Annual Armstrong Community Summit Continues
(Nov. 15, 2012) In fall 2011, Armstrong invited leaders from key sectors of the community to take part in a summit dedicated to analyzing the evolving needs of our community. The aim of the summit was to identify partnerships that Armstrong can forge to help students succeed and potentially meet those evolving needs. Representatives from government in Savannah and Hinesville, military bases, school systems and partners from healthcare, businesses and industry gathered with members of Armstrong faculty, staff and administration to engage in such strategic discussions. The 2011 summit led directly to initiatives implemented for the 2012-13 academic year, including new certificate and degree programs as well as military outreach and support efforts.
In October 2012, President Linda Bleicken continued the tradition and hosted the second Armstrong Community Summit on campus. The 2012 Armstrong Community Summit went even further to identify the community’s collective needs, both in Savannah and Hinesville. In addition to government, education, military, healthcare and business leaders, the 2012 summit expanded to include the university’s higher education partners in the area, with leaders from Savannah Technical College and Savannah State University taking part in the conversation.
“The value of this forum today is a coming together in our strategic partnerships,” explained Lt. Col. Edward Kovaleski, Garrison Commander, U.S. Army.
During the half-day session, breakout groups were held to identify concerns, challenges, and possible solutions to issues the community faces. In the field of health, the imminent need for advancements in the integration of technology and healthcare for the “silver tsunami” of Baby Boomers about to cross the 65-year-old threshold was identified. Academic partnerships in the engineering field were discussed to explore more degree options that would help students continue on to science and technology careers after graduation. The education-focused breakout group also suggested a need for academic partnerships in education, to help high school students consider careers in early childhood education before they go to college and thereby expedite their career path. Conversations of how best to partner with the military resulted in ideas on increasing the accessibility of higher education for service men and women while they are still serving abroad. In the areas of business and industry, a need was seen to create business leaders who will also serve as community leaders.
“We were talking about education solutions that were specific for how we operate every single day,” said Scott Center, President of National Office Solutions.
Through the course of the next year, Armstrong will initiate smaller, tactical discussions around these ideas to further explore what the university can implement not only with curricular programs but also with partnerships and outreach to help ensure a successful future for the area and its constituents.
“What I hope to see come from this is a series of programs that allow the community to grow,” reflected City of Hinesville Mayor James Thomas, Jr., “allow the community to develop at a certain rate, and allow us to provide jobs and pathways to our students who graduate from all of our universities here.”
As with the 2011 summit, the knowledge gained and the ideas born from the 2012 Armstrong Community Summit can help the university have a collective impact on the people, businesses and education of our immediate world. From Hinesville to Savannah, Armstrong is committed to improving the success of the community and maintaining strong partnerships that contribute to that success.