Editorial: Our five suggestions for UP’s five-year strategic plan

By The Beacon | March 2, 2016 6:27pm

UP’s administration is drafting a strategic plan of the University’s goals and expectations for the next five years.

The previous five-year plan (2011-2016) included goals such as reducing the university’s energy use, building and upgrading infrastructure around campus and increasing the percentage of students who study abroad. Some of these goals were reached, others were not — including providing faculty and staff with competitive salaries.

This year, the University identified its goals, but they left us with some concerns. So we wanted to outline five important goals we want to see included in the five-year plan. Given our status as students, given our insight as beat reporters and interviewers and given our values as individuals, we think the following goals reflect the biggest concerns students have.

  1. By 2021, we want to see an administration that is significantly more diverse. If even half of the administrators in Waldschmidt were women, people of color and non-priests, it could dramatically alter the way our community sees and addresses diversity. Diverse leadership could increase the hiring of diverse faculty. Diverse leadership would lead to expanded awareness and ultimately better inclusion.
  2. By 2021, we want to see more competitive pay for faculty and staff. As community members, we want everyone at UP to be taken care of. And as students, we pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to attend this institution, and we deserve the best education UP has to offer. If we’re not taking care of the staff and faculty that work at this institution, there’s no way we’re getting the most out of our time here.
  3. By 2021, we want to see cultural diversity and cultural competence courses included in the core curriculum. Throughout this year, and for many years before now, students have expressed a desire for cultural inclusion and education. And given various incidents of microaggressions and cultural appropriation on campus, we need that sort of education.
  4. By 2021, we want to see a new student center on campus. Community is an important value the University claims to espouse, but actual, tangible space goes a long way in fostering community, and in that respect, the University has dropped the ball. St. Mary’s is not an open, inviting or accessible location for student activities. And a new student center would provide a better, more accessible location for a diversity office, which this university also desperately needs.
  5. And lastly, by 2021, we want to see improved and expanded parking. We know that students, commuter or otherwise, waste valuable time searching for an unattainable parking spot on campus. And, again, infrastructure — or lack thereof — sends subtle messages to students, staff and visitors about community about openness. A lack of parking accessibility sends an unwelcoming message.
A lot of these goals align with the larger targeted actions the University identified in their five-year plan. And while there are many important improvements this University needs to make, we think the five listed above are of the greatest priority to students on this campus. And we have the student voices to prove it.

Almost every issue of The Beacon over the past few years has addressed some issue on diversity, inclusion or community. And within every article The Beacon publishes there are students’ voices quoted, students’ faces captured and students’ hearts reflected. Let the five-year plan reflect the voices, faces and hearts of the largest part of the UP community. Let the five-year plan reflect us.