SRU’s new strategic plan outlines its commitment to becoming a ‘first-choice organization’


President Riley presenting the strategic plan

Slippery Rock University President Karen Riley speaks at an assembly, April 16, introducing the University’s new strategic plan to the campus community.

April 16, 2024

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University President Karen Riley introduced SRU's new strategic plan, April 16, at an assembly attended by members of the campus community. Titled "Slippery Rock University, The First Choice," the strategic plan builds on the University's tradition of excellence while setting the expectations and charting a course for SRU to thrive in the coming years.

"There must be an expectation of excellence, from within this organization and from those who come here to learn and to grow," Riley said. "Mediocrity has never been an option at The Rock, and we cannot be content with the status quo."

The plan brings direction to SRU becoming a first-choice organization that is centered on students, expects excellence and fosters growth of employees, while also positioning the University to serve the community and be responsive to the everchanging future of work.

"A first-choice organization means that SRU will become a first choice for students, first choice for employees, first choice for employers and first choice for partners," Riley said. "In the coming years, we will be less defined by the traditional labels assigned to higher education, such as a place to pursue a degree or credential. To adapt to societal changes, our charge is to advance human development -- to join with individuals at all stages in their lives and facilitate their growth. Recognizing the need for SRU to evolve in this manner has informed our strategic plan."

The strategic planning process, which began in spring 2021, involved many contributions from across the campus community. Four themes, or "pillars," emerged that will guide the University's decisions and actions for the next six years and beyond. They include SRU's commitment to:

  1. a robust, supportive, and inclusive culture;
  2. academic discovery and growth;
  3. community impact and collaboration;
  4. and financial sustainability and resource stewardship.

"We must honor these commitments through action," Riley said. "Our strategic plan is just that -- a plan that allows us to realize our goals, but it means nothing unless we do the work."

The University is now entering the implementation phase of its strategic planning process. Working groups of SRU faculty and staff are forming to identify and develop action items to make the strategic plan effective.

Riley thanked several people have already contributed to the strategic plan, including Michelle Amodei, associate professor of elementary education and early childhood, and John Rindy, assistant vice president for career and academic progress, who served as the co-chairs of the University Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

"The plan is exciting because it is reflective of the passion and dedication of those who are members of our Slippery Rock University community," Riley said. "We will need everyone, including current faculty and staff, alumni and friends, to implement this ambitious plan. We are confident in our future because SRU has historically appreciated and embraced the work necessary to realize our goals. I look forward to working with all of you as we move forward in realizing the next chapter for The Rock."

The strategic plan is available on the University website, including action statements and narratives for each of the four pillars.

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