Friday, March 03, 2017

At Fairmont State University, the campus community is coming together to focus on “What Matters Most.”

“During the 2017-2018 academic year, we will embark—as a campus—on a strategic planning process, leading to the development of a new strategic plan. In preparation for that process, we are using a book published last year by Peter Felten and colleagues, ‘The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most,’ to engage the campus community in a series of conversations intended to provide a foundation for our strategic planning efforts,” said Dr. Tim Oxley, Interim Vice President for Student Services.

About 130 faculty, staff and students are participating in more than 20 facilitated discussion groups, as part of a semester-long initiative launched in January 2017 titled “What Matters Most.” Felten and colleagues have identified Learning, Relationships, Expectations, Alignment, Improvement and Leadership as the things that matter most in the undergraduate experience.  The initiative is intended to engage the entire campus community in a series of small-group discussions using these six core themes as a framework for conversation. “This initiative will help our campus community prepare to engage in a meaningful, thoughtful and informed strategic planning process beginning in the fall,” said Oxley.

FSU will host Felten and co-author Charles Schroeder for a concluding celebratory event on April 17.

“The responses thus far—to the opportunity to participate in discussions, to the discussions themselves, and to the first survey—have been overwhelmingly positive,” said Dr. Robynn Shannon, Director of Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness.  “The energy and engagement level we are witnessing has confirmed that this is a worthwhile undertaking for our campus.”

Several copies of the book (both print and electronic) are available through the Ruth Ann Musick Library. Those who are interested in joining a discussion group may still do so by registering online at http://www.fairmontstate.edu/assessment-effectiveness/what-matters-most. Additional resources and information, including survey results, can also be found on the What Matters Most web page.