UM Strategic Plan coming to fruition in final year
By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – With undergraduate enrollment at the University of Montevallo expected to break 2,600 this fall, faculty and staff have been busy making preparations.
Their efforts have paved the way for UM’s Strategic Plan for 2009-2014 to become a reality. The plan’s five broad themes–supporting the university’s mission, its diversity and its physical infrastructures; establishing non-traditional revenue streams and strengthening community partnerships–have been addressed both intentionally and unintentionally by recent endeavors.
Regarding physical infrastructures, UM President John Stewart said campus employees have been working on a $3 million project to renovate the largest dormitory on campus as well as a $1 million project to renovate the cafeteria.
New restaurants, including a Moe’s Southwest Grill, a Starbucks and an Einstein Bros. Bagels, have also been added to campus, Stewart said.
Campus improvements also come alongside a heightened university presence downtown and, consequently, strengthened community partnerships. A brand-new Barnes & Noble College bookstore opened on Main Street Aug. 1, and just a few doors down Montevallo on Main will open Aug. 23, which will house dozens of classrooms as well as the department of social and behavioral sciences.
“(These projects) really touch on so many different parts of the plan,” said Senior Vice President for Administrative Affairs Michelle Johnston. “There wasn’t a goal that said open a book store on Main Street, just like there wasn’t a goal that said move the social and behavioral sciences’ facilities to Main Street. But in theme three, we talk about facilities, and goal five is about partnerships.
“It’s been agile enough to be able to respond to new opportunities that have come up but still stay on course for where we’re going.”
Recent goals accomplished include raising faculty and staff salaries, adding more intercollegiate athletic teams, approving the launch of a comprehensive fundraising campaign and increasing partnerships with the city and county through the Montevallo Development Cooperative District, Johnston said.
“With any plan, you pursue everything that’s in the plan,” she said. “The essence of what was there, we’ve pursued, though how we envisioned (the plan) would play out is different in reality.”
The university will also address growth by adding new faculty and courses. Provost and Vice President or Academic Affairs Suzanne Ozment said the university will welcome six new faculty members this fall, one of which is filling a new slot. UM will also conduct searches for two new full-time faculty members throughout the upcoming school year.