Mount Marty College President Marcus Long has accepted a three-year contract extension that was offered by the school’s Board of Trustees, it was announced Tuesday.
"My wife and I love Mount Marty College and everyone at all of our locations," Long said. "It’s awesome to have the contract in place moving forward, because it allows us to focus on what we’re trying to provide to our students."
Long assumed his role at the college in 2015 after leaving St. Louis College of Pharmacy. At MMC, Long has overseen some massive changes on campus, including the $1.7 million renovation of the nursing center housed in the Avera Science and Nursing Complex.
The Press and Dakotan spoke with Long on what he hopes to see through the next three years of his tenure.
"First and foremost, this is a challenging time in American higher education, so we’re looking for ways to ensure our success and recruit those students that will do well with the Mount Marty experience," he said. "With our new strategic plan, we expect to really be successful moving forward."
The strategic plan is a focus on five main points: growth and visibility, Benedictine leadership, rural health and well-being, experiential learning and community engagement.
A big help for the Benedictine leadership point is the Benedictine Leadership Institute (BLI).
It is set to begin this fall and Long hopes to draw that into the center of the campus experience for students.
"We want to take this 1,500-year-old tradition and show how that can be for the modern college student," Long said. "We want to make sure that every student — and that includes faculty and staff — comes to campus every day looking to succeed."
The plan for the institute is to give students a chance to see the world through trips in order to further the learning experience
While the strategic plan is the main focus for Long currently, the plan is not set in stone. The college plans on reviewing policies to see what is successful and what needs changes.
"We want to find innovative ways to plan but nothing that is overly structured," Long said.
The continued rise in enrollment is a strong priority for Long as modern higher education institutes struggle with a flooded market.
Since Long arrived, freshman enrollment at MMC has risen, with enrollment up about 8 percent. Long says the outlook for this fall looks bright, with numbers rising even higher.
"You have to focus on what kind of institution you want to be," Long said. "We were founded 82 years ago and I think we do that well — connecting with young men and women. With good enrollment growth, it’s exciting to have that momentum moving forward."
In a press release, Dan Specht, chair of the MMC Board of Trustees, praised Long, for the direction the university has seen during his time as president.
"Feedback from students, faculty, staff and community leaders echoed the Board’s strong support for Marc," Specht said. "We are thrilled that he has agreed to lead the College into a bold future."
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