Marywood’s 2021-2025 strategic plan highlights intergenerational education

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Photo credit/ Briana Ryan

Marywood’s Board of Directors approved the six-goal plan on Feb. 13.

Colleges and Universities across the country implement strategic plans to direct its future trajectory. Marywood President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. explained that the university’s newly-released 2021-2025 strategic plan has its eye on the future.

“The overarching theme [of the strategic plan] is moving Marywood forward,” said Persico. “It’s really all about moving Marywood from where we are today to where we’re going to be in 2025.”

Marywood’s Board of Directors approved the six-goal plan on Feb. 13. The goals outlined in the plan include the following:

  • “Create a culture focused on addressing critical real-world systematic problems interdisciplinary, interprofessional, and intergenerational initiatives.”
  • “Support students from day one”
  • “Create a strong and sustainable technological and physical infrastructure.”
  • “Continue to provide excellent constituent services along with consistent and transparent institutional communications”
  • “Strategically allocate resources to achieve long term institutional growth.”
  • “Develop intergenerational education by mutually engaging the five satellite entities located on campus: African Sisters Education Collaborative, The Fricchione Early Learning Center, Marywood Heights, NativityMiguel School of Scranton, and the Office of Military and Veteran Services.”

The sixth goal shows the university taking steps towards engaging more with the satellite entities that have become part of the Marywood community through the years. Persico said that after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, she hopes to see students become more integrated with the satellite entities.

“There are so many things that can happen interchangeably among all of those entities. I want them to really become a vital part of campus that connects people,” said Persico. “I would love to walk into the Learning Commons and see some people from Marywood Heights Skilled Nursing Center coming in there, getting Starbucks, reading the newspaper, or checking out a book. I would love that.”

Persico explained that this goal will create beneficial opportunities for Marywood students and those closely connected with the satellite entities.

Director of the Fricchione Early Learning Center Natalie Lucas said this strategic plan will enrich the experiences of the students who attend the center.

“We are looking to enhance our vision and mission here at the Fricchione Center,” said Lucas. “We want to develop the entire child, and one of the ways we are doing that is by branching out and incorporating other aspects of the university into our program.”

Marywood Heights’ Chief Operating Officer David Klingerman said he believes that student engagement with the satellite entities will enrich their educational experience.

“Once we can start to involve them in real-life scenarios and not just restrict their learning to reading a case study in a book,” said Klingerman. “In-class work is pertinent to learning, but when you apply that in-class work to real-life scenarios, it changes your approach and outlook to the field you’re studying.”

According to Principal NativityMiguel School of Scranton Timothy Casey, when the school relocated to Marywood’s campus in fall 2019, they received a warm welcome. Casey said he believes this plan will help strengthen the school’s already tight bond with the university.

“Last year, we had a lot of collaboration with students and staff and faculty from different areas,” said Casey. “When COVID is over, I really hope that we can see that again because that has really helped to build a strong connection with Marywood.”

Director of the Office of Military and Veteran Services Raúl Santana Nunez said this strategic plan will shine a light on some of the satellites. Nunez explained that in higher education departments that handle military and veteran affairs are viewed as being secluded from the campus community. Nunez said he believes this plan is a great way to change that narrative.

“My main goal in this [as director] has always been to foster community engagement. And community engagement is not community engagement if everyone is not included,” said Nunez. “This plan will help us to make sure that everyone is aware of the services we provided and active in supporting our veteran community.”

Executive Director of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) Sr. Mary Cecilia Draru said she hopes this strategic plan will help the Marywood community to understand and engage with global issues.

“[I would like to see students get involved with us by using] ASEC as a point of research. We [also] have a program which normally involves Marywood students and students from Chestnut Hill College near Philly [that takes students on a service trip]. Over 100 students have participated in this trip, and the trip is life-changing. But we also have opportunities for internships and even volunteer work,” said Draru.

The strategic plan outlines several ways that the university and satellite entities can measure their progress towards developing intergenerational learning opportunities. The strategic plan, as a whole, is projected to be completed by 2025.

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