ORU’s 50th Anniversary celebration is over, and the university is pushing ahead to new things.
“We now move to the future. We’ve been celebrating the past and thanking God for what he’s done and talking about the future,” said President William M. Wilson. “Now it’s time to get on to the future and engage it. We are very excited about what the future holds.”
ORU is moving forward with its five-year adaptive plan. This plan is named “adaptive plan” instead of “strategic plan” on purpose so the board can review the external factors and internal needs of the university every year.
“Actually, we are doing it [the process] a couple of times a year, so it’s a very dynamic process for the future of ORU,” said Wilson. “Always landing by May 1, which is the beginning of our budget year at the university with a new five-year plan that has continuation and also some new things.”
This year at the board advance, members of the board took an in-depth look at the plan. They reflected on the plan to see if anything was missed, if something has happened that needs to be addressed and if the priorities are still matching the results.
Wilson discussed this process as a “Really good exercise mostly came out of that saying God’s really given us a good plan. We all feel really good about it. There’s a few things we think need to be looked at. Then we brought that back to the university planning council.”
The council is a shared governance committee made up of faculty, administration and board of trustee members. This year, an alumni representative and a student representative, Shawn Madison, sat with the committee for the first time.
“We then took the plan apart. We spent six, seven hours together reporting where we were on last year’s plan, how have we done, and just about every key performance indicator had been accomplished, over 115 of them, under 40 something objectives, under eight large goals,” said Wilson.
The key performance indicators [KPIs] are for an annual commitment for the university to meet its objectives and ultimately its goals. The objectives and goals are set on a five-year target.
“Then we took what the board of trustees had given us and any other input we had from the university. We reflected a little bit on what has changed in America politically,” said Wilson. “And then we got into the plan and reaffirmed some things. Gave new KPIs to things, new goals, new numbers, and then we added a few things this time, a few KPIs, which I think are really exciting.”
A few new objectives were added to the plan as well including one revolving around greater emphasis on the Hispanic community. A new graduation requirement including a cultural experience for some students was discussed as well.
“We are also working on new partnerships with local churches to bring ORU’s education to different locations around the world,” said Wilson.
Enrollment goals and fundraising goals were also touched on in the meetings as well.
This past fall, ORU received its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission who were very pleased with the five-year adaptive plan along with the business plan attached to the adaptive plan.
While the five-year plan is constantly being adapted to fit the future needs of the university, there are currently many projects being completed on campus.
“We are very excited about the new ONEOK sports complex, the tennis courts, the track,” said Wilson. “The track will be blue accented in gold. If everything goes as scheduled, and we are pretty much on target with out dates, it will be opened and ready for us to run on in August.”
Wilson hopes and believes the track and tennis courts will be ready for use by the time the fall semester starts, but it its occupants will not only be student athletes.
“We don’t know exactly how it is going to work. We think probably in limited hours,” said Wilson. “Because of our track and tennis athletes, they will be practicing a lot, so there will be time when it will be limited to students. But there will be certain hours they will be able to run on the track and participate on the tennis courts.”
On campus students have seen many pictures of the plans for new dorms, but there has been no physical progress on campus to build the dorms.
“We would start tomorrow if we had the money in hand,” said Wilson. “Our commitment, right now, is to build debt free.”
This week, ORU reached their campaign goal raising over $50 million, and in that campaign was a stretch goal to fund the dorms.
“Once we have that money, we are ready,” said Wilson. “We’ve got lots of people we’ve asked and praying about. I would encourage the student body to join me in praying God provides the resource. As soon as we have, we are starting.”
Wilson stated a company has already committed to building the new dorms, and they know pretty much what it will cost to build the dorms.
In February, Wilson held a student forum to take questions and hear what the students had to say about the university. Two topics that struck much interest were dorm life and HPE requirements. Wilson took what the students had to say and combined it with his “Resident President” experience to pitch to the board new ideas.
“All of those things [free laundry, earlier hall meeting and lower field test requirements] have been discussed at the President’s cabinet level. Of those three things mentioned, I do believe in the fall that students will have free laundry at ORU and have access to the washers and dryers as part of their living in the dorms,” said Wilson.
The other two topics mentioned are still under review. No final decisions have been reached on either of the matters.
“We are reviewing a lot of things on campus. We are continuing to look at food services on campus and potential new food outlets on campus. How do we improve the experience in the cafeteria,” said Wilson. “So there’s a lot of work going on at all times, especially now as we end the year and get ready for next year on how we improve the student experience at ORU.”