Big changes coming for GPS program


Due to the decline in Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) enrollment, MVNU is implementing a new structure and leadership for the upcoming years.

This enrollment decline is not a new dilemma. It has been a “seven-year trend” according to a faculty update email by university President Dr. Henry Spaulding. While GPS enrollment makes little difference to traditional students, it plays a big part in the health of MVNU’s budget.

Because of the recent disappointments, MVNU administration has decided to take immediate action to change the course of the program. Though specifics are still being finalized, campus officials are excited about the transition.

“It is crucial that we seize this opportunity to significantly shift our strategy going forward for GPS,” Spaulding said.

Under the direction of Dr. Ronald Bolender, the new dean for the school of graduate and professional studies, the design will bring needed changes to the program.

“The university came to me and requested that I use my expertise to help move GPS toward a market-driven, market-responsive model,” Bolender said.

Bolender’s resumé includes
successful budgeting, accounting
and experience in teaching higher education. He also was involved in founding the original GPS program, then referred to as EXCELL (Executive Center for Lifelong Learning).

Christy McNutt Robison will step on board as well. Her position as the director for GPS student recruitment will allow MVNU to maximize its resources to reach the largest number of graduates.

“I will be working alongside of the recruitment team to increase enrollment,” Robison said.

The GPS staff also will focus on providing “superb customer service to our current students,” she said.

Also as part of the changes, MVNU administration is targeting the online portion of GPS by hiring an instructional designer to boost the online experience and options.

A GPS Academic Council was created and convened to reduce the steps and time between “idea” and “reality” for GPS initiatives.

This council will assist with decisions regarding both the academic and business sides of the GPS program.

“Growth cannot be experienced without continually evaluating the current structure and operational processes,” Robison said. “To continue
to move forward, we will need to assess where we are and where we want to be. Planning ahead and having a strategy is key!”

Bolender expects to see positive results by this fall thanks to the revamped program structure and targeted recruitment process.

“The future of MVNU is dependent upon the vitality of GPS,” Bolender said.

Final plans for the program will be decided in the upcoming weeks.

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