Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

Local News

August 7, 2012

How VSU’s new president plans to adapt for change

QUITMAN — Change is coming to Valdosta State University and new president Dr. William McKinney isn’t just embracing it — he’s commanding it.

“We can create the conditions to create a more innovative and engaged VSU,” said McKinney to a crowd of the university’s faculty and staff during Monday morning’s convocation in Whitehead Auditorium.

Watching McKinney from the audience were former VSU presidents Dr. Louis Levy and Dr. Ronald Zaccari. Their presence was fitting since VSU’s continued success not only depends on the vision of a new president, but also on the past successes of previous university leaders.

“There will come a time in 100 years hence where there will be a new president ... they will be looking back at the previous 100 years,” said McKinney. “What will they say about us?”

In 1913, VSU was at the dawn of its existence as the school admitted its first students. Now approaching 2013, VSU is on the dawn of a new and even greater existence. Changes in technology, economy and higher education as a whole have molded, challenged and assisted the university to prevail as what McKinney hopes to become a premier model in higher education not just for the state, but for the nation.

“What we have to do is dedicate ourselves to doing more differently,” said McKinney.

Speaker Tracy Woodard-Meyers, VSU Women and Gender Studies director and faculty senate president, is an embodiment of doing things differently.

“Change can lead to progress,” said Woodard-Meyers.

Not only is she a known advocate for civil and women’s rights that in years past and even more recently have been resisted, protested and feared, she is head of a new faculty senate structure that will allow faculty to be active participants in enacting change.

“We all have a chance and a choice to have our voices heard,” said Woodard-Meyers.

She read a quote from Apple Computers: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world — are the ones who do!”

Woodard-Meyers extended a welcome to McKinney and his wife, Dacia Charlesworth, but most of all, extended her blessing to McKinney’s ideas of change.

“I look forward to being labeled a crazy misfit with the both of you,” said Woodard-Meyers.

While change can be good, it also poses new challenges.

“We live in ever-changing, challenging times in higher education,” said McKinney.

Prior to 2008, the budget model for an institution of higher learning was different. Now VSU functions much like a private university receiving little money from the state and more from tuition, fees and private donations.

“We’re not ever going back to the way things were in 2008,” said McKinney. “For the first time in our history, we are now really tuition dependent.”

However, McKinney added that things weren’t that great prior to 2008 and this new economic model, while it comes with a new breed of challenges, will have great benefits as well.

“There’s no better time than now for VSU to control its own destiny,” said McKinney. “At every turn, we will protect and continue to protect the core academic mission of this university.”

He said VSU’s future is in the hands of the faculty and staff that have and will continue to drive the university forward.

“We become the agents of change, or the environment will change us,” said McKinney.

Above all else, McKinney feels his primary responsibility is to create an environment where VSU’s faculty and staff can thrive.

“We will create together the conditions of a changed VSU,” said McKinney.

The president plans to create change through a process he calls transparent transition. This will establish a new planning process where open participation is encouraged and required to build a stronger future. A new strategic plan will set the foundation for a new master plan. A new presidential website portal will soon go live and track progress and keep all stake holders up to date. McKinney also aims to obtain an optional engaged university designation through the Carnegie Foundation by 2015.

“So I ask you this morning, what will our successors say of us again in the next 100 years?” McKinney asked. “That’s up to us.”

According to McKinney, through innovative growth and change, VSU will be a leader among American universities just as it is now.

“Let’s have a great year,” said McKinney.

Award winners

VSU’s vice president for academic affairs Dr. Karla Hull named the recipients of the 2012 Faculty Excellence Awards. Gardener Rogers of the Department of English received the Excellence in Teaching award and Dr. Gretchen Bielmyer of the Department of Biology received the Excellence in Professional Activity Award.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

Text Only
Local News
  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-valdosta_appr#10C8BA.jpg Officials serve lunch to city employees

    The City of Valdosta hosted its annual employee appreciation luncheon Thursday at John W. Saunders Memorial Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Wiregrass003.jpg Wiregrass learns through play

    For three years, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has hosted its Wired Up! event to engage students, faculty and staff in a fun but educational activity day.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • rain.jpg More spills? Valdosta braces for more rain

    In the past four weeks, Valdosta has experienced four major rain events that dumped more than three to four inches of rain on the area per incident.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140117-Scott_SGMAC-001.jpg Moody in running for Afghan pilot mission

    Moody Air Force Base is one of three military bases being considered for a temporary mission to train Afghan pilots next year, Rep. Austin Scott told the South Georgia Military Affairs Council Thursday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results