Consultants' Notes, January 2018

Consultants' Notes and Reflections
Jan. 17 and 18 Campus Visit

The work of the five goal teams was successfully launched. President Crawford met with all the goal team co-chairs on Jan. 16 and encouraged them to think boldly about initiatives that would advance each of the strategic goals over the coming ten years. 

On the 17th and 18th, each team held its initial meeting. Both consultants attended all five of these meetings. Each meeting began with team member introductions and a brief ice-breaker exercise.  Some co-chairs used prepared questions for this, for example, tell briefly what brings you to this room on this day for this purpose. Other co-chairs used the 30-circles exercise, which is designed to expand creativity and awareness of unnecessary self-imposed limitations on our own thinking.  

Every goal team participated in the “Dreams and Gripes” exercise borrowed from the Design Thinking approach, which is described at the Stanford University website, among other place.  The exercise that was used invited team members to work in pairs. First one member (speaker) tells the other member (listener/note taker) their dreams and gripes relative to the specific strategic goal that is the focus of that goal team. Then the two reverse roles. Each turn takes 5 minutes. Then the two work together to form their dreams and gripes into questions initiated by the phrase, “How might we ….?”

Dr. Carol Gittens conducted the Dreams and Gripes exercise for each goal team and kept notes on the questions that emerged as the work product. She has sent the questions emerging from their goal team to that goal team’s co-chairs. Carol also reminded all co-chairs that the work of their teams is supported by the two consultants and she encouraged the co-chairs to contact us by phone or email at any time.

The last part of the goal team meetings was devoted to planning and scheduling of the work of the goal team over the next few weeks. Interim reports are to be presented to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) at its Feb. 21 meeting, and final reports are due at its March 26 meeting. Outlines for those reports, as provided by the SPSC, were shared with the members of each goal team as was the official charge to each team. Also provided to the co-chairs for distribution to team members was a summary of all of the community feedback that had been received to date with regard to their specific goal of the strategic plan. 

On Thursday the consultants held a Community Conversation, which opened with quick review of process and where the university was in that work. Peter stressed the uniqueness of a strategic plan having a goal specifically focused on faculty and staff wellbeing. Attendees were invited to reflect on what the university might look like in 10 years if that goal was achieved. The remaining time was filled with that conversation.