Today marks the 101st day of the presidency of Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. The past three months have been filled with high energy, great anticipation and new ideas. But, it is only the beginning.
Perhaps one of Dr. Spinelli’s most significant accomplishments to date has been the launch of an aggressive strategic planning process. He believes such a plan must reflect our core values as articulated in the Mission Statement. It expresses, as succinctly as possible, what the Philadelphia University experience represents, according to Dr. Spinelli. “Our mission is driven by values,” said Dr. Spinelli, “and the opportunity to realize our mission will drive our decisions.”
Although the development of a strategic plan is an overarching endeavor, Dr. Spinelli began to immerse himself in the details of campus life as soon as he and his wife, Carol, arrived on campus in late August. He made it a point to meet as many people as possible. “I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the faculty, staff and students—who impress me with their creativity and energy,” he offered. Since his arrival, Dr. Spinelli has been highly visible at a wide range of events and activities. He enjoys having lunch at both the Ravenhill Dining Hall and the Common Thread, often inviting those at other tables to join him. He has been known to drop in on classes and on Student Government Association meetings, as well as hold meetings with faculty members, deans and administrators. He has met Board of Trustee members individually and as a group.
Getting the word out to our stakeholders, region and the world is another priority for the new president. “Our message of ‘Power to Do’ needs to reach as many audiences as possible,” Dr. Spinelli stated. “Two new commercials that highlight the active-learning experiences of students were developed and have appeared on NBC10, YouTube and the PhilaU web site this fall. They were very favorably received.” Another tool for communicating with our constituency and the world in general is the Internet. Here at Philadelphia University, a complete redesign of the web site is underway. “The web is now the primary source of information for all strata of society,” Dr. Spinelli noted. “We intend to take full advantage of its capabilities to assist us in fulfilling our mission.”
According to the new president, “We need to be an action-biased organization, moving forward.” Strengthening existing relationships and forming new ones is essential to this goal, he feels. Toward that end, Dr. Spinelli has spent time hosting a neighbors’ brunch, meeting with local government representatives, joining the President’s Council of the Philadelphia Region Chamber of Commerce and attending meetings of the East Falls Community Council.
As an academic and entrepreneur, Dr. Spinelli believes in the power of communications in all its forms. As much as he enjoys meeting people face-to-face, he is also excited about opportunities made available by new and emerging technologies. To date, he has blogged, participated in vodcasts and will host live chats with faculty and staff, students, parents and families and alumni over the next few months. To check out the president’s blog, visit www.PhilaU.edu/President/Blog.
Certainly, not the least of the challenges facing university presidents is that of fundraising and finances. “Over a three-month period, the amount received in grants totaled more than $1.1 million,” Dr. Spinelli related proudly. “And, I am pleased to report that fundraising continues to be consistent in the face of a more difficult economy right now.”
No one is more excited about the future of Philadelphia University than Dr. Spinelli. “I relish the idea that we are at the intersection of creativity and commerce,” he stressed. “In this global marketplace, there’s no better and no more important place for an educational institution to be.”