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Decreased state funding, online institutions among challenges for NKU

Classes begin Monday for students at Northern Kentucky University. Today the president had a message for the people who will teach them.

Nearly four months to the minute after being named president, Geoffrey Mearns stood before faculty and administrators at today's convocation and looked forward. His mission is not without challenges.

State funding is down and Mearns says for-profit online institutions, with increasingly aggressive recruiting tactics, are posing a major threat.

"What we have to do is reconcile the tension between those two and use technology, not to replace the faculty member in the classroom but to enhance that faculty member's ability to connect, educate and inspire students."

This fall Mearns will conduct a survey and meet with staff, students, business leaders and the community to develop a strategic plan.