Gilbert looks to university’s future during higher ed workshop

President Jerome Gilbert expounded upon his long-term goals for Marshall University, which include raising enrollment and eventually raising faculty salary, at the “State of the Union for Higher Education” workshop Wednesday.

The “State of the Union for Higher Education” workshop from the Educational Advisory Board focused on national trends and long-term strategic planning for universities.

“I’m looking forward to this opportunity,” Gilbert said. “Meetings like this chart the future of Marshall, and the university can only improve and get better.”

Some long-term goals Gilbert has mentioned since the beginning of his presidency are enrollment growth, community and economic development and enhancing the marketing and national image of the university.

“Within seven years, I would like to see an enrollment of 18,000 students,” Gilbert said. “Student success is something I’m really keen about, and that also means I want to raise the graduation rate.”

The workshop, facilitated by associate director of EAB Strategic Research John Tannous, lasted from 8:15 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and was broken into different sessions on strategic planning.

Tannous said he appreciated the Long-Term Strategic Planning Committee “buckling up” for the long haul, and they would hopefully appreciate these ideas and plans in the future.

Gilbert addressed the group, saying, “It’ll be a slow process, but if you don’t have [these ideas] in your long term plans, it’ll be haphazard at best.”

Gilbert also spoke about his desire to tie Marshall University and its students into the community. Service learning, spending time and money in the community and adding value to the community were a few of the methods he mentioned.

“We need to take advantage of this opportunity,” Gilbert said. “We should be relevant to this community and adding value to the community, not just the university.”

Gilbert said within seven or eight years he wants to accomplish these goals, which may seem like a long time, but allows plenty of time for preparation.

“It’s an exciting time for the university,” said Gilbert. “Talking about the future is always exciting because you can make big plans.”

Brooke Estep can be contacted at [email protected].