left Out

What about the Staff???  There is nothing on this planning that mentions the staff that makes this university run. Everything that is listed is students, facilities, technology and faculty.

Under Goal 2, it is unclear whether "Recruit, develop and retain" applies to staff.  Quite honestly, the way it is currently written, it appears that "staff" were added as an afterthought particularly when all but one of the objectives listed to achieve this vision apply only to faculty.  There are no objectives that address issues of staff recruitment, retention and development. There is currently a feeling among staff that they are "second class citizens" and are not valued by the University.   While recruiting, developing and retaining excellent faculty is essential, committed staff are absolutely an integral part of Mercer accomplishing these goals.  Specific objectives that address staff recruitment, retention and development under goal 2 are critical and can be easily developed.  On this same goal, there is the objective to improve faculty and staff compensation to the 50th percentile.  While this is certainly a measurable and aspirational goal, given the comments I am hearing, there appears to be some confusion over the terminology of 50th percentile.  While it seems obvious to me, perhaps we want to consider using the terminology "median salary". Additionally, current Total Rewards models recognize that salary is not the only reward that employees perceive to be of value resulting from the employment relationship.  In addition to reaching the median salary, we need to strive to have a competitive total rewards/total compensation philosophy that includes competitive base pay (median salary), competitive benefits, and a competitive work environment that includes such things as meaningful work, career development opportunities and pride in your institution as an employer. For example, a prospective faculty member might be more interested in an institution that pays at the 25th percentile if they also provide other rewards like a on-campus day care facility, state of the art research equipment, professional development opportunities and/or a reputation for being an "employer of choice". To recognize this, we could consider replacing the salary statement with something like this, "Improve total compensation at Mercer University to market competitive levels".  (total rewards is the current terminology but perhaps not an understandable term)."  Sub goals could then be improving salaries to the median salaries paid at peer institutions/appropriate markets, benefits that are competitive and providing a work environment that encourages employee engagement and is recognized as a great place to work.

Goal 3: Issues with Measurability

For Goal #3. I do not think that the "transformational" portion of the goal is straightforward or measurable since there is no definition as to what we are trying to transform students from or to, nor are we defining what we want our graduates to transform their neighborhood of the world from or to. In addition, if we know what we want our graduates to be when they leave, and if an incoming student has the desired characteristics, MUST we transform them to something else? There are historical examples of "transformational education" in action that I do not wish to be associated with. I offer the following example. As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, there was a case of a PhD candidate in geology who successfully completed his entire PhD program, including a successful defense of the technical portion of his dissertation. He was denied his degree because his committee learned that he did not "believe" in plate -tectonics (spelling?) the topic of his dissertation.  That is, even though he mastered the concepts, ideas and techniques in his field, and had made a significant original contribution to the field, he had not been "transformed" into the meta belief system that the practitioners of his field thought essential. Unless we explicitly specify that the transformation (in our students and their transformational impact on society) that we desire is consistent with our other value goals (specifically being true to our Baptist heritage) we will have inconsistent goals and be doomed to failure. I adopt this view not as a fundamentalist Baptist, I am a committed cradle Roman Catholic. My objection is based on the fuzziness of the phrase "transformational learning" that, without further specificity, is predictably in conflict with our other goals. Finally, I recognize that a rigorous course of study undertaken during the formative years of traditional students (i.e. 18-22 ) is nearly universally transformative. This transformation is a very useful side-effect of the educational experience, but when "transformation" is raised to the level of the primary goal the level of academic rigor is reduced and "transformation for transformation's sake" becomes undesirable.

Goal 3: I wonder how you would measure the level of interaction among faculty and students. Many times the level of interaction is only appreciated or realized AFTER graduation.

missing in goal 3 is the emphasis on transformational learning.  Are these differences intentional?  Some clarification may be necessary.

Goal 3: "transformational learning" is redundant edubabble - all learning is by definition transformational. The concept of having segregated communities of learning is antithetic to the concept of university.

“Enhance post-graduate opportunities for Mercer students”.  Would this not be better stated and measurable to state “Increase the number of qualified students applying for post-graduate opportunities” since selection is by other organizations.  The outcome of increased applications may result in increased placement but there must be increased qualified applicants first.

The word “enhance” is often used where the word “increase” may better be suited to measurable outcomes.  Another example:  Goal 3.  “Enhance participation in study abroad programs”.  To this same objective might be added:  “Recognize students participating in professional opportunities in programs abroad, ie medical selectives, missions” along with appropriate wording to include other graduate and professional programs.

Goal 3: General Comments

Goal 3: Multicultural and religious diversity training/dialogue should be required for each school.  Atlanta is one of the most diverse cities in the US.  Students are under-prepared for the challenges of a diverse workplace.  Many are unable to verbalize their own beliefs and unaware of their biases.

In Goal 3 we state that we will increase residential students on the Atlanta Campus from 200 to 800.  However, in Goal 6, there is no mention of building additional housing on the Atlanta Campus.  How can we achieve Goal 3 without adding more apartment buildings?

These goals as stated here are not good "translations" of the versions of the goals disseminated via email to the faculty. Goal #3 was originally (A) "Further enhance the learning environment to engage students in challenging, holistic, and transformational learning" and now it says (B) "increasing the level of interaction among faculty and students". B is very narrow and is only one way of attempting to accomplish A. A is parsimonious and could include B as a possible strategy. Which is it A or B? The original goals are far more ‘aspirational’ and are much more straightforward.

Goal 3 This is a fine goal, but it is really all about what happens to CLA students.  What about nurses, pharmacists, theologians, counselors and others?

Goal 3: The community-building aspect in this goal begs for local transformations in response to the rapidly evolving digital environment in the world.  Libraries can be reconfigured to be a “third space,” places on Mercer campuses where individuals, study groups, communities gather naturally to research, collaborate and interact.  Staff personnel at all Mercer library sites already strive to be service-oriented to users.  Please consider implementing “A Strategy for Academic Libraries in the First Quarter of the 21st Century” David Lewis’s article published in College and Research Libraries (September 2007).  It lays out a roadmap with five library priorities.  (1) Complete the migration from print to electronic collections;  (2) Retire unneeded legacy print collections;  (3)  In partnership with other campus units, redevelop the library as the primary informal learning space on the campus;  (4) Embed library and information tools in teaching, learning, and research.  (5) Refocus collections from purchasing materi

Consider in your plan to increase residential housing for students including the establishment of residential facilities for professional students convenient to campuses and learning centers, such as hospitals.

Goal 3: Doesn’t Agree with the Focus/Intent

Goal 3, measurable turns into bean counting of interactions.  And its a new age feel good bad assumption that faculty/student interaction = better learning.  It can work for some faculty and some students.  But only foolish educators would profess this as a cure all.  Measuring could very well hurt the facutly/student relationship, and make it harder to recruit quality non-touchy-feely profs.  Two of my best profs, Mark Kishlansky [currently Associate Dean of the Faculty at Harvard University] and Rick Lord [Willston on Contracts] are two social jerks that Goal 3 would either run off or fail to attract.  Teaching is not a cookie cutter skill.  BTW, I'm touchy-feely and interactive.

I've heard rumors of a Mercer RA who lost her free housing because her unsocial students wouldn't come to silly spirit RA organized events. Had those unsocial students been in another RAs care, that RA would have been screwed by Mercer instead. That's the threat of Goal 3 when administors think that social beans are more important than student learning.

I was favorably impressed by the whole thing and I appreciate the chance to put in my two cents.I think it is a bad idea to move toward making 4 year residency a  requirement.  The fact that a group of jr. and sr. students said they  would like to live on campus if high quality housing was available  might mean we need more dorms but to me that's not the same as  requiring residency.  My daughter lived at home last year and  attended Mercer full time.  She was just 16 yrs. old and was doing it  instead of her sr. year in high school so I guess she wouldn't have  come under the same rules as entering freshmen but she met lots of  kids who were living at home to save money. I think that even though it's a stated goal to recruit students  outside Ga, Mercer's reputation is probably strongest close to home.   I think that requiring residency is likely to eliminate some students  who might be desirable additions to the community.  For one thing, it  would lift the financial requirements so that kids who might have  considered Mercer will be pushed toward state institutions. I grew  up in Nashville, Tn and my father had a faculty appointment at  Vanderbilt where tuition was waived for his children.  It was a prime  negotiation  tool that the money I could save the family by attending  there and living at home would pay for (you name it:  a car, a summer  in Europe, junior yr. abroad, my first year's rent in an apartment).   This option was sweetened by efforts that the university made to help  "townies" become a part of campus life.  Dorms had town-student rooms  available (some number of times a month) and there was a town  student's lounge where every nonresident had a locker, access to a  kitchen area, and the bathrooms had showers.  Seems to me you could  put a place like that in one of these new dorms you're talking about  and it might help recruit some folks you'd want, many of them African  American Christians who I'm guessing are more motivated to come here  than many of their caucasian counterparts. Another reason I think it's not a good idea is that it would mean  that the undergraduate population was strictly 18-21.  This is the  target population, I know.  But one type of diversity usually present  at a university is that of age.  I think we are missing a group of  very motivated and financially sound people who are targeted in some  of Wesleyan's billboards--namely those who never earned a bachelor's  degree or who want another one. 

Yes, for Goal 3there needs to be a bullet that addresses the development and enhancement of students' critical thinking and problem solving capacities as they progress in the system.  Furthermore, a statement should be included that proposes comprehensive student academic development efforts withing the university, efforts similar to an "honors program" within the academic system, but aimed at students generally rather than selectively.

Goal 4: Suggestions for Signature Programs

Mercer would be an ideal fit for a program in Postsecondary Disability Services.  There are very  few programs in the country that are specialized in providing the interdisciplinary knowledge base required of professionals in these field.  Professionals typically come from special education or counseling backgrounds and must pick-up the medical and legal aspects of the field once they are in hired into the position.   With graduate programs in education and professional programs in medicine and law, Mercer is well positioned to develop such a program of study. 

In Goal number 4, we have recruited a core of cancer biologists who are very keen upon developing a cancer biology Ph.D. and a combined Ph.D./M.D. program.  As the director of Gynecologic Oncology, I believe that this goal should be clearly defined/mentioned in this goal.

3) There is an opportunity for an undergraduate Symposium, to be held once a year at Henry County, where students take work they have completed in the last academic year, develop it further, and present it publicly. (This would help with establishing collaborative learning communities across the centers, with assessing oral as well as written communication, and with developing the habits of mind of citizen-scholars--rather than merely with the habits of mind of research, envisioned on a scientific model.)

4) There is an opportunity to develop summer-based Inter-Cultural Communication and Spanish (and French?) for the Professional programs that would support the professional schools, baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate, as well as provide much needed continuing education options for the communities served by Mercer in the Atlanta area.

Goal 4: Why not develop a nationally recognized second chance program based on rigorous remediation of accepted students. This would reflect the redemptive nature of Christ and one of the central beliefs of Baptists.

Developing distinctive interdisciplinary programs.  This may align nicely with QEP objectives.  Programs funded should be of significance with measurable outcomes that foster the mission and vision of colleges/schools.

Goal 4: Funding and Support Are Essential

Goal 4 - I am new to the University so I do not know the situation outside of the medical school.  In my opinion, the quality of the programs and learning environment are limited by a lack of funding.  In other words, I think it would be more productive to improve the programs that are going well so that they are going great prior to starting new programs. Similarly with Goal 8 - intercollegiate athletics are very important and athletes are great students - but some are much more expensive than others.  I think adding new programs which are popular, known for integrity, but relatively inexpensive would be a good goal.  I would suggest a swimming team.

Goal 4: As we add doctoral programs there will be increased costs for information resources due to the need for more resources, as well as the increase in charges for journal subscriptions as an institution develops more of these programs.  For example, I have completed a cost projection of what it will cost to continue the same level of support in terms of journals for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  The cost for journals (a mixture of print and online because we cannot afford all online) for 2008 will be approximately $62,552.  In 2013, the projected cost for just those same journals will be $128,934.  That does not include adding journals to support additional health sciences programs at that college, and that is just one subset of programs.  Add to this the fact that students in master's and doctoral programs rely more on scholarship published in journals rather than books, and this becomes a monumental problem.

Equipment is not the only problem.  Support for technical assistance has been severely cut.  The program that brought in outside speakers to present and discuss their work is no longer in existence because there is no money for it.    I am well acquainted this year’s president of a professional society of which I am a member because several years ago, he was invited by another colleague to present a seminar here.  What self-respecting medical school doesn’t have a scientific seminar program? These kinds of contacts are important for a school that wishes to become known.  The problems outlined are not insurmountable, but to solve them major investments must be made, before a substantial return can be expected.

Goal 4: This goal calls for developing distinctive interdisciplinary initiatives, as well as 2 to 5 doctoral programs.  A serious mistake common to many academic institutions is to add programs without funding the library for new information resources.  Given scarce funding, this goal may call for some hard choices.  Do we know which areas already embody a “germ of excellence” to further develop into a national center of excellence?  While “interdisciplinary” means multiple subjects or disciplines, this development will not happen without embedding library and information tools in teaching, learning, and research.  How can partners form teams from the areas of library resources, information technology, instructional technology and the classroom to make interdisciplinary programs more well-rounded, beyond (simply) the multiple discipline approach?

Developing doctoral programs in medical biosciences should be preceded by increased research infrastructure.  This plan should be carefully thought out and discussed based on the current mission of the school.  Perhaps a joint program with another school would be a good place to start, or a joint university program across colleges/schools.  There is inadequate faculty and resources available or planned to carry through with a program in biosciences at this time, but it’s a good seed to plant; perhaps a better place to start is a master’s program in biosciences.

Goal 4: Not Clear/Measurable

Goal 4 above is much more effective and measurable when you added "that will enhance the academic profile and reputation of the University, enrich the intellectual environment".

Goal 4: I'm not clear on what a signature program is or what a center of excellence would be.

Goal 4:  What does “infuse liberal learning” mean?

Goal 4: I'm not clear on what a signature program is or what a center of excellence would be.

Goal 4: Signature Programs Already Exist

There are already programs with national prominence in the medical school.  Perhaps the objective should be:  For 3 to 5 additional academic programs to achieve national prominence.

Goal 5: Want to See A Plan for Achieving This Goal

Goal #5 is missing a financial stucture and plan to ensure faculty and staff the finanical rewards to feel comfortable with the cost of living, and competative with the university pay scales , and corporate businesses within country. Attracting new and wonderful faculty and staff is wonderful, how about keeping faculty and staff who are gifted, talented, dedicated and want to move up in their careers financially?

Goal 5:  The affordability in post-secondary education will continue to increase finanically, however, under this goal what type of resources, payment options can be offered to the student in paying for college.  Also, look at the current road blocks/challenges for students,how can those be resolved.  Lastly "to ensure adequate resources" if the goal of the university is to be an elite Southeast university, then "adequate" should not be what the university wants to offer, if that's the case, students can go to a local community college or tech school for "adequate", the university should want to offer exceptional.

Goal 5 must include the evaluation and restructuring of internal accounting systems to better facilitate the use of funds within the different Schools of Mercer.  The current system is not adequate for efficient use of start up funds given to faculty for research.  The current spending limits on purchasing cards and spending limits for single purchases are not reasonable when planning research. 

Goal 5 By 2010, the University will probably attain Carnegie doctoral institution status.  This means that library resources will increase in cost by approximately 35% over current costs.  I haven't seen any type of provision for this sort of price increase, not even regular inflation.

Goal 5: (1) Consider a capital campaign to address the backlog of physical plant projects of new construction, renovation and maintenance. (2) Such a capital campaign and the endowment campaign should be coordinated by a world-class development staff who are expert in matched giving, bequests, and annual cash campaigns.  (3) Look for additional partnerships outside the university similar to the one at Piedmont Hospital.

Goal 5: General Comments

Goal 5 and Goal 6 should be reconsidered and fulfilled withiin 3-5 years and not 10.

I hope these comments were not too negative.  I just think you should seek more direct input from support units regarding cost projections for achieving these goals.

Goal 5 is wonderful and I fully endorse it.  However, I feel there needs to be about equity as spending applies to the same type of student, i.e., undergraduates whichever campus they are attending and the same should apply to graduate and professional students as well.  This pertains to physical plant, TSS, and libraries or other campus departments as well.  The idea that a campus larger than Agnes Scott or Oglethorpe can exist as fully functional without a campus telephone operator does NOT work.

The goals appear to be centered around the belief that, over the stated period of time, revenues will be available to implement these plans. I am new to Mercer and therefore have no real understanding of the college's financial condition, but find no clear indication as to how the necessary funds will be generated.  With improved programs and an enhanced educational experience, it's easy to believe that more and better students will choose Mercer, but that doesn't seem like nearly enough to make it happen.  How can the college guarantee that the money will be in place to fulfill these goals?

Goal 5: All Goals Center Around This One

Most if not all of the goals depend on Goal 5.

Goal 5: I think this is doable but dependent on how the other goals are interpreted to figure out what "adequate resources" would mean.

In order to have the opportunities of goals 1-4 and 7-8, goals 5 and 6 need more attention. Quality within the infrastructure can support the other goals. Currently the top heavy and short sightedness of upper and middle managers prevent leaders goals.

Goal 5: Want To See More Fiscal Responsibility

If Mercer is going to enhance their bottom line it needs to stop printing cards and advertisments and start using email. The cost of printing is an expense that can be cut and the money used to achieve the higher pay for employees goal.

Goal 6: More Facility Needs

Goal 6:  The plan needs to include a new biomedical building for the medical school.  Currently there is no room for expansion and this limits the ability to develop vision.  An idea would be a multi-story facility in "the front yard" that would be connected to the medical school through several walkways as well as connection to the engineering bldg and the new technology bldg.  There would be space to expand medical education, create graduate medical education programs, and to develop shared research space between the 3 bldgs which supports another objective in the program.  This is a critical need for the medical school.

Improve our competitiveness for extramural scientific grants by the purchase of cutting-edge equipment: confocal microscope, fluorescence activated cells sorter (FACS), chemiluminescence imager. The NIH no longer provides grants for the purchase of major equipment. Institutions without state-of-the-art equipment are deemed to have an inadequate research facility and are denied grant funding for this reason.

Goal 6 should also include the development of a Grant Administration office, that would include the current Grants and Contracts Office but broaden the expertise and service of that office.  With the push to improve research and to increase graduate education  in Goals 2 & 4 (which for biosciences means getting grants), we need an office dedicated to grant m

Goal 6: The library on the Atlanta campus needs to be enlarged to accommodate the increasing demands of students who desire a place to meet and collaborate on projects or study together.  As I have toured the facilities at UGA, Emory and Macon State College, I have seen library environments designed for students to meet and work together, utilizing technology to access and use information.  This requires space, not so much for books, but for flexible work areas that accommodate those wanting to study quietly on their own, as well as those wanting to have a group meeting, use a laptop to work on a group presentation, etc.  We have those kinds of spaces at the Swilley Library now, but they are becoming tight as our student population has continues to grow.

every time a building is built, it should have a reserve set aside to serve as a maintenance endowment.  No building should be allowed to be built without an endowment for maintenance and future renovation.

The sheffield gym buidling is totally inadequate as a student center, particularly for professional students who expect gathering places, affordable and available variety of food via a court-type atmosphere during evening hours, microwaves for self service, and adequately large meeting places for professional groups. Wireless Internet connection is a must, as soon as possible. Also consider an information center on campus, during day and evening hours, so that visitors can find what they need. A kiosk would work well with a touch screeen, and signs to direct them there. The Atlanta campus needs signage to provide extension numbers for the police, library, cafeteria, and other service areas when students/visitors are outside on campus. Consider updating the campus to include perimeter sidewalks or greenways for runners, walkers, and bikers with additional emergency phones strategically located.

In Goal #6, the Douglas campus should be included in the renovations list. The campus is 15 (?) years old and it shows!

1-The number of military veterans seeking a college education or to further their education is likely to skyrocket during the upcoming years.  Many of these veterans will have disabilities of one sort or another and will require assistive technology in classrooms, libraries and computer labs on the Mercer Campuses.  The physical inaccessibility of some campus buildings and administrative offices for students in wheelchairs or with blindness will become increasingly apparent as the number of students increases.  It is my belief that a commitment to Universal Design should be included in Goal 6.  This would insure that campus websites, classrooms, instructional technology and the majority of computers in libraries, tutoring centers and computer labs were readily useable by students with disabilities.

Goal 6: Continue developing outstanding facilities, enhance administrative and academic technologies, human resources and equipment.

If you want to consider this a threat to the University, I think that is appropriate ... upgrades and deferred maintenance on the Atlanta campus and Douglas are important items for consideration. The Sheffield Student Center needs total renovation, heating, cooling and space utilization need to be addressed. Purchase of equipment for expanded programming for Mercer students, faculty and staff as well as the surrounding community should be prioritized. The Gym in the most immediate sense should no longer be used for graduation ceremonies. As we renovate Davis plans should be implemented that move Pharmacy administrative offices out of the the "Cafeteria building". That space should be reconfigured for much needed special meeting space for the campus community as well as our corporate neighbors. The food service area is in need of complete renovation to better meet the expanded and varied catering requests. The ACC - Atlanta administration / conference center needs total renovation. It is an unbelievable asse

I think this is a wonderful and very thought out plan.  I do however have one issue.  I looked over buildings that are up for renovation and Ryals Hall is not one of them.  This is troublesome to me since I am one of the employees that works in Ryals.  I understand that this is not a big classroom building but it does house some of the major student services offices (Bursar, Registrar, Financial Aid).  The HR/CTA building is up to be renovated AGAIN when Ryals hasn't been touched in all the years I have been here (except for our new windows).  I would just like Ryals to be though of as an important building on campus, not just for the students but for the employees also.

I am fully supportive of additional housing on the Atlanta campus. My concern is the projected size of the growth. Currently we are only holding on to near capacity numbers 9 months of the year. At the same time our rents continue to increase. New housing continues to built in the immediate area. The housing market is soft.The University might even consider purchasing an already existing property, near the campus and renovating.

Goal 6 a) The Atlanta campus needs a chapel, but are the other performing arts centers in town filled for performances?  What is the market for such a place on this campus?  b) In Goal 3 the need to increase Atlanta residences to hold 800 students over the next 10 years is mentioned yet here in the facilities' goal there is no mention of another residence hall of any sort.  C) The Swilley Library is 25 years old.  It was built before desktop computers were an integral part of library work, let alone other newer technologies. The book shelves are almost full, all current literature on attracting and retaining students speaks of the need for attractive, comfortable spaces in libraries for them to simply have a gathering place with room for collaborative study as well as quiet contemplation.  Graduate, especially doctoral, students need small offices or specially designed workstations where they can leave their work and come back to it quickly.  The Swilley Library has none of this type of space, yet the growth of these programs is expected to take place on the Atlanta campus.  The Library deserves and should be on this list as high if not higher than the renovation of some of the buildings already listed.

I thought the point raised in  questioning of  the Student Center  renovation was well taken.  There are lots of offices over at the  University Center and whoever is in them might could move to sub  prime territory and cede that to student organizations.  The  basketball court is surely a huge meeting area and already used as  such.  Isn't there space around it that could be re-purposed for  meeting rooms?  The University Center is a natural hub and I don't  think it would be money well spent to make over the other place in a  big way.  The snack bars in the UC need to serve upgraded offerings,  and to be open more.  The main cafeteria could stay in another building, no?

Increase space and availability of technology at the Douglas RAC. Consider additional support services at the Centers (e.g., counseling, clinics, campus security, etc.)? Could students in the School of Nursing or the Medical College assist in providing medical services to students, especially students enrolled in the Centers?  Service-learning opportunities?  Supervised internship opportunities?

Establish a facilities committee and task group to begin serious on-going planning for new facilities for the medical school.  MUSM needs space to grow and is not on the plan.  Faculty need to be involved in this since they have history with the program and understand future needs.

Goal 6: Stress the Importance of Technology

Goal 6 Information Technology is woefully in need at Mercer.  The first bullet should also include backup servers and the development of more effective web-based programs for academic records (especially in the medical school).  I assume that the second technology bullet includes broadband for video com links between campuses for instruction of students and for administrative business.  A bullet should be included to align Mercer IT and other key technical support personnel salaries with a competitive benchmark.  The amount of work required to get this campus modernized requires good people.  Right now, we cannot retain those people because of the pay. 

Technology should be given a very high priority in order to allow the university to maintain an up-to-date status not only for students but for faculty and staff in their work as well.

I think it is impossible to underestimate the importance and priority for developing and sustaining a robust technological infrastructure in maintaining our competitiveness in the higher education marketplace.  It can be probed and evaluated by potential students, faculty members, and donors via our website and is a measure of our quality and level of innovation.

To help with classroom instruction, The Douglas County center needs a technology upgrade. This should include LCD projector and computer in each classroom simular to the equipment that is in the Henry COunty Center. Also we need a technology person to assist with equipment that is at the Douglas county Center.

If technology is not brought up to par with other colleges and universities, then no one will want to come here to study or to teach.  Students, faculty and staff require up-to-date technologies:  a streamlined wireless system on every campus; servers where they are needed, not only in Macon; a phone system that does not regularly fail during a rain storm.  For too long the technology infrastructure has been allowed to unravel.  This comment is not superficial gripping.  These things should and need to be possible in a technology-savvy world.

Consider a dedicated server for graduates/alumni that will provide email accounts free.  This will provide connectivity to the schools and provide access to faculty for follow-up.  It might also be very useful for fund-raising to keep up to date contact information.  A lifetime account might be an excellent perk for professional schools.

Goal 6: (1) The goal for enhanced administrative and academic technology is extremely important and should be Goal Number One of all goals!  (2) While Goal 3 includes “increase the residential capacity of the Atlanta campus from 200 to 800,” this Goal 6 does not list a new or expanded living facility on the Cecil B. Day campus.

Goal 6: Facilities and Technology Should Be Separated

Besides needing to be separated (facilities and technologies)

There needs to be planning for colleges and divisions to have R & D for technology ideas & needs of their own.  Most importantly, in the 21st century technology is not the place to cut corners.  The state of university technology should be heavily emphasized as a separate goal in the Statement of Ten Year Goals.  The university needs a service-oriented professional to come in and serve as head of this division.  There has been a history of skimpy investment and too few people in this department for so long that the vision of what "might and should" be possible has been lost in ill-spent energy to patch obsolete systems and patterns of operation.

Goal 6: Need This Goal Accomplished Sooner than 10 Years

Goal 6:  In attracting high qualified faculty, staff and students thier needs to be more emphazies on raising the bar with the techonlogy goal.  This goal should be high proirity and acheived in less than 10 years.  From infrastructure to software, Mercer offering high quality, advanced technology at a private institution that public university already have.

Goal 5 and Goal 6 should be reconsidered and fulfilled withiin 3-5 years and not 10.

Goal 6: General Comments

Goal 6 addresses facilities, administrative and academic technologies.  Equipment and human resource (staffing levels, salaries, training and benefits), should be added.

In order to have the opportunities of goals 1-4 and 7-8, goals 5 and 6 need more attention. Quality within the infrastructure can support the other goals. Currently the top heavy and short sightedness of upper and middle managers prevent leaders goals.

Goal 7: What Does It Mean/How Do You Measure

Goal 7, You cannot measure, and until Mercer is a peer of Wake Forest it's unrealistic to consider it in the class of Chicago and Columbia.  "[F]irst truly national Baptist University" is so dishonest that it cheapens everything else.  I've been at Oklahoma City University (evanagelical Methodist), and Wake Forest (more in your face Baptist than Mercer).  Chicago is much more faith-based as defined in Goal 7 than OCU, WF or Mercer.  Get rid of the ignorant "first truly."  "National Baptist University" is kind of an acceptible goal.  "National" is presumptious if the rest of the goals are to become a top regional school.  Don't shoot for Chicago till you are in the Vanderbilt, Emory, Duke, Wake Forest and Tulane class.

Goal 7: This particular goal is one of the more vague goals. When I hear President Underwood describe Mercer as a faith-based institution in the Baptist tradition, I feel like I understand and even agree with him. However, the aspect of the goal that I find confusing is the we would be the "first truly national Baptist University." I like Baptist tradion rather than "first truly."

Goal 7 is laudable in spirit, but the interpretation of what it means is, as President well knows, ambiguous and fraught with the potential for seeding internecine struggles.  Nevertheless, it is a struggle worth the engagement, as the outcome will influence the other goals so greatly.

Not sure what Baptist means? I certainly welcome the idea that religious practice and discourse are encouraged here. We should take that as an area of focus. But, I think we should also make sure that a Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Catholic or atheist student or faculty are welcome as well. The idea that an institute of higher learning encourages exploration of spirituality is a core reason for our efforts,but needs to be presented in a way that represents acceptance of alternative points of view.

Goal 7: How will the University Planning Council gather data to know when this goal is successful, and what will the reporting system be?  Are we taking into account what the competition is doing, e.g. other Baptist institutions, other faith-based universities?

Goal 7: Want Faith-Based Rather Than Baptist

While is may be good to continue emphasizing Mercer as a Baptist University I believe it is imperative to encourage students of other faiths to ensure a well-rounded university. It is very important not only to teach of other cultures, but to allow observance of other cultures as well.

Goal 7 isn't necessarily desirable because the P.R. efforts necessary to change the popular image of Southern Baptist nationally will be immense and costly. Why not just be faith-based.

I chose Mercer because it is a faith based institution. Mercer has an awesome opportunity to offer a climate of faith based learning. Learning that shows the roots of faith....integrity, growth and service to others. Some of our students come to us because are not a secular university. I believe that Mercer can hold a place of prominence in the higher learning arena by offering more opportunities for service to others in our communities.

Goal 7: Embrace Baptist Roots

Goal 7: Mercer needs to nurture its relationship with Southern Baptists, not abandon them, even in the face of the undeserved rejection by the Southern and Georgia Baptist Conventions. Mercer also needs to advocate for the pro life position on abortion and heterosexual marriages. Mercer should certainly act in a forgiving manner toward those holding other positions, but must not abdicate its responsibility to hold to scriptural standards.

perhaps a channel for some of the remarkable  interest you noted in the role Mercer could/should/might play in  Baptist life and thus a platform and a voice for those interested.    What about a Baptist Heritage/History  (or Baptist Faith and Message)  week at Mercer?  I remember competitions in delivering famous  orations.  We could invite entries from all Baptists, everywhere,  "without regard for doctrine" ;  we could accept both male and female  contestants and evaluate them on their delivery of one of say, three  designated famous Baptist sermons.  (Martin Luther King, the God's  Trombones guy, you get the idea). And we could have juried original  preaching competitions with categories for age and education; provide  written feedback on strengths, give points for delivery, biblical  scholarship, other stuff someone else could think up.    We could  supplement at points with Mercer / visiting choirs, picnics "on the  grounds", hymn sings, etc.  The prizes could be Macafee or  undergraduate scholarships of varying amounts.  All the better if  there could be some reason to make costumes...Students could enact  the roles available to slaves, and/or old controversies and splits  (e.g. the creation of the SBC).  Re-enactments of famous (or should- be-famous) debates could be staged.   Controversial straw polls could  be taken after current issue pro/con presentations were delivered.    I don't really know how such things work, what they cost , etc but  I'd love for us to host some kind of Interfaith Dialogue with  speakers from Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Baptists. We could have  plenary speakers and then "youth workshops" where high school  students were invited to discuss the perspectives and compare them.   I think local clergy would love to play a role in such a thing and it  might fire up some potential applicants'  too. Thanks so much for the leadership you've brought to Mercer.  I'm  adding you to my prayer list.

Goal 7: General Comments

I don't have an opinion about Goal 7.

Goal 7: The Atlanta, Henry & Douglas campuses need a chaplain added to the Student Affairs staff - someone who can minister to our culturally and religiously diverse student body.  This staff member could bring together students from each school to address spiritual needs, and support the spiritual resources on campus.

Goal 7: Mercer Is Too Liberal

In order to lay claim to being a "Baptist Univeristy steeped in heritage" you must teach Baptist Doctrine.You can not be the leading Baptist University if you don't teach what you preach. Baptist Doctrine should be a required course for all students as well as chapel services at least twice a month. Also, giving out free condoms to students wrapped up to look like roses does not promote Baptist beliefs. If you are going to claim to be Baptist then the University must make it clear to the world that they are Baptist. Otherwise Mercer is just another University claiming to be something it is not.

Goal 7: You will never get agreement when it comes to faith. Mercer appears to be attempting to walk a fine line between being a Baptist University and being a liberal university.  Are we liberal or are we Baptist?  It depends on who you ask. I don't think we can be both.  If Baptist parents are going to entrust us with their Baptist students, they need to know where we stand on issues of faith.  Any university can be liberal, most universities are.  Here is the question:  Can a student choose to be Baptist at Mercer?  If they can, will their belief systems be challenged by those who are liberal?  Unfortunately, the answer is yes because Mercer is more liberal than most Baptist parents.  I don't think that everyone who works at Mercer is liberal to an extreme, but there are enough liberals to make traditional Baptists see Mercer as a liberal university.  So in going after a national reputation we have lost what Jesse Mercer intended when he founded Mercer University as a Baptist University.  All that money

Goal 8: Need Equity Among Sports Teams

I think there needs to be more specific steps in the athletic section to account for resources such as fully funding every sport and a new facility for soccer.

I think winning the Academic Achievement Trophy is something Mercer can certainly already aspire to. However, I don't think you can realistically expect to compete for the All-Sports Championship until there is more equity among the teams in terms of staffing, facilities and operational budgets. Obviously, I don't think that supporting a rifle team, for example, requires as many assets as supporting a baseball team. However, to be be successful to the point where the All-Sports Championship is within grasp, all the sports need enough support to have a fighting chance at a winning season or conference championship. All of the sports need adequate resources for recruiting and enough staffing to enable the program to get out and do the recruiting neccessary for success. All the teams need to be provided with (or at least consistent access to) adequate facilities and an operational budget that gives them a shot at success.

Goal 8 is also exclusive -- I prefer the effort to be in all students participating in athleti

I would like to see more specifics in the athletic goal addressing more resources for ALL sports so they can be successful - fully funded, improved facilities.

Goal 8: Focus Resources on Academics

I believe there will be a conflict between Goal 8 and several other goals, numbers 1, 4, and 6 especially.  The need to recruit and retain athletes is likely to dilute the academic excellence of the student body, create a cadre of students for whom faculty have little enthusiasm, and create competitive needs regarding facilities.  I would much prefer to emulate Chicago in focusing entirely on academic excellence, and Division III in encouraging participation in intramural sports, clubs, and non-scholarship teams. 

I am not convinced that spending money to enhance intercollegiate sports would be the best use of the funds available to us.  I would rather see these fudns invested in the academic programs.  Intercollegiate sports just do not generate the loyalty and donor generousity as regular collegiate do

Having winning athletic programs should not be linked to academic vision.  These are expensive and don't necessarily teach good values.

Intercollegiate athletics is a very costly endeavor that should not be considered in university goals until other goals have been attained.  Payback is very long-term, if ever, and there are far greater needs for the university community than athletics.

Goal 8: General Comments

Goal 8:This goal should look at the student athletes in your sports, resources offered, graduation rates.  In addition, the recruiting (where/whom) plays a huge factor in keeping the tradition of winning.

I also like the verbiage "competitive success" in Goal 8 better than just "winning".  While winning is certainly important I believe there are many other components involved (i.e. your competition) in competitive su

Goal 8: Bring Mercer’s basketball team to Atlanta often.  This will promote a sense of community between the campuses, pride and name recognition in the metro area.  Most folks in Atlanta don’t know anything about our sports teams. Establish relationships with local gyms near our RACs to provide discount memberships for our students who do not have access to our sports events or facilities.

Goal 8: Elevate the quality of the Baseball, Basketball, Softball, Volleyball, Tennis, and Golf schedules to the Division 1 level. As a minimum this will mean more national visibility for the University, and provide more reasons for Mercer alumni to identify with the Mercer Bears rather than the "dawgs" or "Jackets". Investigate a path to Division 1 Football.

Goal 8: Concerned That It Sounds Like We’re Not Accomplishing This

I am not certain about Goal 8 -- this goal implies we are not presently winning with integrity in intercollegiate athletics.

Goal 8: This is an unknown area for me.  It seems that this goal needs student feedback to find out how important successful competitive sports teams would be to them.  Would this goal enhance the continued affiliation of successful graduates who had been student athletes while at Mercer, for example in fundraising?  Do we know that the considerable cost to build athletics programs (e.g. talented coaches, sports scholarships and facilities) would be worth the institutional resources?

Missing Pieces: Environmental

Much of thr world, and especially the South, seems to have its head in the sand regarding environmental issues.  Environmental problems pose a serious threat to the survival of all of us.  They also provide an opportunity for Mercer to become a leader in "green" issues, from education to research to campus behaviors and design.  Responsible stewardship of our Earth is at once pragmatic, moral and religious.  The extent to which Mercer is already doing this is not widely known. To determine and maintain its leadership course in this general area, Mercer should create an environmental department or other body that reports to the President and the faculty and that seeks to reduce Mercer's own footprint as well as to educate Mercerians and broader communities. This step should bear financial fruit through short-tun and long-run cost savings and advance more altruistic and educational goals.

The following goal should be added: Goal 9: Become more environmentally friendly 1. As a faith-based institution, we should work to become good stewards of the resources that God has given us. 2. As an institution of higher learning, we should work to teach our students their place in the world and their responsibilties to it. 3. We should work to implement programs and systems that will, in the long run, save Mercer money spent on wasted energy, water, and resources.

Missing is the goal of reducing Mercer University's environmental and ecological footprint.  This needs to be added as Goal 9 and it is more important to me than any of the "fuzz" in the first eight.

We need to consider making the campus more environmentally friendly.  We owe this example of stewardship to our students and if properly executed, could save the University money.

As for service to the surrounding communities and to the world, I believe these are embedded in some of the other goals, but I would like to see them be given more prominence throughout. For instance, it seems to me that Mercer has a very low profile when it comes to the environment. I would love to see recycling extended to the centers and given much more prominence throughout the campuses. Our consciousness of the limited resources that our planet has could be increased and would enhance a recycling effort.

2.  Make the university more environmentally friendly (both in new construction and as renovations happen).  Again, this can impact attraction and retention (Goals 1-2), enhance the learning environment (3), develop signature programs (6) and be seen as part of Mercer's Baptist identity (7).

If Mercer's goal is to redefine ourselves as a faith-based institution, we should certainly be aiming to become a green university.  I know that others have suggested this, but I do not see it addressed among these vision statements.  I urge the university to consider this! 

Missing Pieces: Concerns for Diversity

To achieve Goals 1, 2, 7 there must be some pronounced aspect of diversity stated.

I would like to see a strong statement regarding diversity in our administration, faculty, and student body.  I would also like to see more acceptance of the professional programs into the academic mainstream.

We are at a cross roads in the history of the University. In the past race related issues were thrusted upon us.  We have an opportunity not to embrace/deliberately welcome diversity in our quest to achieve excellence and preeminence. Let's do!

I do not see anything that addresses diversity in the goals.  Again only speaking for the medical school, the quality of the learning environment is directly impaired by the lack of diversity in the student body.  This is something that many schools struggle with, but the ones which are successful have a highly visible diversity initiative - such as having it be one of the goals above.

Mercer University needs a administrative person in charge of recruitment of minorities. The population of blacks, hispanics will only increase and we need to attract more of these students. Safety on campus needs to addressed with a comprehensive/integrated plan if disasters occur on campus, ie, how would we communicate with each other in the various buildings. Should there be a form of communication developed if all phones, e-mail are down? I believe safety on campus needs addressed in a 10 year plan.

In addition, the goals reference Mercer's desire to provide a diverse education for its students, but do we need to address the issue of diversity in any more substantive way?  E.g., can we offer a diverse educational experience if we are a rather homogeneous group of faculty and staff?

Missing Pieces: Alumni

Alumni graduating from all of Mercer's campuses are going to play a critical role in achieving each and every one of these goals, from recruiting the best and brightest to enhancing learning and the school's profile, to improving our financial structure and continuing to build buildings; however, the alumni are not referenced or acknowledged as being an integral part of achieving any of these Ten Year Goals.  I would also like to see a Goal 9 which could state something like "Actively engage and connect alumni by expanding programs and services increasing Mercer's relevance to alumni after graduation."  To achieve this vision, some suggested goals could be:  (1)  Develop a succinct and inclusive Mercer message to alumni; (2)  Increase the visibility and impact of the Mercer Alumni Association through marketing; (3) Increase educational opportunities on-campus for alumni; (4)  Full integrate career services as a function of the Mercer Alumni Association; (5) Promote the Mercer Alumni Association through engagement in student programming; (6) Upgrade and maintain alumni connections through technology.

I would like to see the university specifically address issues related to: -- alumni and their life-long connection to the University, -- service to the immediate communities, -- connection to the world and being good stewards of the earth. I've already heard that the lack of direct goals related to graduates has been suggested and agree with this. It seems that we need to get/stay connected with alums more strategically than we do now. I think in this time of budget cuts it becomes even more difficult, having little staff and fewer publications which link alums with the institution.

I believe we should, at least in the Medical School, work towards strengthening our alumni association.  There is not just apathy, but considerable antipathy among alumni.  To change this attitude will require changes top down, but will improve our positions politically and with respect to development.

Specifically addressing Mercer's alumni in the Ten Year Goals would acknowledge their importance in Mercer's future.

Missing Pieces: Research Concerns

Cannot be a leading University without a strong research base.  The word "research" does not even appear in these goals.

If Goals 2 and 4 involving research and biosciences graduate programs are to be achieved, strategic overhaul of  purchasing mechanisms should also be a goal that precedes growth of research.  An appropriate model should be sought.

For Mercer to raise its research profile will require money—lots of money— for capital equipment, for personnel and for protected time for faculty who wish to engage in research.  The Seed Grant program, while very welcome, will not turn Mercer into Wake Forest.  My fear is that unrealistic expectations will be generated after an inadequate investment of resources. I received my undergraduate degree from Reed College.  As a Chemistry major, I participated in research projects with faculty.  This was an expected of all faculty, and their course loads reflected it.  Those of our undergraduate faculty who which to engage in research and open their labs to students need to have released time to think, plan, and supervise their students while preparing for their classes.  The top-tier liberal arts colleges might be queried regarding how their faculty maintain their scholarly activities while involving their students in them.

Missing Pieces: Library Concerns

GOAL 1, 5, 6 -- The Townsend School of Music is faced with a HUGE problem. At the Tarver library we do not have access to Online databases such as JSTOR, NAXOS, NEW GROVE, etc. Majority of the music schools Mercer size and smaller have these and we don't. The School of Music is a new entity to Mercer and it is crucial for us to have access to these to help the current students doing research (mainly graduate students) and to attract the future students. The major concerns with what we already have.....Through the subscription of "Academic Search Complete" and "Galileo" many of the publications start from 2001. If we run across a desperate need of an article before 2001, we have to do Interlibrary Loan and lose few days. It's absolutely ridiculous. From my personal experience this past week, I was desperate for an article, which I could not get it through Tarver access. I did interlibrary loan on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I drove to Columbus State University and used their computer to print out the article, in need, on Friday. The following Monday I received the email attachment of interlibrary loan from Tarver... it's just too late. Please take University of Rochester Eastman School of Music Sibley Music Library ( ) as a role model. It will be ideal if Mercer (a school of the same size) can get the exact same access to Sibley Music Library online database. If a prospective student saw the major LACK of resource Mercer has for music students, we cannot possibly grow. PLEASE PLEASE provide us to access these databases ASAP!!!!!!

I am a librarian.  I know that libraries are one of the "financial black holes" of any university, but they provide services and resources that students and faculty expect.  Could the libraries do more to increase the efficiency of their budgets?  Probably, but that has been increasingly more difficult in recent years as programs of study are added, but funds for additional resources are not added to the libraries budgets.  I am writing specifically about Goals 2, 4 and 6.

Goal 5 By 2010, the University will probably attain Carnegie doctoral institution status.  This means that library resources will increase in cost by approximately 35% over current costs.  I haven't seen any type of provision for this sort of price increase, not even regular inflation.

Missing Pieces: Community Service

I would like to see even more efforts from Mercer to serve the local communities and to ripple out to the world. Some of the large programs (e.g., Mercer on Missions) are such an excellent way for Mercer to live out its mission and to shine in the world. Additionally, smaller efforts in the local communities also are a way for all to be involved.

2) There is an opportunity for a kind of "leadership transcript" for working adult students who are already serving their communities. With a mechanism for tying the work they are doing in the community to their work at Mercer, we might give them recognition for the leadership they already provide. Also, we might use such a "transcript" for working adults to recognize their pursuit of optional emphases in written communication, oral communication, inter-cultural communication, and digital communication

Missing Pieces: Child Care

1.  establish childcare for faculty and staff (and students?).  That can help attract and retain folks (goals 1 and 2), potentially enrich the learning environment (Goal 3), add a signature program (Goal 6), and depending on how it is articulated, help define Mercer's Baptist tradition (Goal 7).

Goal 4 and Goal 6: Establish a day care center at the Henry regional center for the children of the students.  It could easily be staffed with the early care and early childhood students of the center as part of their practicum and student teaching experiences.  Establishing a day care center for the children of our students would double the enrollment overnight in the regional centers.  This idea has been supported by  Dr. Penny Elkins (Educational Leadership Dean) and Crystal Frazier (Henry Center Coordinator). 

Missing Pieces: Global Perspective

I would add that there might be some emphasis or attention given to enhancing Mercer's global perspective and providing an educational experience that reflects that.

Missing Pieces: Parking

Parking on the Atlanta campus has not be addressed anywhere and must be if more growth is expected.

Missing Pieces: Safety Initiatives

I think an added goal should be addressed or possibly bulleted under administrative technology that is, "Safety in the University Enviroment".  We should have safeguards in place to alert students, faculty and staff of any impeding or eminent danger besides the cell phones recently issued to freshmen students.  Perhaps emailing or text messaging or even a different sounding alarm in the building(s)would be appropriate.  Loudspeakers located strategically around campus or some form of campus-wide alert system would be feasible. Another point I would like to add would be fire drill procedures.  Are there any in place?  Do we know where to report to in case of an actual fire?  Since I have been here at Mercer(1yr. 3 mos.) we have not had one fire drill esp. at MUSM.  Have we overlooked this?  FYI, Fire Safety Week is Oct.7-13th.

Thinks Goals Are Great

I believe the goals are very strong.  I'm proud to be a part of an institution with such lofty goals.

I think all of these goals are balanced and reasonable. If the financial base is secured these are all attainable.

I like all the other goals. [All but 7]

Appears to be all-encompassing and an exciting, aggressive agenda.

These goals are good, and a major improvement. Go Bears!

I thought the goals were broad, far-reaching and well-written. I enjoyed the presentation by our President last week. I hope we can attain these.

I applaud your focus on technology life cycles and on undergraduate research.

I am excited to see this fresh new vision for Mercer University. The goals cover a broad area of opportunities for change which will take us to a new degree of visibility by the community.

I believe this vision is achievable, straightforward, measurable, aspirational, realistic and timely.

I think  the goals that are set sound good. And it is wonderful that you always include everyone in on our targets and goals. Mercer always had the makings of being a leading private institution and this can be achieved  with the vision.

I think the goals and targets are wonderful and I would love to see them achieved. 

These are wonderful goals and I am excited by the possibility that future Mercer students will receive an enhanced liberal arts education, no matter their major.

This is a remarkable and worthwhile process.  Thank you.

The other goals are obtainable and well thought out. [Except goal 7]

The goals and targets sound very promising and hopefully will be implemented. I will continue to brainstorm on other ideas.

This is a great way to get everyone's opinion. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so. 

I have worked at Mercer 10 years and seen it grow and struggle to redefine itself. I appreciate this comprehensive plan and the work it represents.

General Comments

The aspect of SMARTness that seems to be missing is "desirable". In other words, not all these goals to me are ones desirable of achievement. Specifically, goal 1, goal 7, and goal 8.

appropriateness to Mercer should be first consideration but I suppose that is implied.

First let me say I am excited about this process.  It is great to have goals that we can tie our individual department strategies to and pull in the same direction.  That being said, the above goals seem slightly different than the draft ten year goals posted on this website.  I suspect this may be in the interest of brevity but I like the other, longer version better.  Goal 2, 3, 4 & 8 seem much more straightforward in the "longer" draft version.  I have a better idea of really what we are trying to accomplish in the longer draft version and yet they are still broad enough to allow for multiple strategies. 

Let's appreciate/celebrate the value of all of our schools by including components of their missions in our University strategic plan.

Mercer does not have to compromise atmosphere and educational model while advancing in other areas of research and scholarly activity.  This concern seems to be present both in CLA and MUSM.  The key may be in hiring new faculty who are committed to excellence in teaching but bring the spirit of scholarly collaboration to bridge gaps between faculties at Mercer and facilitate educational and research advancements at both the professional and undergraduate levels.  I hope everyone participates constructively in the effort by the UPC for the betterment of Mercer and that the administration seeks and remains receptive to constructive faculty input as the 10 year plan develops.

I am excited about the cascading web goals.  It will be a tremendous vehicle for communicating the over arching goals and how each department can may a difference.  I would love to see this taken one step further.  Specifically, a number of organizations are now cascading the goals down one or two more levels to create a web based performance management vehicle.  In this way each employee has individual goals that contribute the departmental goals/projects and in this way has some line of sight to the University vision and goals.  Additionally, this vehicle could be used to reward those employees who make exceptional contributions to these goals and objectives.  After all, if we say these are the most important things to do, we should be communicating that to all our staff and rewarding those that make it happen.  It would take some web design but certainly worth considering.

I spoke to Linda the other day but my final comment involves trust and confidentiality.  While I am happy for you to share my comments and my identity there are others where trust is quite an issue.  The cards sent out indicate that no names will be attached to any comments but then we are asked below to identify ourselves.  Perhaps there needs to be more clarification on who will see this information and how it will be used and/or provide alternate means for providing feedback -- just a thought.

The fact that the University Planning Council asked for feedback from the university community about this draft is very impressive and greatly appreciated.  However, in many institutional settings when the invitation to join the decision-making process yields responses that are not sincerely considered, disenchantment and morale problems can follow.  Please do continue to involve the rank and file in this important process.

There are certain needs across the university that highly impact the day to day operations of Mercer, but do not fit neatly into the established goal categories.  As an example, the Registrar's Office will support the academic, course related initiatives that will come from the Colleges/Schools; however, there are specific objectives pertaining to record keeping systems (preserving hard copy files/data)that do not fit within a stated goal.  Also, as all areas compete for limited funds, record keeping objectives are not likely to fare well in comparison to more exciting objectives.  Should there be some kind of commitment to address the "invisible" yet critical needs of the institution?

The above are all valuable goals to enhancing Mercer's role as a premier higher education institution.  The lack of my checking each box is not a reflection on their merit or attainability, but only my perception of those that I perceive to me more easily quantifiable in nature, i.e., measureable per the SMART standards. Point of clarification, however, goal three online is different than the goal three I've seen in hard copy.  I'm puzzled by the difference and wonder which goal is the appropriate one.

Concerns About Implementation

All goals appear logical, however, the greatest obstacle is effective implementation.  This should not be a career building exercise for those with delusions of grandeur, but a character (and university) enhancing opportunity that attracts the best possible students, faculty, administrators, and staff.  Please choose visionary managers who understand and utilize common sense, work within the team concept, are not arrogant, and are not adverse to rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty.  Students, faculty, and staff must be confident in the competency of all involved managers or the proposed vision will falter and die.

For better or worse, we often set goals, even officially, without sufficient insight into what we must do to achieve them.  So it is the next step -- the how to -- that will be more difficult, and that ball should not be dropped.  In the last 20 years, I've been through some 4-5 rounds of strategic planning, two of which I understood were University-wide.  I've yet to see how any of them evolved to anything more than another round of planning.  That is, I haven't seen outcomes/progress reports.  Did some goals/plans fail, and, if so, why?  Were some goals achieved in past strategic, and what made those initiatives successful?

Comment 1:  (1) Have an annual recap of progress.(2) How will we track the elements of each goal?  When the strategic plan refers to any timing, should there be a reference point internal to the document or is it sufficient to have “2008-2018” in the title?  For example, types of comments like “to achieve this vision…” may over time (10 years, or 15 years) lose a reference point of 2008.

Non-Strategic Comments

Not that the ones I did not choose are not Smart. I just feel they are not as smart as the ones I chose.

HOPE scholarship and location (Macon)

I think that the undergraduate programs should focus on exposing their students to different writing styles, particularly the premedical students.  These students will need to be very familiar with the APA style of writing, but are not sufficiently exposed to it in their undergraduate classes.  I went to Mercer as an undergraduate student and I am also a MPH graduate.  I feel that I was not prepared to fully understand the APA style before I graduated from the undergraduate level.  I would have benefited a lot from that learning process.

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