Addressing the address — Staben talks about what directly affect students in State of the University Address

University of Idaho President Chuck Staben addressed four main goals from the university’s 2016-2025 strategic plan Friday at the 2017 State of the University Address.

These four goals included innovation, engagement, transformation and cultivation. The university administration aims to push for innovation by making an impact on the region and world with the work and research of UI students. By expanding Idaho’s educational impact, the university can aid in transforming education and the goal of cultivation focuses on fostering more diversity amongst students and faculty. The engagement section seeks to create changes which will increase enrollment at the university.

While the information discussed during the address all affect students, some directly affect students more than others — Staben’s affiliation with the University of New Mexico, a change to advising and enrollment growth.

Just before attending to the key components of his speech, Staben noted the distraction he might have caused while applying at UNM. It seems that for the time being, he is here to stay, possibly providing a touch more stability than many students and staff felt over the last several weeks.

One of the key points in Staben’s address regarding engagement focused on what will directly affect both current and future students — the dreaded shift in advising. Advising would move to a more centralized system. This means the adviser students regularly meet with can still be a source of information but will not be the staff to lift registration holds.

Based solely off Staben’s comments on the controversial upcoming shift, it sounds like an abundance of students are in favor of an advising system many know very little about yet.

“I know that those moves have caused some concern, but we must come together to work them out,” Staben said. “Students have been very interested in centralizing services and this tells me they see this as a positive move.”

The new advising system, which will add one more thing to a student’s plate during a hectic moment in the semester, seems like it would be a burden to students. With the buzz and confusion swirling around campus, the students Staben referenced during the address do not seem to comprise the majority of the student population.

As much of the speech revolved around students, it will be interesting to see the enrollment growth outlined in the strategic plan become an actuality. Such growth should bring up many questions for the UI community, especially students. Where will the influx of students live? How will UI’s notably small and intimate class sizes be affected? Will on-campus space become a problem?

Students and UI community members should be excited to see what an updated and seemingly more solidified strategic plan will bring for the advancement of the university. But, it will take more than shiny brochures and color-coordinated graphics to push these ideas into reality.

With Staben staying at UI and a cooperative administration behind him, hopefully the four goals addressed at the State of the University Address will see results soon.

With such an importance placed on what often seem like complex goals, The Argonaut will continue to report on the issues students want to hear most.

— MS


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