Creating a unified vision

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President Hynd proposes a mission statement for Oakland University.

by Kevin Teller

The campus community, comprising mainly of faculty and staff, gathered in the Gold Rooms Tuesday as President George Hynd held his second presidential report.

An important focal point of this address was the proposed mission statement for the university. The first sentence of this statement reads “Oakland University is a pre-eminent metropolitan university that is recognized as a student-centered doctoral research institution with a global perspective.”

These are the points from the proposed mission statement that Hynd focused on for his report:

1. OU is a metropolitan university: Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Kevin Corcoran gave a definition of what it means to be a metropolitan university. In this definition he said that those involved with the university are to be “stewards of place” in the Metro-Detroit area. Hynd drew attention to the university’s increased dedication to the community around OU.

2. OU’s student population comes from virtually everywhere: While much of the student population comes from Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne County, there are also students from all over Michigan.

Additionally, OU’s alumni are scattered across the country. Hynd said he sees the vastness of their reach as “potential opportunities” for programs such as recruitment or student mentoring programs.

3.One goal is to be student-centered: Hynd said that the student-retention rate is growing. A reported 78 percent of students return for each subsequent academic year, compared to 70 percent back in 2011. Currently OU is working to increase its scholarship opportunities as well as other incentives for continued education.

4. The number of second-year sophomores is increasing as well: While only 37 percent of students in their second years had enough credits to reach sophomore status in 2003, that number has more than doubled by 2013, reaching 78 percent.

5.Graduation rate projections and goals: Currently, it is a goal to reach a 52 percent graduation rate by 2018.

The university has been praised by students for programs such as the First Year Advising Center, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). However, advising for upper level students was reported to be lacking by that same survey. This, in addition to the claim that only 19 percent of graduating seniors have worked with a faculty member on research, are areas where Hynd said he feels that the university can do better to improve graduation rates.

6. OU is also a doctoral research institution: Provost James Lenitini has been a major advocate of doctoral programs, Hynd said, and has been pushing for “startup cost” for such programs.

“Since about 2005 or 2006, the number of doctoral degrees that have been awarded has incresed each year,” Hynd said.

7. Since OU’s early years of existence, global perspective has been a priority: Hynd said that now OU must “continue the tradition of giving students global learning experiences.” Over 120 students studied abroad during the 2013-2014 academic year. The top three countries from which international students hail are China, India, and Saudi Arabia with over 100 students from each country.