Chicoine’s five-year plan brightens SDSU’s future


Editorial Board

The Issue:19th President has big plans for SDSU.

The Stance:It could lead to big changes, and the future looks bright.

There’s no question that David Chicoine is not Peggy Miller. No one expects him to be. He has his own ideas for SDSU, and right now he is deciding what could be best for the university.

Chicoine has high expectations and aspirations for SDSU. He said so at his inauguration ceremony on Sept. 15. These expectations are part of the reason for Chicoine’s strategic five-year plan. In it, it says that “SDSU’s unique collection of talent and commitments place it in a powerful position to meet the challenges resulting from expanding markets, increased competition and exploding information technologies.”

There are four strategic goals outlined in the plan, called “Spires of Distinction.” These include: enhancing academic excellence and strengthening scholarship and artistic activities; fostering economic growth, vibrant communities and a sustainable environment; expanding the university’s reach through engagement, technology and globalization; and establishing a sustainable financial resource base required for high achievement.

Chicoine is recognizing that the different colleges at SDSU need to participate in this plan in order for it to work, so as part of its implementation, Chicoine is requiring colleges and university departments to develop their own strategic plans using framework for the time frame of 2008-2012. These plans need to be submitted by Nov. 15, and measures and performance indicators need to be developed by Jan. 1. This is to get the ball rolling, so that the different colleges can look at what they’ve been doing in the past and see what else they can do to further advance themselves for the benefit of the students and the university as a whole.

Chicoine has already come up with a list of “peer” Division-I universities that SDSU should strive to be like. These are listed on SDSU’s Web site. Chicoine’s strategic plan also includes much expanding of the university to include more research opportunities for SDSU students. He has been very active in promoting research opportunities for campus and encouraging others to participate.

One exciting project that will help SDSU and other South Dakota universities in their quest for research projects is the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab being built at the old Homestake Mine in Lead, S.D. A scientist has already won a Nobel Prize for work done at the current Homestake Lab (which was one of the reasons the Homestake Mine was chosen for DUSEL) and once DUSEL is built, the list of opportunities for student and faculty research could seem to be nearly endless. That’s not even mentioning the possibility for economic growth and opportunities that the lab would bring to South Dakota.

It’s true that Chicoine is not Peggy Miller, and that’s okay. Miller had ideas for building projects and for the physical presence of the university, which was great. Chicoine has ideas for expanding SDSU and looking outside the university for educational and economic opportunities for the students, faculty and university as a whole.

All in all, Chicoine is bringing new ideas to the table and striving to make SDSU a better place for everyone. He’s doing his job as president of the university. What more can we really ask?