Strategic Plan


Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.  At the direction of past President William J. McKinney, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee led the crafting of this Strategic Plan for 2013-2019.  In Spring 2013, an external consultant helped to facilitate and collect data through a series of interviews and a day-long planning session with numerous stakeholders.  The Committee administered online surveys which provided additional data to inform plan development.  This information also helped to identify areas where the University’s talent and resources will be invested over the next six years. 

Implementation of these goals, objectives, and strategies will support our institutional mission and the University System of Georgia mission for comprehensive universities.  The plan is intended to afford agility yet contain specific metrics for success and mechanisms for assessment of that success.  Together, all members of the university community can support the Strategic Plan and our goal to promote a more educated Georgia.  Valdosta State University supports all three strategic imperatives of the University System of Georgia’s Strategic Plan, as indicated in parentheses.  [PDF Version]

Goal 1:  Recruit, Retain, and Graduate a Quality, Diverse Student Population and Prepare Students for Roles as Leaders in a Global Society

Objective 1.1: Actively pursue VSU’s Complete College Georgia Plan (CCG). 

  • Strategy 1.1.1: Develop partnerships with K-12. (USG Strategic Imperative 1a)
  • Strategy 1.1.2: Improve access and completion for students traditionally underserved. (USG Strategic Imperative 1a, 1b, 1d)
  • Strategy 1.1.3: Shorten time-to-degree. (USG Strategic Imperative 1c)
  • Strategy 1.1.4: Restructure instructional delivery. (USG Strategic Imperative 1c)
  • Strategy 1.1.5: Transform remediation. (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 1c)

Objective 1.2: Promote educational excellence in all learning environments through academic, professional, and social opportunities. 

  • Strategy 1.2.1: Provide technical support for faculty members who incorporate leading technologies (including mobile) into the curriculum.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1c, 1e)
  • Strategy 1.2.2: Engage students in discipline-based inquiry and encourage students to disseminate their research (e.g., Quality Enhancement Plan, Undergraduate and Graduate Research Symposiums, etc.).  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e)
  • Strategy 1.2.3: Promote professional development and collaboration throughout campus and beyond (e.g., IDEA Center, interdisciplinary programs, and services).  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e, 2d)
  • Strategy 1.2.4: Increase applied learning opportunities in diverse learning environments (e.g., online, national, global, Study Abroad, industrial, community).  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e, 2d)

Objective 1.3: Improve academic advising and shorten time-to-degree.

  • Strategy 1.3.1: Establish a centralized academic advising center for students with 0-30 credits.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1d)
  • Strategy 1.3.2: Provide training for professional advisors and faculty members on all educational opportunities (e.g., traditional face-to-face, hybrid, online, eMajor, eCore, Prior Learning Assessment) available to students.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1d, 1e)
  • Strategy 1.3.3: Encourage utilization of DegreeWorks and Data Warehouse tools.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1d)
  • Strategy 1.3.4: Evaluate course scheduling (e.g., sequencing, rotation, time, delivery method) within academic programs to identify barriers to degree attainment.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1c, 3b)

Objective 1.4: Create and market an institutional brand identity.

  • Strategy 1.4.1: Review best practices of institutional marketing campaigns in higher education including. (USG Strategic Imperative, 3c)
  • Strategy 1.4.2: Draw attention to the university’s legacy as a student-centered, caring, comprehensive institution.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e)
  • Strategy 1.4.3: Use targeted marketing and communication to enroll more high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3b)

Goal 2: Increase Financial Support for the Institution

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of gifts received and the total dollar amount of gifts raised with a focus on student scholarship support. 

  • Strategy 2.1.1:  Evaluate current University Advancement staffing level and task staff members to prioritize efforts toward donor research and development.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a, 3b)
  • Strategy 2.1.2:  Conduct an annual scholarship campaign aimed at college-specific scholarship funds.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 1d, 3a)
Objective 2.2: Increase the total number of donors and the total amount of gifts to the annual fund campaign. 
  • Strategy 2.2.1:  Increase the frequency of direct-mail solicitations to alumni and friends.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a)
  • Strategy 2.2.2:  Place a greater emphasis on updated communications platforms for alumni and friends.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a)
  • Strategy 2.2.3:  Increase frequency of phone-a-thon solicitation and thank-you calls.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a)

Objective 2.3: Increase the alumni giving rate. 

  • Strategy 2.3.1:  Increase alumni engagement opportunities.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a)
  • Strategy 2.3.2:  Develop a student-education campaign on the importance of giving after graduation.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a)

Objective 2.4: Educate faculty and staff about the importance of their gifts and increase the faculty/staff giving rate and the total dollar amount of faculty/staff gifts. 

  • Strategy 2.4.1:  Engage Deans, Directors, and Department Heads in an education campaign for faculty and staff.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a)
  • Strategy 2.4.2:  Utilize more faculty and staff volunteers in the annual faculty/staff campaign.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3a)

Objective 2.5: Conduct a comprehensive capital campaign.  

  • Strategy 2.5.1:  Engage professional fundraising counsel to externally assess the feasibility of a comprehensive campaign.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b)
  • Strategy 2.5.2:  Using the feasibility study and the strategic plan as a guide, establish funding priorities, conduct donor identification and rating, solicit donors, and steward donors.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b)

 Goal 3:  Promote Student, Employee, Alumni, Retiree, and Community Engagement in our Mission

Objective 3.1: Promote a diversity-rich, student-centered environment by engaging in inclusive social, civic, cultural, professional, and intellectual activities.

  • Strategy 3.1.1: Develop targeted marketing and communication to engage current students.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1b, 3b)
  • Strategy 3.1.2: Increase activity and involvement of students and alumni, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e, 2d)

Objective 3.2: Develop a campus-wide coordinating infrastructure to secure and provide external recognition for community engagement.

  • Strategy 3.2.1: Implement a student co-curricular transcript software module to support community engagement.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e, 2b)
  • Strategy 3.2.2: Identify methods to formally recognize community engagement.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3a)
  • Strategy 3.2.3: Emphasize community engagement in marketing materials.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2b)
  • Strategy 3.2.4: Develop mechanisms to record and measure the impact of institutional and student involvement with our community.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1d, 3a)
  • Strategy 3.2.5: Develop mechanisms to record and measure the impact of community involvement on our students and institution.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1d, 3a)

Objective 3.3: Enhance our role as a comprehensive institution and economic leader for South Georgia.

  • Strategy 3.3.1: Engage in transparent and consistent communication with internal and external stakeholders.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3b)
  • Strategy 3.3.2: Create entrepreneurial partnerships to engage with industry, other USG institutions, and state agencies.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2a, 2b)
  • Strategy 3.3.3: Closely engage members of the Georgia General Assembly, congressional delegation, and local stakeholders with the institution.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2b)

Goal 4: Foster an Environment of Creativity and Scholarship

Objective 4.1: Serve as a center for higher education research and development.

  • Strategy 4.1.1: Prepare faculty to be leaders in teaching, research, and service.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2a, 2c)
  • Strategy 4.1.2: Facilitate entrepreneurial efforts by departments to discover new avenues of financial and community support.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2a, 2c)
  • Strategy 4.1.3: Review and clarify policies for tenure and promotion (e.g., including workload, reassigned time, advising load) for each academic college.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3a)

Objective 4.2: Increase sponsored research and grants in number and size of awards.

  • Strategy 4.2.1: Allocate resources to support grant writing and grant administration.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2a, 2c, 3b)
  • Strategy 4.2.2: Expand research capacity by identifying and cultivating new sources of support.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2a, 2c)

Goal 5: Develop and Enhance Valdosta State’s Human and Physical Resources

Objective 5.1: Prepare all employees to be successful throughout their careers. 

  • Strategy 5.1.1: Attract and retain talented employees from diverse backgrounds with a high potential for success.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3a, 3b)
  • Strategy 5.1.2: Conduct an annual salary market analysis for full-time employees and act upon that analysis within budgetary constraints.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3a, 3b)
  • Strategy 5.1.3: Provide campus-wide opportunities for employees to further enhance their technical and professional skills.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e)

Objective 5.2: Elevate service excellence.

  • Strategy 5.2.1: Improve office-to-office culture of service.  Promote the Partners for Campus Excellence program, particularly for new employees.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3b)
  • Strategy 5.2.2: Evaluate internal policies and processes for redundancies and inefficiencies. Utilize technology to streamline paperwork.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3b, 3c)
  • Strategy 5.2.3: Improve institutional capacity to sufficiently meet the needs of the institution and its students (e.g., staffing and process assessment).  (USG Strategic Imperative 3b, 3c)

Objective 5.3: Engage in concise, inclusive, and purposeful planning.

  • Strategy 5.3.1: Conduct periodic review of policies to ensure that programs and services fully address issues of student needs and interests, employer requirements (especially in South Georgia), quality, costs, and centrality to the institution’s mission. Engage in ongoing and rigorous assessment of those programs and services to demonstrate accomplishment of mission, goals, and outcomes.  (USG Strategic Imperative 1e, 2a, 3b, 3c, 3d)
  • Strategy 5.3.2: Identify campus areas to become environmentally sustainable.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3b)
  • Strategy 5.3.3: Design a new master facilities plan which includes targeted areas of growth (e.g., academic, research, housing, and/or recreational facilities).  (USG Strategic Imperative 3a, 3b, 3d)
  • Strategy 5.3.4: Improve efficiency and quality of existing physical resources while at the same time protecting those resources.  (USG Strategic Imperative 3b)
  • Strategy 5.3.5: Participate with local businesses and government leaders in city or regional strategic planning.  (USG Strategic Imperative 2b)

Created by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee; finalized August 27, 2013.
Approved by the President’s Cabinet, September 16, 2013. 
Information item for the Planning and Budget Council, September 20, 2013. 
Information item for the University Council, September 30, 2013.
Forwarded to the University System of Georgia, April 7, 2014.

Our Planning Components

Our Strategic Plan is the overarching document that captures what we hope to accomplish from a broad perspective. The Master Plan is the document approved by the Board of Regents which outlines our projected campus needs in terms of our physical and functional relationships. The Budget Plan is approved by Board of Regents for a given fiscal year and includes additional Initiative requests supported by strategic funds as approved through the Planning and Budget Council (PBC). The Facilities Plan is managed by our Facilities Planning Advisory group. This group is responsible for managing the work flow of our physical growth; including requests for renovations and space usage changes, as well as implementation Master Plan construction projects. The External Plan refers to the work of the Division of University Advancement, which coordinates alumni outreach, fundraising, and the University Foundation. Each of these components plays a crucial part in our overall planning effort at VSU.

VSU Strategic Planning 2013

This is an exciting time to be at Valdosta State University! With a new university president, we are ready to begin the important task of building our new University Strategic Plan. The University Strategic Planning Committee consists of broad representation from our University and community. These committee members will guide strategic planning efforts to include design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of goals.

Documents will be posted to this web page and opportunities for your input will be requested at various intervals during the process. Your role in planning at VSU is to participate in this challenging process by setting lofty goals but balancing them with realistic expectations. Envision how you can be a part of progress within the university and work to accomplish that within your unit.






Identify an external consultant to assist with plan development

October 2012

Identify members to serve on a Strategic Planning Committee

February 11-14, 2013




Conduct on-campus interviews with VSU faculty, staff and student and community representatives

March 27, 2013

Conduct an on-campus planning retreat and focus groups with VSU faculty, stuff, and students and community representatives

March 27, 2013

Solicit input from the entire campus community through open forum(s) and/or website

April 2013



Analyze data collected from interviews and focus groups

May-June 2013

Draft Strategic Plan

May-June 2013

Present final plan to Strategic Planning Committee, Planning and Budget Council, and University Council

late July 2013


Submit Strategic Plan to USG

August 2013


Publicize and implement new Strategic Plan

August 2013


Monitor and evaluate implementation of plan

August 2013 forward



During this planning process, your ideas and suggestions are welcomed. Send them to one of the following individuals:

  • Dr. Brian L. Gerber, Committee Chair, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • Committee members: Dr. Michael Black (Academic Affairs Representative), Mr. Stanley Jones (Enrollment Services Representative), Dr. Donald Thieme (Faculty Senate Representative), Dr. Darrell Ross (Department Heads Representative), Dr. Mike Savoie (Honors Representative), Dr. Jay Rickman (Faculty Representative), Ms. Traycee Martin (Finance and Administration Representative), Dr. Alan Bernstein (Deans' Council Representative), Ms. Shannon McGee (Auxiliary Services Representative), Ms. Bonnie Martin (University Advancement Representative), Dr. Lorraine Schmertzing (Faculty Representative), Mr. Keith Warburg (COSA Representative), Mr. David Burdette (Student Government Association Representative)

Previous VSU Strategic Plans

USG Strategic Planning