Strategic Visioning Project Team

  • Professor Michele Papakie and about 30 students in her Public Relations undergraduate course are carrying out the initial phases of the IUP Strategic Visioning Project.

    What's it like to work on a big, real-life public relations project for the university?

    In the words of the pros: 


    Professor Michele Papakie

    “It's been exhilarating to hear how my students perceive their personal growth through this project. They have wildly exceeded my expectations. It feels as though I've tossed them out of the nest, and they've spread their wings to fly. We've made a few mistakes along the way, but that's how the best lessons are learned! I'm so proud of the work we accomplished together this spring and thrilled that eight students have applied to paying positions to continue the work this summer.

    “Thank you, President Driscoll, for entrusting us with this very important project.”

    Brandon Clemons

    Brandon Clemens

    “From the beginning, I knew that this was going to be special and that it was a method that all universities should use. This process is the epitome of a learning experience that is actually meaningful. It’s for the public, by the public; exactly what public relations should be.”


    Sara Coons

    “This is far from what I signed up for, but little did I know I would be walking out of it with so much more. Through Dr. Papakie’s class, I have been put in a real-world situation as an undergraduate student that truly inspires me to strive for not only my own success, but the success of IUP. I have gained so much pride in my school, and what it strives for, that I have rediscovered the reason why I chose IUP in the first place. I am honored to be able to leave my own legacy at IUP through the Strategic Visioning Project.”


    Kelly Dumrauf

    “We went into this class thinking it was going to be strictly public speaking, but it has taken us in a completely different direction and has really helped us learn about our roles at IUP.”


    Melissa Esing

    “When the Strategic Visioning Project was first introduced to our class, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Now, the more we talk about it and do it, the more excited I get. I’m very happy that I get to be a part of this.”

    David Gershgorn

    Dave Gershgorn

    “This project means that I’m able to help IUP grow as an institution and a community.”


    Kristen Gilmartin

    “Upon first learning of my class’ involvement in the strategic visioning project, I was a bit apprehensive. However, as the project progressed, I noticed my apprehension lessening. This project has allowed me to grow in a professional and personal sense, and I can now say with the utmost confidence that I can comfortably serve as the facilitator of a focus group. I feel that, overall, this project is going to be a beneficial learning experience for all involved.”


    Anthony Hall

    “When we began working on this project, I was a little uneasy. I signed up for a presentation making class to help me with my public speaking. Little did I know that only a few weeks into the class we would shift gears and begin doing work for the strategic visioning project with IUP’s president? However, diving right into a real-life issue has given me more confidence in my public speaking ability and has helped to prepare me for the real world. I’m giving presentations and facilitating focus groups. I look forward to continuing this project and expect to continue my growth while developing the strategic vision for IUP.”


    Alese Klemens

    “Before we started this process, I thought this plan might be unattainable for a group of undergraduate students. As we started interviewing different groups of people related to the university, I started to get a sense of peoples’ reactions to the university, what they want to see in IUP’s future and reasons why they love IUP. It’s exciting to see how their points of view differ from mine and fun to see this process develop.”


    Tia Kordell

    “Few can say they get the real-life, hands-on experience as an undergraduate that I am getting by being a part of the IUP Strategic Visioning Project team. When this opportunity presented itself to my presentation making class, I was immediately elated to have a hand in shaping IUP’s future.”


    Brittany Madera

    “Before this project, I didn’t think that I was a ‘school pride’ type of college student. I’ve never lived in the residence halls, and working long hours of retail meant that I didn’t participate in many on-campus activities. While other students could find reasons to be inspired by IUP, I just didn’t have enough attachment to the campus.

    “That has changed.

    “Through working on the SVP with Dr. Papakie and Dr. Driscoll, I rekindled a love for IUP and the campus that I decided to come to four years ago. Now, as a soon-to-be alumna, I learned what it means to be proud of your school, your colleagues and the memories that IUP holds for so many people who have graduated from here.”


    Hannah McCracken

    “When we were first introduced to the strategic visioning project and told that we would be involved in its success or potential failure, I was skeptical, to say the least. The thought of speaking in front of my peers caused my palms to sweat, let alone my predecessors, IUP alumni and various other publics; the idea alone caused paralyzing terror. Now that I have facilitated multiple group interviews, I have become confident in my public speaking and communication skills and have become enthusiastic about my involvement in this process.”


    Shawna McCutcheon

    “I’m excited to be involved in this unique opportunity. I think it will be a great experience for me, and I believe the outcome will be beneficial to Indiana University of Pennsylvania.”


    Caleb Murphy

    “Now that I’ve dived into this project, my hesitance about it has turned to excitement. Practicing leadership and public speaking through real-world experiences is one of the best ways to learn. I’m excited to learn. And I’m honored to act a part in the bigger picture of IUP’s future.”


    Colleen O’Laughlin

    “This is an amazing opportunity to gain real-life, public relations experience. I would like to thank President Driscoll and Dr. Papakie for including our public relations class in the strategic visioning project for IUP.”


    Juliette Rapp

    “The reason I came to IUP was because of the great value it offered to out-of-state students, but the level of hands-on professional experience I’m gaining from having the opportunity to work on the school’s strategic visioning project is absolutely priceless.”


    Allison Scrudato

    “When Dr. Papakie threw out our syllabus to work on IUP’s new strategic plan this semester, I was a little skeptical. After starting the process, though, I have really embraced what a great opportunity this is for my classmates and me.”


     Junene Taylor

    "Working on the Strategic Visioning Project with the president of IUP is an enriching and rewarding experience. As an undergraduate, I am excited that I can have a hand in shaping IUP's future. Gaining real-world PR experience is a nice bonus.”


    Katie Trenney

    "I’m very excited to be working on this project with my classmates and other members of the university!  I grew up around IUP; my family has always been involved on campus.  I’m enjoying having the opportunity to speak to students, faculty, community members and others about how they view IUP, how they feel about IUP and what they want to see happen for IUP in the future."


    Emily Walter

    "I think the focus groups are the integral part of this project. Most of them are volunteer-based, and it's great to speak to people who really want to have an impact on the outcome of the project."



    Emily Weber

    “I’m so excited to be a part of this project. Hands-on, collaborative work can be hard to find in a typical class, so this work is going to be a challenge (in a positive way) and a fantastic learning opportunity.”

    WEBER, Emily

    Jake Williams

    "As a print journalist, I’m naturally somewhat opposed to anything that deals with public relations; however, when I am in control, I feel that I can ensure that the truth is playing a part in what we’re doing. Therefore, I was pretty reluctant to get involved when the idea of contributing to the strategic visioning at IUP was brought up, yet as the project idea itself developed, so did my passion to be a part of it. We’ve all benefited from IUP in some way; it is our responsibility to make sure that the future remains strong at IUP."