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Transforming Today for Tomorrow: Clayton State University Launches Strategic Plan

(April 15, 2024) - A new era is underway at Clayton State University, as the institution’s future groundwork for success was officially launched on Thursday, April 11, at Spivey Hall.

president lewis

The university’s new 2024-2027 Strategic Plan: “Transforming Today for Tomorrow” was enthusiastically introduced by President Dr. Georj Lewis, who said that discussions for the new plan began shortly after he first arrived on campus.

“When I arrived in February 2023, we had a strategic plan that had actually expired,” Lewis said. “We didn’t have a playbook.”

But at Clayton State University, that is no longer the case.

Lewis called the university’s new strategic plan “a testament to our institutional commitment to social mobility and positive transformation to better the lives of our engaging and resilient student body.”

He also believes the plan carries a strong ability to influence “the trajectory of Atlanta’s southern crescent and beyond.”

2027 Strategic PlanAt the presentation, Lewis admitted that, to some, it may have seemed impossible for the institution to successfully prepare both a complete and effective strategic and enrollment plan in just 10 months.

But the president, confident in his team, said that Clayton State is already witnessing progress in action to build off of for the duration of “Transforming Today for Tomorrow.”

“Our retention rate from Fall 2022-2023 was actually the highest it’s been since 2012 – the second highest it’s been in 20 years,” Lewis said. “In the spring, we were up [in enrollment] five percent. We are in the beginning phase of the next phase of the history Clayton State University ... all of us here have an opportunity to leave some type of legacy.”

Clayton State’s three-year strategic plan also highlights the university’s core values of Adaptability, Collaboration, Excellence, Integrity, and remaining People-Centered while focusing on four priority areas of focus – Building Academic and Career Pathways, Driving Student Success and Social Mobility, Growing Enrollment, and Increasing Community and Corporate Engagement.

And to ensure the plan’s success immediately from launch, each pillar of it is being overseen by various implementation team “Champions”.

Dean of the School of Graduate Studies Dr. Celeste Walley-Jean will oversee Building Academic and Career Pathways, Director of the Center for Academic Success Jada Mitchell will oversee Driving Student Success and Social Mobility, VP of Enrollment, Marketing and Student Success, Dr. Ashlee Spearman, will take charge of Growing Enrollment, and VP for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives Dr. Montrese Adger Fuller will manage Increasing Community and Corporate Engagement.

Social Mobility arguably received the greatest focus in “Transforming Today for Tomorrow” from Pres. Lewis, who said his vision is to see Clayton State University “be the number one institution for Social Mobility in Georgia and beyond.”

Dr. Antoinette France-Harris, one of the strategic plan’s co-chairs and an associate professor & coordinator in Legal Studies, spoke highly on the university’s further priority of social mobility, which Clayton State had previously been recognized for by US News & World Report as the #38 Top Performer on the subject in 2023.

“Our mission is our enduring purpose – social mobility,” France-Harris said. “With social mobility, what we’re talking about is transforming the lives of our students through education using those tools that we already have at our disposal – teaching, scholarship, and service.”

France-Harris continued by saying that for the next three years, Clayton State University’s goal is to “commit to continue”  that mission all while focusing on its more “short-term” vision of creating a positive impact for the state of Georgia and beyond.

“We’ll do that through broadening access to education and through the process of workforce development,” France-Harris said.

Similar to its priority areas of focus, “Transforming Today for Tomorrow” also includes four foundational capabilities with its own representative sets of signature initiatives and success measures to track the university’s executive progress – Achieving Financial Sustainability, Advancing Operational Excellence, Enhancing University Well-Being, and Strengthening Reputation and Brand Awareness.

Each capability was also revealed by France-Harris to have one champion overseeing its effectiveness during the  implementation period.

Vice President of Business and Operations Nick Henry will oversee Financial Sustainability, Strategic Plan Co-Chair and VP of Information and Technology Services James Pete will oversee Operational Excellence, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Don Stansberry is set to oversee University Well-Being, and Dr. Spearman will additionally oversee Strengthening Reputation and Brand Awareness.

When reflecting on the plan’s foundational capabilities, priority areas of focus, and its mission, Lewis said that “Transforming Today for Tomorrow” would not have been possible without reflecting on the lessons offered by the university’s past as well as “the activation of a high-quality, career-oriented educational experience” offered by Clayton State University.

“These capabilities and priorities will bring our university’s full potential to fruition,” said Lewis in a separate message to the university. “Moving forward, it is imperative that we build upon our strengths, stand firm in our mission, and be inspired by new ambitions and initiatives.”

Upon the conclusion of the plan’s presentation, the atmosphere among all in Spivey Hall was one of drive and determination.

Lewis said in his final remarks that he is excited to see Clayton State University faculty and staff effectively act on the plan, further positively impacting the lives of its students and the greater community.

“We’re going to jump straight into this thing,” Lewis said. “It’s simple – we can’t move forward unless we’re all doing this together. The expectation is that we all embrace the new plan, its mission and vision, and the values of the institution to accomplish its goals.”

View more information on Clayton State University’s 2024-2027 Strategic Plan.

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