President’s Revitalization Strategy
Barry M. Buxton
- Commit to a decade of service as president.
Lees- McRae College has experienced too much turnover in leadership. The College deserves a husband and wife team who are totally dedicated to the welfare of Lees-McRae. Together, Mrs. Buxton and I will provide energy, vision, and experience.
- Strengthen the Board of Trustees.
Lees-McRae College needs the best Board of Trustees in the High Country. The very foundation of the College turnaround is based in the strength, courage, and commitment of the Board of Trustees. The Board must lead in financial donations and work hand-in-hand with the president on the revitalization strategy. The revitalization requires trustees who are deeply and thoughtfully engaged in every phase of the strategy.
- Become a tuition-driven institution.
Increase enrollment by 50% over five years by adding new programs and improving retention rates. If the goal of 50% growth can be realized by the year 2015, enrollment would be 1,350 students. This enrollment growth would serve as a “tipping-point” and transform the College’s future.
- Return to our roots as a residential college.
Require scholarship recipients to live on campus and participate in the college meal plan. This policy improves the overall quality of the student experience at Lees-McRae. Living on campus increases matriculation rates, involves more students in campus activities and programs, is safer, and increases graduation rates. This policy will also improve net revenue.
- Develop a strategic plan that places Lees-McRae College in a distinctive position versus our principal competitors.
Reinforce the hallmarks of Lees-McRae and continue to strive for excellence in all areas. Initiate “best practices” campus-wide, affirm our dedication to service in Appalachia, and continue as the home of intercollegiate sports champions.
- Build a distinct Lees-McRae College brand.
Emphasize “Highest Campus in the Eastern United States” and outdoor adventure. Promote a campus of over 400 acres in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains, epicenter of outdoor sports, diverse ecosystem, etc. Promote Scots-Irish Heritage and use the LMC Tartan in signage, uniforms, and media. Become active with the Highland Games and other Scots-Irish events in North and South Carolina.
- Focus on opportunity and entrepreneurship and change the culture of Lees-McRae College.
Become student and industry driven and be attentive to employment opportunities for our students and alumni. Whenever possible, form strategic alliances with business and industry.
- Make dynamic summer programs a hallmark of Lees-McRae College.
These may include recertification programs for teachers, exploratory programs for middle and high school students, sports camps, outdoor adventure camps, adult non-degree programs, and music and performing arts. All programs should be revenue producing.
- Become the #1 pet friendly campus in America.
Develop this program in conjunction with the Avery County Humane Society and the N.C. Dept. of Corrections. Promote in student recruitment efforts and in all pet friendly media. Form strategic corporate alliances with pet food and equipment companies.
- Create a sense of arrival for Lees-McRae College.
Establish a Welcome Center, staff with volunteers, stock with college materials, and conduct historic tours of campus. Expand signage on campus to support a sense of arrival and define campus boundaries.
- Become the #1 college for bicycling in America.
Develop a minor in Bicycling Studies. Recruit key industry leaders to new Bicycling Advisory Council and publicize curriculum and teams in bicycling and fitness media. Become a bicycle friendly campus and develop public service programs focused on Appalachian youth.
- Transform the Lees-McRae Bookstore.
A more visible location is needed for non-students and students alike. Increase inventory to include books, magazines, and Lees-McRae College gear. Work closely with Wiley’s to provide coffee/tea and a more welcoming environment.
- Improve the current food service program.
Work with Aramark to buy fresh from local growers and support organic efforts. Each day highlight, on a chalkboard, the organic, locally grown products for students to see and appreciate. Provide healthy vegetarian dishes and excellent variety. Utilize Aramark’s “Green Thread” program for nutrition and environmental stewardship.
- Make Lees-McRae College a tobacco-free campus by June, 2011.
Even the University of Kentucky is now tobacco free. Provide smoking cessation programs for students and employees.
- Make recruitment and retention priority #1.
Encourage all employees, trustees, alumni, and friends of Lees-McRae College to consider themselves recruiters of students. “Have you recruited your Lees-McRae College student this year”
- Increase volunteer involvement at Lees-McRae College.
The human resources located within a 10-mile radius of the college are extraordinary. Involve volunteers as docents, tour guides, gardeners, librarians, teachers, lecturers, and fundraisers.
- As resources permit, evaluate the following majors, minors, and programs:
- Hospitality Management
- Forest Management
- Secondary Education
- E Learning (all programs)
- Elementary Education (Masters)
- Sequential Art and Concept Development
- Pharmacy and Pharmacy Technician
- Organic farming and management