Special to the Journal
Farewell summer vacation! Hello new school year! At a conference held Aug. 1 – 3 entitled, “Refreshed, Rejuvenated and Re-invigorated” returning and new Albany State University faculty and staff retooled technology, and academic and customer service skills.
On opening day, ASU President Dr. Everette J. Freeman reminded the campus family of its $148 million economic impact in the community. “This region wouldn’t make it without Albany State University,” Freeman said. “Our students are the reason business owners here are able to stay in business,” he added. According to a recent study commissioned by the University System of Georgia and conducted from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, ASU also created 1,772 jobs in the area.
During the hour long address, the president described a “new ASU” that identifies new ways to engage students, communicate across disciplines, improve processes, and participate in community reconciliation and business partnerships. He was quick to remind the audience of the hbcu’s mission and purpose. “Albany State University was founded to serve as a catalyst in higher education for society’s under-represented.”
Freeman rolled out a new organizational chart and explained ASU’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. Diversity is one of eight core values listed in the document. “Today, our faculty and staff are more diverse than the University of Georgia, Valdosta State University and Darton State College. If you visit any of the historical black colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia you will notice they offer students exposure to faculty and staff from international cultures in addition to their own.”
This year, emphasis will focus on customer service. To jumpstart the initiative, he’ll schedule “listening sessions” to meet informally with employees in each division. Questions and comments from the gathering will be published in a monthly president’s bulletin.
The president also requested an evaluation of every aspect of the customer experience through surveys.
The conference ended Friday with a carnival, featuring entertainment, food and the “Albany Business Expo”. Area businesses promoted their products and services.
For more information, contact the ASU Office of University Communications at (229) 430-4671.