Dec. 3, 2020
Reading time: 5 minutes, 36 seconds

place·mak·INg (NOUN)

The process of creating quality places in which people live, work, play and learn.

The University of West Georgia has embarked on a stakeholder-based strategic visioning process for the future of the institution. This process will use as guideposts three pillars as identified by Dr. Brendan B. Kelly, UWG’s president: relevance, competitiveness and placemaking.

The process, titled Becoming UWG, has sought the input and support of members across the UWG community to help shape a comprehensive blueprint for the university – one that will affirm clarity and relevance for the future of the institution. Perspectives on each of the three pillars from key university stakeholders will be shared in a series of three stories on the UWG News website in October, November and December prior to the release of the institution’s next strategic plan in early 2021. Perspectives on relevance were posted in October and on competitiveness in November.

To learn more about the university’s stakeholder-based strategic planning process, visit the Becoming UWG webpage.


Brendan Bowen

Associate Vice President

Campus Planning and Facilities

UWG should engage every part of the university community – including students, staff, faculty, guests, prospective students, community members and visitors – in our placemaking effort. We should pay attention to anything that would be a barrier to our sense of place and invest in making UWG a destination. We should always innovate to make places (indoors and out) where students can learn and succeed; where we can meet the needs of the whole person; where we can celebrate together; and that will live in the memories of our students and alumni forever.

Brendan Bowen

Dr. Meredith N. Brunen

Vice President, CEO

University Advancement, UWG Foundations

UWG is more than just a place on the map. It’s a destination. To remain relevant and competitive in the higher education marketplace, we must create spaces and places where everyone who interacts with the university – whether they are students, employees, alumni, supporters or community members – can thrive. By cultivating and stewarding relationships with our generous supporters, we create opportunities for our current and future students to learn in a place that celebrates both our heritage and our future.

Dr. Meredith N. Brunen
 

Dr. Morris Council III

Assistant Professor

Department of Literacy and Special Education

To me, placemaking means belonging. It’s the open invitation for connectivity between spaces, people and experiences that yield a sense of pride and ownership of the memories and traditions created in such a place. UWG has so many exciting spaces that promote health, happiness, civility, and wellbeing. As a faculty member, I’ve experienced these spaces by grabbing lunch with colleagues at Z-6 in the presence of our students, tailgating with the UWG family at homecoming, or even walking the Greenbelt, enjoying the company of colleagues I wouldn’t have the pleasure of knowing had I not been in such a place. It is my belief that we create these unique spaces together by hiring individuals who are intentional about understanding and inviting others into those spaces. I’ve watched faculty and staff members at the UWG engage in phenomenal work to shape the experiences that we hope our students will remember and pass down forever.

Dr. Morris Council III

Donna Armstrong Lackey, M.P.A.

Director

Office of Public Service and Outreach

For UWG, placemaking is an opportunity to elevate and promote the high quality of our regional comprehensive university as a “destination university” for students seeking innovative learning and skills development to meet the future demands of global business and industry. As a result, the communities we serve will be proud to hold up UWG as a flagship for regional economic growth and talent development. Like never before, UWG has an opportunity to engage the communities we serve as a major player in talent development creating a return on investment by business and industry, a partner in all areas of quality of life, and as a welcoming resource for community-wide higher learning, culture and innovation.

Donna Armstrong Lackey, M.P.A.

Michelle Morgan

Chair

Carroll County Board of Commissioners

Through the use of placemaking, UWG continues to promote health, happiness and wellbeing for students, faculty, staff and the community. As an alumna, I have had many occasions to be on campus, but I most enjoy my weekly runs through the campus. Sometimes I run early in the morning with girlfriends before the sun rises, feeling the quiet. Then there are the afternoons running when the university is alive with students – connecting with them as they meet me and my dog. I have the opportunity to chat with each of them about where they are from, the degree they are working toward or just remembering when I was walking the same paths to class. The pillar of placemaking uses the peaceful and beautiful campus to invite residents of Carroll County to become a part of the University of West Georgia.

Michelle Morgan

Lisa Todd

Landscape Supervisor

Facilities and Grounds

Placemaking is the most succinct and accurate word to describe what I do. If a student needs a place to decompress and re-energize for the next challenge, I want to provide that space. If a student is hurrying from one class to another and they take a shortcut, I want it to be pleasant. If they pause on the sidewalk, I want whatever they are looking at to be interesting and beautiful. All of these are important things in the development of the young people who choose this place. I feel a new level of support for creating new spaces on campus and beautifying the existing spaces. This effort shows a new interest and commitment in placemaking: not just an institution providing a service but providing a home base where our students can grow.

Lisa Todd

Benjamin Walters

Senior Biology Major, Blue Coat and Member of the UWG Football Team

University of West Georgia

UWG has demonstrated placemaking in a variety of ways in my time here at the university. UWG has so much to offer its current and incoming students, and it gives the perfect example of what placemaking should look like at a public university. As we move forward into the future, UWG knows there is always room for improvement. A small and constant rate of improvement leads to huge growth over a period of time.

Benjamin Walters

Dr. Brad Yates

Chair and Professor

Mass Communications

Simply put, placemaking means that students feel they belong. This sense of belonging develops over time as students grow and evolve as individuals through classroom challenges, experiential learning lab opportunities and extracurricular activities. Mass Communications alum Ethan Orphe said it best at the 10-year reunion of The WOLF Internet Radio alumni: “UWG is my muse; I come back to get re-energized!” Indeed, his words ring true for so many former students who are transformed by their experiences at UWG and who feel a deep connection to the campus, community and people of UWG. This place made them who they are, and it remains a part of them long after they graduate. That's placemaking.

Dr. Brad Yates