Consultants' Notes, November 2017

Consultants’ Notes and Reflections
Campus Visit November 2017

The Strategic Panning Steering Committee (SPSC) reached consensus on a first draft of a vision statement, set of core values, and list of five strategic goals. This draft next goes out to the university community for comment. Those comments will inform further refinements in these important initial pieces of the university’s ten-year strategic plan. 

The proposed draft vision statement expresses the fundamental purpose of the university in terms of student success, a shift of focus from the previous strategic plan’s focus, which was expressed in terms of the institution.

The SPSC has recommended that the university mission statement remain unchanged for now. This recommendation may be reconsidered later during the strategic planning process.

The set of enduring core values that the SPSC is putting forward for consideration identifies those values in single words, similar to the way that the institution’s values as expressed a century ago were etched in stone on the Color Post in Karlen Quad.

The SPSC then identified five strategic goals that are intended to move the institution forward toward fulfilling its mission, realizing its vision, and manifesting its core values. At the time that these consultants’ notes are being written, President Crawford is preparing a comprehensive message to the university community that will share for comment the SPSC’s first draft of these important strategic planning elements.

Next steps: Specific action initiatives under each goal will be identified over the next few months.  This will be the work of Goal Teams, each addressing one of the strategic goals. The work of those teams will include the identification of metrics and milestones by which the institution can evaluate its progress on each goal.  In many cases, the strategic initiatives will group together activities that may already be underway or envisioned; for example, the development of a strategic enrollment plan or a strategic financial plan.  The Goal Teams will be formed before the end of the current year so that they can hit the ground running in early January.  This timing is important for the university to continue to make timely progress toward the recommendation of a strategic plan, the initial version of which the SPSC will prepare for comment by the university community and the board of trustees in May 2018.  During the summer that initial version will be refined, the initiatives sequenced, the implementation steps clarified, and a final recommendation will be articulated. The Goal Teams are scheduled to complete their vital work during the first three months of 2018.

In addition to holding a Community Conversation, which is open to all members of the university community, during the November campus visit the consultants were provided the opportunity to meet with the LEAD group and the Staff Senate.

The November Community Conversation, convened and led by President Crawford, was well attended. It began with an open Q&A to ensure that every person who wished to comment on any aspect of strategic planning could be heard. After the Q&A, President Crawford led those assembled in a brainstorming exercise focused on identifying potential academic and non-academic entrepreneurial opportunities from which many interesting ideas emerged. In the months of October and November, President Crawford led the SPSC, the LEAD group, and the Board of Trustees in that same exercise, which produced a large number of creative suggestions each time. All the ideas emerging from these brainstorming sessions have been recorded for use in stimulating conversations in the Goal Teams, once those teams have been formed.  We joined a well-attended Staff Senate meeting after it completed its working agenda for the day. Our time with the Staff Senate was filled with good questions and ideas raised for further consideration.