Dr. Kristi Anderson has taken the role as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s first chief strategy officer.

Anderson took the position on Dec. 1, 2022. She said that the position was created because UL Lafayette was looking to have someone oversee how the university can move forward and implement its strategic plan.

“What direction are we going to take, what’s the vision we’re going to have, and where do we see ourselves in the next three, to five, to ten years?” Anderson said.

Anderson shared that the university has spent about two years collecting data from students, faculty and staff, and trying to gauge their thoughts on what the university’s needs are.

“What are those things that we need to have successful students, to have successful faculty and staff, to have a culture of belonging and inclusion, and to also make an impact for our community?” Anderson said.

Currently, the University Council is looking into how they can best put the findings from the data into a strategic plan for moving the university forward. Anderson will be in charge of then figuring out how the university can apply that plan and get where it wants to be.

“A strategic plan is really a directional map, and it does a lot for us as an organization. IT tells us who we are now and who we want to be,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s other major job this semester is helping to handle the university’s recent purchase of property from Our Lady of Lourdes, and seeing how best to use the property to expand the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. 

Specifically, Anderson has been working on building up relationships and partnerships with other organizations, such as the LSU School of Medicine.

Anderson’s past experience includes having been an assistant professor of research and the director of medical education at the LSU School of Medicine’s Lafayette campus. She worked closely with the administration and community, which has prepared her for her current position.

“While my title wasn’t actually strategist or chief strategy officer, I feel like that’s what I did, I did strategy work. I was always looking at how we can shift ourselves periodically to build anew,” Anderson said. 

When asked about what kind of impact she wants to make on the university and its students, Anderson stated that she would want to make a thoughtful and intentional impact.

“I want to be able to say at the end of the day that I helped to advance the university because of the way in which I was a member of whatever conversation or decision, and that I brought a side that maybe wasn’t thought of before,” Anderson said.

She further stressed UL Lafayette’s diversity, and how she wants to ensure that every voice is heard.

“I want to be able to say that all of those voices and all of those kinds of spirits were taken into account,” Anderson said. “It was an intentional thought of, you know what, this group or that person or this organization deserves to have a voice, and this is what I can hopefully bring as something that is necessary to advance the direction of the university.”

Anderson closed by sharing a bit about herself, including her passion for music. She’s a singer and guitarist and has performed for weddings in the past. 

She’s taken to coming into the office earlier in the morning to have some time just to herself to play music before the work day starts.

“It’s my thing, and it’s the thing that feeds my soul. So that’s probably the thing at the beginning of the day that starts me off,” Anderson said. 

Anderson also shared that although she’s not a graduate of UL Lafayette, she has come to fall in love with the campus and enjoys going on walks, taking in the sights and atmosphere, and collecting the occasional flower to dry them.

“And there’s still pieces I know I haven’t really seen. It’s just a beautiful campus, the bricks, the flowers, and the trees,” Anderson said.