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Annette Hacker, manager,
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Benjamin Allen, VP for academic affairs and provost and
chair of Strategic Planning Committee, (515) 294-0070

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

Allen: Strategic plan draft is 'substantive, strategic'

AMES, Iowa -- "Iowa State will be one of the world's leading universities in educating students and putting science and technology to work."

That lofty aspiration sets the tone for a strategic plan draft that was unveiled to the university community Aug. 30.

Four priorities

The draft, which is very much a work-in-progress at this point, would focus the university's collective energy over the next five years on four main priorities -- strengthening the undergraduate experience to enhance student success, increasing the number of nationally recognized programs that are known as the very best in their fields, achieving preeminence in translating discoveries into products and services with a focus on building Iowa's economy and a sustainable future, and enhancing the quality of life on campus and throughout the state.

The draft released this week is only the first part of what will eventually become Iowa State's next strategic plan. It includes statements of the university mission, core values and long-term aspiration, as well as priorities and goals that will get special attention over the next five years (FY05-10). Still to come in future drafts of the plan are strategies and action plans to achieve goals, and measures that will be used to assess the success of those efforts.

"We're releasing the first part of the plan now to give everyone the opportunity to comment early on the direction we're headed," said VP for academic affairs, provost and chair of the strategic planning committee Benjamin Allen. "We'll fill in more details on the next draft and provide opportunity for more input at that time."

Allen said he's pleased with the plan thus far.

"It's short, yet substantive and strategic," he said. "It tells us where we need to focus our efforts and funds over the next five years. It touches on many of the key elements -- for example, outstanding undergraduate education, nationally recognized programs, a diverse climate and service to our state -- that will keep an already excellent university on the move."

Aspiration a good fit

"And the long-term aspiration -- to be one of the leading universities in educating students and putting science and technology to work -- seems particularly apt for Iowa State," Allen added. "We're student-centered. We're hard-working. And true to our land-grant roots, we have a long tradition at Iowa State of not just making discoveries, but taking the next step of putting them to practical use."

Allen expects several revisions to the plan over the coming months as the university community and public offer comments and suggestions.

"We're grateful to the hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community leaders who brought their ideas on the next plan to discussion groups and forums during the past few months," Allen said. "That input was immensely useful to the strategic planning committee as it worked on the plan.

"We hope people will continue to comment throughout the planning process," Allen added. "This plan will set Iowa State's course at least through 2010. We want it to be as solid and strong as it can be."

Comments on the first draft of the plan should be submitted by Sept. 17 to (Comments on the plan will be posted periodically, without attribution, on the strategic planning web site.)

Comments also can be submitted at a Sept. 10 open forum for feedback on the strategic plan draft. The forum will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Memorial Union Gallery.

Second draft in October

A second draft of the plan will be released Oct. 11 for review and input. The plan will go the Faculty Senate for discussion in December and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in February or March.

The submission of the plan to the regents will cap a yearlong process that began with Allen's appointment last January of the 42-member Strategic Planning Committee.

"I'm very grateful to the committee, which has tackled this difficult task with enthusiasm and thoughtfulness, and to the facilitating subgroup, which has put forth extraordinary effort," Allen said.

The first draft of the plan is on the strategic plan web site at

Quick Look at the Strategic Plan Draft


Iowa State University's mission is to create and share knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.


Iowa State will be one of the world's leading universities in educating students and putting science and technology to work.

Priorities and Goals for 2005-2010

  • Strengthen the undergraduate experience to enhance student success at and beyond Iowa State University.
    • Among goals: Improve the rigor of undergraduate programs and enhance programs for high-ability students. Improve students' ability to communicate effectively. Welcome students to explore specializations and career paths. Increase the percentage of students who complete degrees. Increase the number of students who participate in experiential learning.
  • Increase the number of undergraduate, graduate and research programs known as the very best in their fields, particularly in areas in which the university's strengths address critical needs and opportunities.
    • Among goals: Leverage university strengths and emerging state and national needs to achieve preeminence in research areas such as biosciences, materials sciences and information sciences. Attract and retain outstanding faculty, staff and students.
  • Achieve preeminence in translating new discoveries into viable technologies, products, and services with a focus on fueling Iowa's economy and building a sustainable future.
    • Among goals: Lead the nation in the number of new patents and licenses and in initiating successful business ventures. Develop nationally recognized programs for students who aspire to be entrepreneurs in their fields. Strengthen programs to improve the Iowa economy.
  • Enhance the quality of life on campus and throughout Iowa.
    • Among goals: Enrich Iowa communities and resources and improve the health and well-being of Iowans. Provide a well-rounded, lively learning experience on campus. Enhance efforts to create a campus and Ames community that welcomes those from diverse backgrounds.



"We're releasing the first part of the plan now to give everyone the opportunity to comment early on the direction we're headed."

Benjamin Allen

First draft of the 2005-2010 strategic plan