Averett’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2020

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2009-2014 Strategic Planning Goals & Top Achievements

Continuously Improving Academics

Averett is continuously improving the quality of its academic programs. We strive to provide a high quality academic experience that fulfills the University’s mission, addresses the needs of our students and meets future market employment demands.

  • Adopted new general education curriculum putting the University’s mission and liberal arts emphasis into action. Students complete a service-learning course, serve in an internship, perform primary research or engage in a study abroad experience.
  • Established Service-Learning program.
  • Established Autism Studies program led by a director and the Carrington Autism Resources Center for teachers, service providers and families. Currently launching online certificate program.
  • Launched new academic programs for traditional students including the BS in Nursing; BS degrees in Political Science, History and Politics, History/Social Science with Secondary Teaching Licensure; minor in Women and Gender Studies (BA in English); and minor in Economics (BS/BA in Business Administration).
  • Launched new academic programs for adults (GPS) students including the ASB; the RN to BSN; the BS in Criminal Justice; the MEd in Special Education; the MEd in Administration and Supervision; and the Master’s of Accountancy. Additionally, all GPS programs have been redeveloped for online delivery including the BBA, the MBA and the MEd in Curriculum and Instruction. MBA Graduate Certificates have been established in Leadership, Marketing, Human Resources and are being offered online. Program development has been initiated and is in process for the establishment of a BBA Concentration in Health Care Administration and a BS in Public Administration.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranking: From never mentioned in the rankings until 2010 to among top 25 (#23) Best Regional Colleges in the South in 2013-2014. Averett is now the highest-ranking Virginia school among the 74 top tier schools listed as Regional Colleges.
  • The Princeton Review ranked Averett as one of the “Best in the Southeast” in its “2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region” guide. 2013-2014 was the first year Princeton Review has ever included Averett on its prestigious list.
  • Colleges of Distinction named Averett a 2013-2014 College of Distinction, “chosen for its continued commitment to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes.”
  • Washington Monthly selected Averett as a top regional university in the South.
  • Expansion of Student Success Services and outreach to students including innovative writing support and outreach, 24/7 study space for students.
  • Established Study Abroad office led by a full-time faculty member and expanded its outreach to students and support of faculty.
  • Career Services office now works with more than 40 companies to place Averett students in internships (paid and unpaid).
  • Instituted new processes and procedures for distance learning and other processes to improve program effectiveness.
  • Averett now approved to deliver online education in 26 states.
  • Average GPA of entering traditional students rose from 2.95 in 2008 to 3.17 in 2013.
  • Average SAT of entering traditional students rose from 927 in 2008 to 951 in 2013.

Building and Maintaining State-of-the-Art Facilities

Averett pledges to build and maintain “state-of-the-art” buildings and properties to recruit and retain high quality students and increase the University’s and our region’s visibility as a major cultural, athletic and educational center. A campus Master Plan will be developed to guide Averett in achieving this goal.

  • Opened the Schoolfield House Booksellers as a multi-use destination.
  • Expanded and integrated academic and other student support services into the Galesi Student Success Center.
  • Established Averett Central to improve quality of service to students as well as efficiency for staff by converting first floor of Main Hall and relocating student accounts, financial aid and the registrar’s office in one location.
  • Converted former Dimon building into the new Riverview Campus to serve as home for Averett’s Graduate and Professional Studies program including classrooms, administrative offices, and adjunct faculty offices and a $2.6 million Health Sciences Innovative Practice Center.
  • Upgraded 15 classrooms with best-in-class teaching and learning technologies.
  • Completed the Violet T. Frith Fine Arts Center — a $2.3 million Phase One renovation of Pritchett Auditorium.
  • Phase One of $6.5 million Sports Complex – Daly Field and new lights – completed.
  • New $200,000 indoor hitting and pitching facility completed.
  • Phase One conversion of first floor of Mary Blount Library to “Academic Commons.”
  • Invested $6 million in addressing deferred maintenance and property/campus upgrades.
  • Completed a facilities Master Plan for Danville campus.
  • Completed major upgrades to the Averett Flight Center including state-of-the-art technology, branding and beautification.
  • Creation of the Frith Hall Plaza.
  • Upgrading of 2nd floor of Main Hall and beautification of the exterior Main Hall walkway and entrance.
  • Rehabilitation of all residence halls: Renovated restrooms, new windows, furniture, paint, increased wireless capacity.
  • Significant improvement of curb appeal and campus beautification.
  • Established new Richmond GPS campus at Watkins Centre.

Increasing Community Outreach and Enrollment

Averett will increase enrollment while retaining the small classes and vibrant residential community that are vital to the Averett experience. The University will market itself as a recognized educational, economic and cultural resource for the Dan River region.

  • 14% increase in total traditional students from 2008-2013 (789-915).
  • 21% increase in number of new traditional students from 2008-2012.
  • Three years of record enrollment in the traditional entering class.
  • 10% increase in retention since 2008.
  • 153% increase in international students from 2008-2013.
  • From 0 to over 300 online students in 14 months.
  • Established 25 articulation agreements with community colleges, Richard Bland, Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Mary Baldwin, and many others in order to increase opportunities for attracting new students as well as providing Averett graduates with exciting pathways to graduate programs.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, Averett has been ranked among the top 20 percent of America’s most military-friendly schools by G.I. Jobs Magazine and the University was recognized in 2014 as a Best for Vet school.
  • Averett University receives the inaugural Pinnacle Award in recognition of its entrepreneurial leadership throughout the community by the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.
  • As the region’s hometown university, Averett has become an integral part of the community with active participation by faculty and staff on many boards, civic organizations, downtown redevelopment, etc.
  • Reconciled the University’s historic relationship with the Baptist General Association of VA.
  • Launched the University’s first comprehensive capital campaign and to date, raised over $25 million.
  • University named one of Virginia’s top colleges for return on investment by Affordable Colleges Online.
  • Expanded the responsibilities of the dean of admissions position to include enrollment management.
  • Created a new campus visit experience that begins with personalized parking and showcases the University and is led by a campus guest coordinator.
  • Established a Scholarship Day admissions program as a means of attracting students with higher academic ability.
  • Established a dramatic display of lights throughout the campus to celebrate the holiday season that is an inspiration not only on campus, but to visitors from all over throughout the holidays.
  • Launched the Averett Society to increase annual giving which today has 140 members.
  • Conducted comprehensive market research that resulted in the Big Dreams Bold Futures brand.
  • Raised $3.8 million for scholarships.
  • Over 200 Averett students participated in two Days to Engage in 2013-2014.
  • Selected as the only university in Virginia to host the Passport Christian Youth Mission program that has resulted in 2,700 youth coming to campus for the past three years who perform volunteer service throughout our community.
  • Launched the Cougar Challenge STEM program for middle schoolers.
  • Launched “Shining Stars,” an academic development program for selected junior high students to mentor them through high school graduation.
  • Launched a community-wide program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King that grew from 40 participants in the first year to over 350 in 2014.
  • Launched a community-wide conversation about college and career readiness, held an Education Summit and initiated a collective impact conversation and strategic thinking process with community stakeholders related to the launch of a Cradle to Career collaboration.
  • Sponsored major GPS Job Fairs in three regions of Virginia, attracting hundreds of prospective employers and connecting them with job seekers.

Caring for Our People and Processes

Averett will support our exemplary people, and attract and retain the best talent, by leveraging new communication technologies and processes, creating a more collaborative culture and providing the professional development opportunities needed for our faculty, staff and students to achieve their big dreams and bold futures at Averett.

  • Established vehicles for improving internal communication such as Moodle, Coffee Break and new Intranet.
  • Established the Leadership Forum for all mid-level managers, faculty/staff council chairs and strategic planning chairs to gain greater involvement, input, ownership and leadership for institutional issues and campus-wide communication.
  • Established a Director of Human Resources position and created a Human Resources Committee to facilitate communication across campus on human resource topics important to the University community.
  • Established the Faculty & Staff Appreciation Luncheon, celebrating milestones of service.
  • Initiated Sun Porch process by the president as a means of engaging faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community in envisioning the University’s future. The initial Sun Porch series led to the establishment of the 2009 -2014 Strategic Plan with six areas of strategic focus.
  • Assessed the 2009-2014 planning process for needed improvements, conducted Sun Porch 2.0 with representatives from all campus constituencies and developed Averett’s 2020 Strategic Plan that includes four themes which provide strategic focus as well as a strategy map which is a one-page visual roadmap that lays out our compelling future.
  • Determined peer and aspirant institutions and completed benchmarking study on faculty and staff salaries.
  • Increased faculty/staff compensation by 9 percent, invested $250,000 in salary equity adjustments, and increased retirement match by 1 percent.
  • Administered Great Colleges to Work For survey as a means of assessing faculty and staff satisfaction.

Enriching Our Student Life

Averett’s students, faculty and staff will collaborate to create University-wide experiences while engaging and mentoring students in meaningful decision-making. Averett is student-centered and supports success in an environment of mutual respect.

  • Transformed Office of Student Activities into Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development.
  • Developed a comprehensive summer new student and parent orientation program.
  • Established a Chaplaincy position and developed a dynamic and growing Religious Life program that includes regular meetings and outreach to the entire campus community.
  • Established the Senior Experience program, including senior pinning, Skill of a Meal, resume preparation, senior graduation program, etc.
  • Established new initiatives to develop student leadership, including a young leaders conference, bi-annual student leadership conferences, and a recognition program for student leaders.
  • Developed programs designed for Commuter Students to better support them and encourage them to become more engaged.
  • Placed major emphasis on engaging students in community service through participation in Dan River Region Day(s) to Engage; the establishment of a Community Service day each semester; a Random Acts of Kindness program; and, through implementation of a Community Service Fair with participation from 20 community service agencies.
  • Won conference championships in men’s basketball and women’s soccer, and a won a divisional championship in volleyball.
  • Since 2009, Averett president and her spouse hosted entering students through IDS classes at the residence to welcome them and to hear their reflections on what they like the most about Averett as well as their suggestions for improvement.
  • University recognized as one of the three safest colleges and universities in VA by stateuniversity.com.
  • Established international housing to support growing population of international students.
  • Increased student participation in University committees – e.g., Strategic Planning Student Life Committee, Building and Properties, Academics, and more.
  • Established new student organizations such as Gospel Choir, Averett Dance team, Averett Pep Band, Rotaract, and Enactus.
  • Established community forums through SGA on topics including IT, Meal Service, Security, future use of Juts Café, Mail Room, etc.
  • Enlarged the scope and capacity of the campus shuttle system.
  • Established a Veterans Lounge.
  • Upgraded space, services and offerings at Jut’s Café.
  • Expanded the number of student lounges in the residence halls.
  • Entered into a collaboration with Danville Regional Medical Center for Student Health services.
  • Increased the number of casual seating locations in residence halls and public spaces.
  • Expanded the hours of tutoring at the Student Success Center.
  • Administered the NSSE survey for baseline data from students.
  • Established survey document and protocol for student feedback related to campus services.
  • Implemented community service projects for GPS students, including Bowl-A-Rama with Big Brother and Big Sisters, Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia, CARITAS, and more.
  • Ginger Henderson selected as National International Dressage Association Coach of the Year.
  • Selected to host the 2014 National Championships for the International Dressage Association.
  • Finished in the top 10 in the 2014 IDA National Championship competition and had a reserve national champion at 1st level.

Equipping Averett’s People with Cutting-Edge Technologies

Averett University will leverage instructional and administrative technology to enrich student learning. The University commits to equipping classrooms and offices with cutting-edge technological solutions, and to delivering effective and regular technology training to all Averett students, faculty and staff.

  • Hired instructional technologist to assist and support faculty in maximizing the effective and progressive use of technology in the classroom, develop effective online courses, and provide needed ongoing faculty development in the technology arena (37 training sessions have been provided on various topics).
  • Completed major upgrades in technology, including expansion of the campus internet and replacement of significant portions of the University’s network (replaced with updated switching to improve network performance following a network analysis conducted by the ITS department).
  • Created best-in-class simulation learning labs for nursing students.
  • Purchased three airplanes and best-in-class simulation software/equipment for Aeronautics program.
  • Implemented needed technology training for faculty and staff.
  • Hired new Chief Information Officer (CIO), network administrator, and systems administrator to address information technology planning and service in a proactive manner.
  • Beginning Fall 2012, replaced 38 faculty computers with laptops, 40 staff computers with new systems, expanded the campus wireless infrastructure, virtualized 10 servers, implemented state-of-the-art network monitoring and management software, completed all technology implementation in the Health Sciences Innovative Practice Center, including 24 new cameras for instructional purposes, and made significant improvements to the technological infrastructure supporting the Mountain View Apartments and Graduate Assistant housing.
  • Created Information Technology Committee (ITC) to facilitate communication across campus on information technology topics important to the University community.
  • Implemented Live Chat, an online advisor chat, for prospective GPS students.
  • Created a computer lab for Nursing and GPS students.
  • Secured new video equipment for in-house production of videos.

This list is in no way meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it is meant to reflect many of the major accomplishments in support of the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan.