A Simon Town Hall Meeting with the U of R President

By Crissi:

Seligman_resized University of Rochester President Joel Seligman came to Simon to hold a Town Hall meeting and get to know the Simon student body.  I was surprised when the President began by requesting each attendee to state their name, intended graduation year, post-graduation career plans and one question they had for him.  The President listened intently and commented as a lecture hall full of students shared their introductions.  He sincerely wanted to get to know each attendee and address their queries. 

After introductions, it was clear that the question on most Simon student’s minds pertained to the University’s 5-year strategic plan and how this related to various arms of the University – the college, the medical center and the business school – Simon!  We learned that the University of Rochester is one of few private, research intuitions with a medical center; compared to competitor schools, the U of R has half the student body and fewer faculty.  This opened the discussion: how do you grow a University?  Here, President Seligman revealed the 4 goals of the strategic growth plan:

1. Become among the top 20 Research Institutions
2. Increase faculty, heighten the school’s reputation and students will follow
3. Work with the Rochester community
4. Manage the endowment

Keen to the audience he was addressing, the President framed the situation, challenges and opportunities for the execution of each goal.  This included leveraging new funding lines opened by the Obama Administration as recently as last month.

The beauty of a business education is learning through case method and experiences – typically focused on public, private and corporate firms.  It is rare that students are provided the opportunity to examine the workings of an educational institution and provide feedback and observances from their experiences that go directly into shaping and executing a University’s strategic plan.  The transparency of mission within the Simon and University community is one more thing that makes the Simon experience so unique.  As students learn in Marketing, internal marketing is of paramount importance for brand consistency; understanding and commenting on a University’s growth plan is the most efficient way this can be actualized in a higher education setting.

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