On Planning: Preparing to Succeed

Later this week, faculty and staff will gather at Convocation—as we do each August—to prepare for the start of the academic year. As I mentioned in my last blog post, one of the things that is significant about this year’s gathering is that 2017-18 will be the third and final year of our first University Strategic Plan. We will finish it well.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Our planning intentions are now refined into precise actions that will result in where the institution needs to go.  This third year of our plan is critical in terms of delivering on the promise of greatness that three years ago we articulated.

Yet, effective planning is how we continue to sharpen the axe. To that end, I have asked the Provost to re-engage the University’s Strategic Planning Board in the weeks following Convocation.

The Board will work on improving our communication and collaboration around the current plan, which will in turn strengthen the foundation upon which our second University Strategic Plan will be built in 2018. In light of the transition we will undergo later this fall in Academic Affairs, I have asked our Chief Counsel and Campus Affairs Officer, Frances Davis, to support the Board and the Provost in the role of Vice Chair and to participate ex officio on the Committee.

The Strategic Planning team will engage faculty, staff, students, and leaders across our university community to help drive results. Together, we can make improvements in how we plan, measure, and report on our progress—both on the day-to-day business of educating students, and on the key strategic initiatives that will continue to grow us into a university that serves the vital needs of our region and our state.