Cleveland State Community College is launching a set of meetings this week that could determine how the college runs in the future.
Three sessions taking place today, Thursday and Monday will kick off the college’s efforts to create the “Cleveland State 2020 Community First Plan.”
President Bill Seymour said the meetings that are set to include local leaders in fields like business and education will allow the college to create a “strategic plan” to outline the goals the college should strive to meet by the year 2020.
“We’re using the ‘community first’ mindset as the driver of this whole thing. ... We exist to serve the community,” Seymour said. “This is what’s going to guide us for the next five years.”
The meetings, which were designed to begin before students return to the campus for classes later this month, will allow faculty, staff and community members to begin brainstorming ideas for the five-year plan.
Seymour said the roughly 30 community members who have confirmed invitations to attend the meetings include business leaders, local government officials, those in leadership at local nonprofits, members of the college’s foundation board, members of local civic clubs and school system officials.
Topics discussed could run the gamut from financial matters to enrollment numbers, from alumni relations to the degree programs the college offers. It will be up to the participants to decide.
“I don’t know what the goals are,” Seymour said. “This is not going to be a top-down-driven process.”
Though he said he does have ideas in mind for the future of the college, the community input given during the meetings will help the college decide which goals should take top priority.
Each meeting will follow a similar format. After being given an introduction to the college and its planning process, participants will divide into groups to determine the current strengths and weaknesses of the college as well as their visions for the college’s future.
After various small and large-group discussions, participants in each meeting will have an opportunity to vote on which areas they as a group want to see the college place at the top of its priority list.
The meetings on campus to discuss the state of the college with leaders in Bradley County represent just one set of meetings that will be taking place as part of the planning. Seymour said the college intends to hold similar meetings in the other four counties the college serves — McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk.
The dates and locations for the meetings in those counties have not been finalized, but he said the hope is to hold them at locations in each county.
Seymour said the current goal is to have all the local meetings wrapped up by the end of October, when subcommittees of college faculty and staff will be formed to address the areas deemed to be the most important to the plan. By the end of December, it is expected that a rough draft of the plan will be made available. The plan would likely be finalized in January.
As the meetings continue and other progress is made in composing the plan, he said the college’s marketing department will also be creating a new blog website that will update the community on how everything is going.
“This is the beginning of a long but important process,” Seymour said. “If you don’t know what your goals are, it’s very difficult to accomplish anything.”