A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Fernando Figueroa: Sharing Gateway’s regional plans, starting with vision and identifying purposes

I’ll be sharing specific actions we are taking in the upcoming months as we work toward our college’s strategic goals.

The first of these actions is developing and communicating Gateway’s Northern Kentucky regional plan.

Part I of this plan is aligning our campuses with Gateway’s regional vision. I shared this vision at the board meeting and at the Covington Business Council.

The development of the vision started with asking questions of community members, the Gateway Board, the Gateway Foundation Board, staff, faculty, students and business partners. We asked, “Who is Gateway?” “What is Gateway?” However, we came to realize the question we really needed to ask is, “Why is Gateway?”

President Figueroa

This led to identifying the purpose of each of our campuses. All of our campuses offer students associate degree programs, regardless of the campus theme.  These programs lead students to transfer pathways to four-year institutions on their way to a career.

Unlike high schools that serve neighborhoods or zip codes, our campuses, in addition to offering general education courses, are charged with aligning with business and industry to serve a regional need and offer education specific to that need.

By identifying these needs, campus themes emerge: Boone Campus, sitting in the middle of the Northern Kentucky Industrial Park, clearly serves industry and workforce and those interested in that path. Edgewood Campus, surrounded by medical parks, St. Elizabeth Hospital and our 4-year partners, serves allied healthcare and nursing and those interested in careers in that industry.

So what about the Urban Metro Campus (UMC)?

We are discovering that the UMC, positioned in the heart of the river cities, is where diversity converges and finds common purpose in meeting today’s community need, while looking forward to tomorrow’s solutions.

Here technology, innovation and services that make economic mobility possible, bump into one another. Gateway wants to be part of this energy and offer the opportunities for discovery that exist here to our students. Career and talent exploration is the emerging theme at the UMC.

As the theme of each campus emerges, the regional vision comes into focus.

Why is Gateway? Gateway exists to provide opportunities that empower students to discover and engage their talents, then enter the workforce and improve our region as a nurse, welder, teacher, social worker, IT professional, auto technician, advanced manufacturing technician, accountant or numerous other roles.

Our next step, Part II of the plan, involves developing the strategy that will fuel our vision. We are currently assessing our resources, conferring with community partners and the Gateway and Foundation Boards, developing strategic enrollment management tactics and engaging our college community. We are working toward sustainable growth and the most effective utilization of our facilities. I will share our progress with you next month.

Gateway, downtown Covington

To remind us all what we are all working toward, I’ll include the goals of Gateway’s strategic plan on each communication.

1 Strategically position Gateway Community and Technical College within the comprehensive educational landscape of the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Region.

2 Develop innovative opportunities for flexible, affordable, and personalized learning.

3 Cultivate an experiential, collaborative and supportive learning environment that pursues diversity, thrives on innovation, and contributes to a connected community.

4 Develop customizable and fluid educational pathways that are relevant and responsive to the dynamic needs of the region.

5 Strengthen long-term institutional growth and stability.

I invite you to share your thoughts and suggestions with me as we move forward with Gateway’s NKY regional plan.   Ask questions. Consider your role in talent discovery and/or development. Invite your friends, family and colleagues to join us as we make a difference in lives and the community.

Fernando Figueroa is president of Gateway Community & Technical College.

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