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Planning to Be a Model Comprehensive University

After a Six-Month Collaboration, Faculty, Students and Staff Produce a Strategic Plan

April 12, 2013

Photo of Jennifer Faust and Bob Mead

Strategic Planning Steering Committee Co-chairs Jennifer Faust and Bob Mead answer questions about the university's strategic plan.

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The University’s new strategic plan was unveiled before a public forum Friday, April 12, establishing the blueprint for the campus’s priorities over the next five years.

“This is a day of celebration,” said President Mildred García.

"Last June, when Jack Bedell and I sat before the WASC commissioners, they shared with us their concerns about our strategic plan. I was asked directly if I felt the urgency to complete the plan and they asked me for a timetable. I shared with them that we would complete the strategic plan in six months. We started Oct. 12, and here we are on April 12! Bravo to all of you who so seriously engaged in a collaborative, inclusive process to get to where we are today.

"So now that we have a plan, what’s next?," she continued.

"The ultimate aim of planning is not to plan, but rather to do and then measure what we have accomplished. The next step is implementation, and we are committed to putting the strategic plan into action with each division, college and department working together to meet our collective goals. Our first task, however, will be to prioritize the work in this plan. We can’t do everything at once, and let’s remember this is a five-year plan. This prioritization will occur by the senior leadership with consultation from the University community."

As facilitator, Jolene Koester, president emeritus of CSU Northridge, provided an outsider’s perspective for the strategic planning effort.

“During the planning process, it was important to continue to reflect on the work that had been done previously by the campus community,” Koester said.

“At its core, a strategic plan needs to be open, collaborative, focused and implementable. The University already had a vision and mission statement, and its core values are imbedded within the plan. We didn’t see a need to go back and redo these areas. Instead, we focused on what we wanted to accomplish over the next five years.

“The previous plan had more than 25 goals,” she continued. “We had to narrow that down to the goals that were most critical. We then needed to establish measurable objectives and strategies that describe how the campus will achieve these goals.

“Today is the culmination of the strategic planning process,” Koester explained. “Our charge now is to operationalize these goals and complete the process.”

Strategic Planning Steering Committee Co-chairs Jenny Faust, associate vice president for academic affairs, and Bob Mead, associate professor for economics, described the planning process over the past six months — the meetings, town halls, steering committees and work groups. The Strategic Plan Steering Committee's website alone brought in more than 800 comments.

“You may also note that the goals are interlinked,” Mead pointed out. “Some elements of Goal 1 may pay off in Goal 3. The strategies will continue to evolve.”

All four goals can be found with the complete 2013 strategic plan on the Strategic Planning website.

“It’s also important to remember that this plan isn’t complete,” said Faust. “We made a commitment to develop a plan in six months and here we are, thanks to the work of many people. However, the analogy I like to use is that this is like commencement. Once one class graduates, another begins. This isn't finished. We're now moving into a new phase.”

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