Welcome to our first semester as a University!

Welcome to our first semester as a state university! As students return to campus, or begin their journeys at Middle Georgia State, let us reflect on the historic nature of this moment—both individually and collectively.

A university is a universe of experiences and people, a community that is in the business of not only sharing knowledge, but creating knowledge. As a community, we have adopted a set of strategic priorities to guide us over the next three years, based on our core values, vision, and mission.

When we unveiled those priorities at Faculty and Staff Convocation earlier this month, I was candid with the MGA community. In an era of tight budgets, I shared that educational and financial success will have a direct impact on our economic reality and our future.  We launch our new expectations with a stronger identity, but still facing the challenges of going forward with real constraints on our financial resources.

Along with our priorities, we outlined a set of initiatives for 2015-16, as part of our new University strategic plan. We know what we need to accomplish together this year and each of us has a role to play.

Let us take student success as an example. For students, your part of student success this semester may include seeking additional help in areas where you struggle, getting involved in a student organization, or simply establishing a closer working relationship with your professors or classmates.

For faculty, this early stage of the semester—a time of both vulnerability and opportunity for students—may require you to offer additional support, clarity, or guidance. For staff, this busy time will test our resolve to find new and better ways to serve our students and engage with surrounding communities.

Last week, when we gathered to welcome our first Freshman class as a university, the Class of 2019 pledged to uphold our values during their time at MGA, and to do so with integrity and civility. We each have a responsibility to encourage them by example.

For some, today may seem like just another Monday. But by choice and by circumstance, we find ourselves in a moment that will never happen again in this history of this institution. As a community, every one of us is making history today.

We are each stewarding our future, engaging in new activities, adapting to a different way of life, and in so doing, we are becoming lifelong learners. In short, our community is based on a set of values—one that, when put into action, will undoubtedly stand the test of time.