Lynn J. Darby School
The new home of the Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling in the Gainesville Renaissance on the Brenau Downtown Campus facilitates the expansion of the counseling clinic and academic programs.

Moving forward, propelled by Brenau’s new strategic plan

Apr 4, 2022
Anne A. Skleder

Greetings, Brenau community.

As we approach the end of the semester, it isn’t easy to include in one blog post all of the exciting things that are happening at Brenau University in April to move us forward on our newly launched strategic plan.

Our collaborative and open strategic planning process included hundreds of faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees, and I appreciate their efforts. Now the hard work begins. Please read Brenau’s six high-level goals and our strategies to achieve them on this PDF or the web page if you haven’t already.

I want to highlight one achievement in particular because it helps us meet several strategic goals, and the ripple effects will have a far-reaching positive impact beyond Brenau.

Gainesville Renaissance exterior
This week, Brenau celebrates the opening of the new home of the Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling in the Gainesville Renaissance on the Brenau Downtown Campus.

This week, Brenau celebrates the opening of the new home of the Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling in the Gainesville Renaissance on the Brenau Downtown Campus. I’m grateful to Doug and Kay Ivester for another extraordinary gift. Their generosity and commitment to the people of Gainesville and Hall County focuses their extremely generous investment in education and the health sciences. We are humbled to be stewards of their investment.

The move facilitates the expansion of the Darby School’s counseling clinic and academic programs, demonstrating how Brenau is working to address the dire need in Georgia and the local community for more well-trained mental health professionals.

Georgia ranks at the bottom nationally in access to mental health, according to the nonprofit Mental Health America. Much of the state is categorized as underserved by the Georgia Department of Community Health. Additionally, the employment of counselors in substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health is expected to grow 23% through 2030, with about 41,000 annual job openings nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Next year, we plan to add a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a dance/movement therapy certificate program. I’m proud that these efforts and other efforts are led by experienced and motivated faculty like Dr. Julie Battle, chair of the Darby School and a Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Chair.

I also want to highlight some of the other recent work as well as April events that set us well on the way to achieving our strategic goals:

  • Student from Panama with sculpture
    One of the visually impaired students from Panama works on the sculpture she created.

    Goal 2 states that we will “manage growth to ensure a thriving future,” and one of the key strategies to achieve this is a commitment to the growth of The Women’s College. April’s traditional events, part of the long history of this institution, show just how vibrant The Women’s College remains at Brenau.

  • The recent announcement of our partnership with Lanier Technical College to ease credit transfers is another way we are already working on Goal 2.
  • Globalization is a key strategy for our third goal of fostering inclusion at Brenau, and we welcomed a new cohort of students through the partnership with Panama’s financial aid agency. The Latin American/Caribbean Initiative is coordinated by our Miller Institute for Global Education. We now have three cohorts on campus and are working on similar agreements with other partner countries.
  • light pole banner
    Brenau has installed new light pole banners.

    Our fourth strategic plan goal to communicate our excellence includes celebrating achievements, which will do with our April 21 Honors Convocation. And if you visit a Brenau campus this spring, you’ll notice new light pole banners as one of the most visible representations of the new university branding that’s also part of Goal 4 along with other forthcoming initiatives.

  • Recently, I enjoyed learning about the work of our faculty and students during the annual Research Symposium and I congratulate all those who were recognized for their projects.
  • Lastly, a short note of gratitude to all of those who helped prepare for our recent on-site visit from SACS; I look forward to sharing more information when the review is official.

I’m pleased with our efforts, but this is only the beginning. I look forward to collaborating across Brenau and with the broader community to prepare students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment.

Until the next post, please follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more of what’s happening at Brenau.