By Eleanor Roy, Editor-in-Chief
It’s time to talk about our future.
Stetson underwent incredible changes in the last few years, both in a physical sense, and in its overall direction as an institution of higher education. We can expect to see more changes with the implementation of a finalized strategic map, which is designed to take Stetson to the next level of academic innovation and national recognition.
This special edition of The Reporter explores how the university plans to approach the future, with some specifics about changes to the undergraduate program and the DeLand campus.
We put together this special edition because these changes affect more than the new students who will visit campus on Hatter Saturday; They affect all Hatters, from future students to alumni, faculty members and staffers. Stetson’s future is interwoven with our own, and it’s impossible to discuss major changes at your alma mater without acknowledging the implications they could have on your own life.
A long-time Stetson staffer told me that the value of your college degree isn’t determined by what your college was like during your time as a student, but rather if it is successful now. A $200,000 degree isn’t worth much if the college it came from ultimately fails, which is why we should all be vested in creating the strongest path for Stetson’s future.
Five years ago, Stetson wasn’t on a strong path because it simply wasn’t reaching its potential. We needed changes, some bigger than others, and Stetson would not have been successful in the long run if we didn’t address the direction of our institution. The new administration and Board of Trustees decided to create both short and long-term goals as shown in the strategic map and planning process, which required a few changes like increased undergraduate enrollment, landscape overhauls, building demolitions and the creation of more athletic programs.
I think this is when we lost sight of the bigger picture as a student body. These changes didn’t alter the value of your Stetson degree. They didn’t take away from what your learned in the classrooms of Elizabeth Hall or your fraternity’s chapter room, and it’s shortsighted to think otherwise. Realistically, I think these were small changes in comparison to what the university would have to do in order to reach its full potential. But the administration thought that it was necessary to make Stetson more successful in the long run.
Were they the right changes to make? Some people would tell you the changes have already paid off while others would tell you they were founded in absurdity. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but nobody really knows what the future holds. We can speculate, but the next five years of Stetson’s future are crucial in determining its long-term success.
That’s what this special edition is all about: The motivations behind potential changes, and where are we heading as a university. We have a unique opportunity to discuss Stetson’s future as it welcomes future Hatters to campus this Saturday, and it’s something The Reporter hasn’t done before.
We used a multi-dimensional approach for this special edition to address implications of the strategic map draft in different areas of the university including academics, athletics and student life. Throughout the issue, you’ll find commentary from multiple faculty members, staffers and students. Their perspectives were incredibly valuable for this project, and our whole staff is grateful for their eagerness to contribute.
This is my last print edition of The Reporter as Editor-in-Chief, and I’m excited that this issue is filled with multiple perspectives about Stetson’s future. It’s possible that we did nothing to contribute to people’s understanding of Stetson’s strategic planning or our goals for the next five years. But at the very least, we tackled this project in as many ways that we could, and I wouldn’t have it any other way for my last issue.