SEMO's strategy

Southeast Missouri State University is seeing trends that could well affect the institution long into the future. Planning to best meet those trends is being addressed through a strategic planning process. Next week, invited faculty members, students, legislators, administrators and business leaders will continue this planning process with a daylong forum.

Among the trends: More students from the St. Louis area are enrolling at Southeast. More students are taking online courses, including some who will get degrees without ever attending classes on campus. The number of nontraditional -- over 25 years old -- students is increasing, with 28 percent of Southeast's 10,651 students in that category.

What does this mean for the future? That's what the current planning process is attempting to determine. Along the way, a strategic plan for the next three to five years will emerge.

Southeast has a remarkable record of setting goals and achieving them while aiming to better serve students. Several years ago, the university set targets for enrollment increases. Done. It saw the need for distance learning and area education centers. Done. It set a goal for offering a first-rate education in the arts. Done.

It will be interesting to see what the latest strategic plan has in store.