The Meridian Star invited some community leaders to write about their top three priorities for 2019. This column is from Terry Dale Cruse, Ph.D., administrative director & head of campus for Meridian State University-Meridian.
MERIDIAN, Miss.— The completion of each year provides time to focus on the accomplishments of the past and opportunities for the future.
It has been a great year for MSU-Meridian, and I am thankful for the work of our faculty, staff and students. Their dedication helped us achieve a 14 percent increase in fall enrollment in 2018.
As we look to the future, three main goals top the list for 2019.
We are quickly approaching the launch of our new Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant [ARC-PA] will visit our Riley Campus in April. We hired a director and three additional faculty members who are finalizing the curriculum and accreditation documents. Upon approval of ARC-PA, we will become the first state institution to offer this program. Prospective students will start applying for the program in April 2019, and we plan to seat the first class in January 2020.
Community partnerships are critical to our success. One of the most important is our collaboration with Meridian Community College. We have an exceptional opportunity to expand access and affordability to a top-ranked community college and nationally reputable research university right here in Lauderdale County. That is a treasure for a community this size! The two institutions have always shared a collaborative relationship, but current discussions make me even more excited about the future.
Dennis Sankovich will retire from the Riley Center in 2019, after 15 years of dedicated service. A national search for his replacement is underway. Finding the right fit for our community is most important. The Riley Center has become a hub for this region in expanding exposure to the arts and providing an exceptional source of cultural enrichment. We are committed to good stewardship of the investment our donors and patron have made as we embark on the search for this important transition.
Expanding opportunities to an excellent, assessable and affordable education for citizens of this region will remain our top priority. I look forward to reporting even greater things this time next year.
To learn more about MSU-Meridian, visit meridian.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.