On Planning: Renewed Engagement and Focus

Last Friday, telecast from Russell Hall on the Cochran Campus to the entire community, I provided an update to our faculty and staff on our Middle Georgia State University 2015-18 Strategic Plan: Greatness Begins Here.

Based on feedback from our employees, this year we took a more collaborative approach to identifying our institutional strategic initiatives. In an effort led by our new Provost, we listened first, then set goals.

As mentioned at Convocation, we made significant progress on 96% of our 47 initiatives in 2015-16. Building on those achievements, this year we are narrowing our focus to initiatives that will be game changers for our students and community.

In short, we will not attempt 40+ institutional initiatives in 2016-17, instead we will focus on 20 absolutely vital efforts that—combined—will be our Greatness in the Making.

In five key areas, correlating to our Strategic Directions, we identified 20 initiatives for Year Two to foster the ingredients that make for a successful university: Growth, Students, People, Finances, and Knowledge.

The context for our work is encouraging. After the our first enrollment increase in 5 years last Spring, we are holding steady.

As of this week, we slightly exceeded our enrollment goal for Fall 2016, drawing 7 more students than we did last fall. At a time when the trends in higher education enrollment have not been in our favor, that is a tremendous accomplishment made possible by the work of dedicated faculty and staff, fueled by the dreams of our students, their families, and our communities.

I encourage you to review the list of Year Two initiatives now on our Strategic Plan webpage and consider your role in achieving them.  Every one of us—whether an administrator, faculty, staff, student, parent, alumni, or community member—has a role to play in building greatness here.

One of the lessons of our first year as a university is that, at least as important as collaborating on our priorities, is communicating our progress.  To that end, the university has begun a refresh and build-out of the Strategic Planning webpage.

By mid-October, each of our 20 initiatives will be built out—with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and bar graphs showing our progress. In addition, the Provost will provide a quarterly update on the Strategic Plan.

This quarter began September 1, 2016 with the selection of our 2016-17 Strategic Initiatives.  By December 1, not only will our webpage reflect how we are doing on those initiatives, but we will see displays across our campuses reminding us of our successes and where work remains to be done.

Thank you for your candor and support thus far. As Helen Keller so aptly put it, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”