Nicholls launches strategic planning efforts

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 28, 2014 at 4:51 p.m.



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THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — Nicholls State University has begun to outline its strengths and weaknesses, the first step toward a plan to guide near-future decisions.

University president Bruce Murphy said he has asked the University Executive Council to outline the university's "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats," The Daily Comet (http://bit.ly/1tYZ4vt ) reported.

Most of the school's administrators retired recently, so he's also been finding people to take their place.

The council's goal is to align the university's strategic plan with available resources in the university's $53 million budget and make recommendations, Murphy said.

Niche programs such as the Sugar Institute, Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management were listed as strengths, while weaknesses included a decrease in state revenue and aging facilities.

Murphy said the next step will be to narrow the list and form key factors to pair strengths with opportunities, defend against threats and mitigate the weaknesses.

New administrators will work out a plan to boost revenue and enrollment, Murphy said.

"If you were building an organization from scratch you would stop everything and wait until everybody was on board and then start. This is an institution that has been around for many, many years and is continuing. People come, people go and you just keep going," Murphy said.

Murphy said Alex Arceneaux will be his chief of staff. Arceneaux worked at the University of New Orleans for six years, and in 2012 became registrar for St. Martin's University in Lacey, Washington.

Arceneaux is the third new administrator hired in the last month.

Ronnie Rodriguez, Delgado Community College vice chancellor for business and administrative affairs, becomes chief financial officer on Oct. 13, and Neal Weaver, West Texas A&M University vice president for institutional advancement, will start Nov. 3 as Nicholls' vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Nicholls Foundation, the university's nonprofit fundraising arm.

Rodriguez will create a budget committee. Weaver's job will be building relationships in and bringing money from the private sector and community.

Eugene Dial, vice president of student affairs and enrollment services, is the only administrator remaining from former president Stephen Hulbert's administration.

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Information from: Daily Comet, http://www.dailycomet.com

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