Provost Karen Hanson presented an update on the strategic plan to the Board of Regents on March 27. She discussed the steps under way to implement the 10-year plan for the Twin Cities campus. She also provided an overview of the methods that will be used to measure progress, with supporting remarks by Lincoln Kallsen, the University's director of institutional analysis.
"As you know, the plan provides a framework for making the most of our capacity—and responsibility—to produce transformative research, outstanding education, meaningful outreach, and productive collaboration," the provost said in her presentation.
"There are four broad goals, but the deep goal is institutional invigoration and excellence."
View Video of Board of Regents Discussion (segment starts 1:40:38)
Key points from presentation
- The plan is grounded on a clear sense of our signal strengths and special opportunities, and shaped by our understanding of the currents of change that are reshaping higher ed and research universities.
- It meets the charge President Kaler set for the campuswide planning group: a bold, achievable plan that will advance the University's quality, impact, and reputation.
Implementation Priorities Under Way
- SP Continuity Team
- Members drawn from campus Strategic Planning Workgroup or extended Issue Teams.
- Will help to guide implementation priorities and engage campus community.
- Embedding into campus life
- Integration of strategic goals into compact and budget activities began during fall semester.
- Additional work with central offices and deans to align structures, processes, and priorities with the campuswide plan.
- Jump-Starting GC Curriculum and Research
- The plan connects research, curricular, and outreach strategies to ensure that our faculty and staff do their best work and that we provide our students with innovative educational opportunities.
- Deans and faculty have collaborated with the Office of Undergraduate Education on Grand Challenges courses to be offered starting fall 2016. Minors and theme courses also moving forward.
- Grand Challenges Research Strategies Team developing a multifaceted process to gather perspectives from across the campus on crossdisciplinary areas where we have or are poised to have exceptional strength or competitive advantage.
- Steps Across Goal Areas
- Our vision of preeminence in addressing the grand challenges of a diverse and changing world will ultimately be achieved only by concerted progress in all four goal areas.
- The plan includes many specific action steps—it is a 10-year plan.
- Scoring some "Quick Wins"—e.g., in areas such as faculty recruiting and development, campus climate, retirement incentives, faculty and student awards, public engagement, and other priority areas.
- Colleges and schools are identifying "stop doing lists" as part of compact planning, aligning strategic plans with campus goals, and working in many ways to cross structural and disciplinary boundaries. This work is spurring new collaborations and will lead to models that can be shared across units.
Measuring Our Success
- To keep our eye on the ball, we need to measure our efforts—to discern what is succeeding and what needs a fresh start.
- The plan is a focused framework for advancing progress in strategic areas to invigorate the U’s core academic mission—and so measuring its success will primarily mean looking at the existing metrics and benchmarks used by our institution.
- We will use some specific measures drawn directly from the terms of the plan to make sure we are attending to its details (e.g., how many external faculty awards? How many students participating in GC curricula?)
- We will also need to develop more nuanced criteria for success—more challenging to measure (e.g., is interdisciplinary work now easier to pursue on our campus? Are we doing work of major impact?)
- The baseline for accountability should be the metrics the U and its peers use to track performance.
- Work is moving forward to develop ongoing metrics tied to our core mission, long-range planning, and ten-year strategic vision. Measures will include operational management measures linked to action steps, to assure that progress is being made on the "nuts and bolts."
- A May presentation to the Board of Regents will focus on the University's metrics framework.