James July-Aug 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 49
r. Kyle Marrero became president of
Georgia Southern University in 2019 after
having been at the helm of the University
of West Georgia since 2013. Prior to that, he was vice
president for university advancement at the University
of West Florida and earlier was associate professor of
voice at Louisiana State University and artistic director
of the Pensacola Opera.
Marrero holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from
the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s and master’s
in vocal performance from Bowling Green State University. His background in the arts took him to various
countries as an artistic ambassador for the United States
embassies. He is also married to nationally-acclaimed
opera singer Dr. Jane Redding. Publisher Phil Kent posed
the following questions.
PHIL KENT Now that there is a return to normalcy
on campus this fall, what did you learn due to the
impact of COVID-19? Were you concerned about
a lack of academic rigor with the switch to online
courses? And regarding the return to in-person
classes this fall, are there health precautions you
still need to manage?
JULY /AU GU ST 2021
DR. KYLE MARRERO What I’ve come to know and
understand is the resilience of our students, faculty, staff,
and communities. We grow most when we are faced with
adversity and challenges. This past year is evidence of
our ability to persevere, adapt, innovate, improve and
depend on one another with a “can-do” attitude. Simply
put, at Georgia Southern we focused on leading from our
values to our goals with student success and safety at the
center of every decision.
In March of 2020, we transitioned to fully online instruction for the remainder of spring 2020 semester and
our faculty reimagined how we could deliver more than
5,000 courses fully online. Essential personnel continued
to come to campus every day ensuring that technology,
admissions, financial aid, HR, payroll, facilities, grounds,
custodial, health and safety could continue to function at
the highest level.
With student success and safety as our
goal, we maintained
the academic rigor and
DR. KYLE MARRERO
that has come to define Georgia Southern as
we welcomed students back
to campus for fall 2020 semester
with a mix of face-to-face and online course offerings.
We transitioned from fall to spring 2021 with nearly 75
percent of our courses being experienced face-to-face.
During this challenge, we also achieved several
records over the past year: we welcomed a record freshman class in fall 2020 and 3.4 percent overall headcount
growth; achieved record 4-year and 6-year graduation
rates, record freshman to sophomore retention, record
faculty research awards; and are on track to have a record
year in fundraising.
As we look to Fall 2021, we are excited to be planning
for a full return to campus. That means resuming “normal”
operations with in-person instruction, research, events,
service, activities and full dining and housing operations.
We will continue to be guided and directed by health and
Pk As you look ahead to the future, what is your
vision for continuing Georgia Southern growth and
km I truly believe we are entering a time filled with
hope, optimism, energy and momentum. To leverage this
momentum, we shaped and implemented a comprehensive strategic plan that succinctly defines our strategic
pillars, declares our mission, affirms our core values and
casts a vision that empowers. This plan is infused with
evidence-based leadership practices and a culture of high
performance, aligned with a strategic enrollment plan to
ensure growth and market yield, communicated via a new
institutional marketing campaign. continued on page 50
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