Dear Shippensburg Colleagues:
The month of July – my first full month being on the Shippensburg campus – has come and gone very quickly. As I pledged during my inaugural email to the campus community on July 1, I have spent the last month becoming better acquainted with our university community, meeting with our colleagues and dedicated university partners. This work builds upon my many meetings with individuals and stakeholder groups that began well before my arrival on campus. I continue to be energized by the passion of our university community, their dedication to advancing the mission of Shippensburg, and the important role of the institution in serving the many needs of the Cumberland Valley region and beyond.
Comprehensive engagement and assessment will be a continual process through the remainder of the summer and into the fall. Some of the recurring themes that have come out of these engagements include, but are not limited to, the desire for broader campus communications, recognition of the many achievements of our faculty and students, greater transparency on important university initiatives, comprehensive program planning (sustainability planning), stabilizing leadership changes, empowering staff across divisions, and enhancing strategic enrollment management strategies.
I wanted to relay some recent structural changes that will allow us to begin addressing some of these recurring themes in the coming months. These changes, while slight, will resize (reduce) the number of staff positions serving in the Office of the President, realign the organizational chart to elevate student support and student services, provide more stability and greater empowerment among our divisions, and allow efforts to be dedicated to advancing on- and off-campus campus communications strategies.
Division of Student Affairs to Report to the President: Student Affairs, which previously reported to the Division of Administration and Finance, and will now report directly to the President, with Associate Vice President Barry McClanahan continuing in his role as the university’s chief student affairs officer. This change allows the Division of Student Affairs to be elevated as an equally important component of the overall organizational structure. This change is also symbolic of the empowerment of student affairs staff to work directly and collaboratively with colleagues across other institutional divisions, such as Academic Affairs and Strategy and Student Success, for the betterment of all Shippensburg students.
Chief of Staff Title to be Discontinued, Office Staff Reduced: Dr. Kim Garris has been serving as chief of staff and vice president for external relations and communications, and will continue in her important role in leading efforts to enhance marketing and expanding the visibility, brand, and value proposition of Shippensburg University. Marketing is paramount to supporting a stronger enrollment management strategy and this change will allow Dr. Garris and her dedicated staff to advance these efforts. The title of “Chief of Staff” within the Office of the President will be discontinued and will reduce the number of support staff in the Office of the President from three to two.
Executive Associate to the President: Day-to-day operations, scheduling and support within the Office of the President will be led by Mr. Scott Brown, executive associate to the president. Scott has served in similar/parallel roles previously under President Laurie Carter and in support of several university administrations.
We are looking forward to the beginning of the fall semester and the return of our Shippensburg University students and faculty. As you individually plan for the return, we strongly recommend that all employees and students get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before arriving on campus. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our successes are the result of accepting the shared responsibility for the health and well-being of our campus community and local communities, and practicing recommended precautions. Being vaccinated is no exception and can protect your health and the health of others, as well as significantly reduce the risk to a broader campus disruption in the fall semester.
Thank you in advance for doing your part to help our campus community prepare for a healthy fall semester. We will continue to monitor the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and will communicate any changes to the full campus experience anticipated for fall. You may stay abreast of current plans at raiderrespect.ship.edu.