Created: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 09:45:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 23 Jul 2013 09:34:24 EST
New Fort Valley State University President Dr. Ivelaw Griffith described his first day on the job Monday as both anxious and exciting. Griffith takes over as FVSU enrollment is declining, the school is faced with a budget shortfall, and staffing cuts.
Griffith chooses to describe the school's problems as opportunities and points out that FVSU isn't alone when it comes to budget woes and other problems.
"If you can find me a university that is paid for by the public purse, that is not going through budget situations, I'll give you 100 bucks," Griffith said.
Griffith says he won't bide his time when it comes to changing FVSU. He has a plan, which includes creating a more streamlined budget, increasing fundraising, and reaching out to alumni and the public.
"Some of the plans that I have, have to do with conversations that I need to have with my senior team ... Some of those plans have to do with conversations that I'll be having soon with alumni, and so I don't want to jump the gun so to speak, but I do have plans," Griffith said.
While the big picture may take longer to materialize, Griffith says, small, visible changes will likely take place sooner rather than later.
"Some things that are low-hanging financial fruit, we're going to be picking quite soon," Griffith said.
The financial fruit includes the creation of a trio of what the school is calling "global villages." One global village will represent the State of Georgia, another the United States of America, and the third, the United Nations. While the concepts are still in design phases, Griffith says the Georgia global village would include insignia for Peach County, and all the other counties in the state. The U.S. global village would include the state flag of Georgia and all other 49 U.S. state flags. The U.N. global village would include the flags of all United Nations member states. The villages would adorn a total of 9 acres of the campus.
"It's going to be a reflection of the fact that we live in a world represented at an international level by the united nations that has 182 member states, each of those member states flags will be represented," Griffith said.
Griffith says other plans include creating an undergraduate research program, and other ideas that should solidify in the coming months. He says he wants his students to think globally, and the first big step towards achieving that goal will be addressing the faculty when they arrive to meet him on August 5th.