President Jo Allen, ‘80, presented her first State of the College address on Tuesday, Aug. 9. After sharing some of her earliest memories of her days as a Meredith student, Allen offered faculty and staff insight into her goals for the 2011-12 academic year and beyond.
Allen said Meredith College is “fortunate to enjoy a position of strength, with a talented and strong faculty dedicated to excellence in teaching; an active and wise Board of Trustees; professional and dedicated staff who are student-focused; a qualified and healthy enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students; a broad base of loyal and successful alumnae … and an endowment and finances that are strong and will be stronger.”
Recognizing that Meredith has also faced challenges during the economic downturn, Allen said the College is now “on firmer footing but we are mindful of ongoing effects of the economy, of opportunities recognized or lost, and of strategic visions and financial support for our next steps.”
With these strengths and challenges in mind, Allen then offered characteristics of good colleges that she has researched, observed and experienced during her 25 years as an academic administrator and faculty member. According to Allen, good colleges begin with a solid plan and connect their planning process to matters of reality and accountability.
She peppered the speech with biographical details meant to help Meredith employees get to know her. One of the most vivid descriptions used her experience on a hot air balloon crew. To illustrate the importance of a strong strategic plan, Allen compared a balloon ride’s uncertain destination with the more certain track offered by a commercial airliner.
“Schools without a clearly articulated plan wander at the mercy of the winds,” Allen said, noting that Meredith is in the early stages of creating its next strategic plan, a process that will include the entire Meredith community.
While the College’s strategic goals have not yet been solidified, Allen shared one of her own goals – to “create an environment that celebrates and embraces the wonder of the Meredith mission – the opportunity to work with and empower students to change their lives.”
Allen said she values the College’s employees, and knows that Meredith’s success depends on all faculty and staff.
“I thank you for your support and your confidence in me in helping to chart that pathway and I look forward not only to an exceptional year with you, but an exceptional life.”
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Have you presented research or attended a professional meeting recently? Has your department earned an award? Share news of these accomplishments and more with the Meredith community. Faculty and staff are invited to email items to Melyssa Allen, “Campus Connections” editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.