Iowa State University

Iowa State University

Strategic Plan 2005-2010

Comments on Strategic Plan draft, Oct. 28

These comments refer to the second draft of the Strategic Plan for 2005-2010. The plan was released Oct. 11.


Proud of Land-grant heritage

I understand how difficult it is to draft a strategic plan, but I want to thank you for adding the "The Land-Grand Ideal" piece to the front page. We should be very proud of our Land Grant heritage at ISU.

Some things for your consideration:


  • the first bullet... teaching. .research...outreach and extension. There is outreach from the individual colleges and their is outreach from Extension staff and those with Extension appointments.
  • As I read the papers and listen to the news, I think that economic development is critical to this state in terms of growth, retention of our young people, etc. As a science and technology institute we are aligned to assist with assisting with economic development to improve the quality of life. We need to apply that knowledge to strengthen economic development.


  • Politically, our priorities need to be stated in a way that it says we will use this information to to develop programs that will impact Iowans.


  • Not only do we need to enable students, but we also need to work with Iowans to assist them in evaluating information, and giving them the tools to access information and use technology effectively in their lives and businesses.


  • Increase the number of graduate..... Could you take the idea of partnering with Iowans to do this?


  • Again, we need to show Iowan's that we see them as a partner. So, we need to look at actually talking and listening to the people of Iowa and set up research projects in their communities to help answer real problems. We need to help them become enhance their communities and the public and private sectors, so that people will want to stay or return to Iowa.

Goals- Enhance the vitality of Iowa's communities and well-being of its people.

  • Looking at the measure of that goal. Rather than just "number", maybe we need to report impacts that were made in the lives and businesses of Iowans that were significant. In addition, we can report the number of personal contacts, web and email contacts, publications and other resources distributed, and conferences attended. In summary, I think in the language, it would be good to be inclusive the people of Iowa and to work with them to create a better place.

Add "economic development"

First, I'd like to say thank you to those responsible for changes made to the current draft. Those responsible clearly heard many of the earlier concerns and made important changes that, I believe, strengthened our plan for the future.

Relative to the current draft, I offer the following specific suggestions:

Under Mission:

Suggest Revision:

Apply knowledge to [strengthen economic development] and improve quality of life for current and future generations.

Under Priority: "Translate discoveries into..."

Under Goals:

Suggest Adding:

  • Develop and market citizens' innovative and value-added technologies, products, and services.
    • Enhance Iowans' ability to evaluate, use, apply, and access available information, education, and technology.

Under Priority: "Partner or with Iowans to..."

Under Goals:

Suggest Adding:

  • Develop field-based research efforts that enhance the state's place competitiveness, public sector competitiveness, and private sector competitiveness.
  • Develop community-led solutions that address the most challenging societal and economic issues facing Iowans.
  • Enhance partnerships with organizations, agencies, and educational institutions that share ISU Extension's commitment to the people of Iowa.
  • Pursue positive leadership development for youth, communities, and organizations in Iowa.

Under Measures relating to 2nd Current Goal: "Enhance the viability of Iowa's Communities and wellbeing of its people."

Suggest Revision: Number of contacts [(e.g. personal contacts, web and other electronic contacts, receipts of publications and other products, etc.)] made by [University Extension].

Thank you for considering these suggestions.


Second version superior

First, I find this second version of the plan superior to the first by a wide margin. It is clearer and values a broader array of specialties, which is important to a university of this size and scope.

Two thoughts:

  1. Under the 1st priority, and Goal, it is stated:
    • Improve the rigor and challenge of all academic programs.
      • My experience with the word "rigor" and the dictionary definition as well, suggest you may wish to use another word.
      • Rigor has the following definitions in my dictionary: 1) Strictness or severity, as in temperament, action or judgment. 2) A harsh or trying circumstance, a hardship. 3) A severe or cruel act. 4) (obsolete) stiffness or rigidity.
      • Typically I have seen this word used when what is intended is:
        • thoroughness or precision. Perhaps that word could be rethought.
  2. Under the 4th Priority, would you consider a goal that might read as follows:
    • Create (or maintain) on Iowa State University's campus a setting in which the manifestation of culture through art, music, literature, theater, debate (or some combination of these and others) contributes to the wholeness and quality of life for residents of the university, Ames and Central Iowa.
    • The measure might be achieved through a tally of the number of arts and literature events on campus during any school year.
    • I mention this because it is well documented through history that arts and letters and literature contribute to the quality of life in civilized society, and Iowa State already does a huge amount of this, so it would be easy to achieve success on this goal, and would contribute to Iowa State's meaningful presence in the greater Ames and Central Iowa community.

Thank you for your consideration of these ideas.


Increase outreach and extension

First let me say that I am grateful that you decided to move the Land Grant Ideal to the first page! When you format the final document you might think about how it would print off on 8 1/2 by 11 paper unless you think every one is going to read it on the web.

Under the mission statement I have a lot of concern about the use of outreach as many faculty have little understanding of what "outreach" really is in the full potential of what can be achieved. The use of the word "Outreach" is a start, but for the University to achieve the kind of support from Iowans that it needs, we need to increase the outreach and Extension efforts to Iowans. The more emphasis the plan places on relating to the needs of all Iowans the better the plan will serve ISU.

Under the "Priority" section on "Translate priorities ... " I would suggest adding the following goals:

  • add "Develop and market value-added products and services that provide economic benefits for Iowans."
  • Also consider: "Increasing Iowans ability to access and utilize information to help Iowans become their best."

Under the "Priority" section on "Partner with Iowans ...."

  • I would suggest modifying the second goal to read "Enhance the vitality and viability of Iowa's communities."
  • I would also add "Utilize field based research efforts to enhance the competitiveness of both the public and private sectors."
  • I would also suggest adding "Assist in the implementation of strategies to address community identified needs to provide solutions to economic and societal issues that Iowans face."
  • Also consider the issue of: "Further enhancing partnerships with other groups, agencies and institutions that can assist ISU in meeting the goals laid out in the Strategic Plan."

Rural Iowa has seen a significant loss in leadership and volunteerism as our state has aged. One of the goals should specifically address the issue of increasing leadership and entrepreneurial skills of all age levels in Iowa.

Thank you for your consideration.


Support ISUComm initiative

I believe that students who have knowledge AND can communicate that knowledge will reflect well on ISU. Therefore, I support the ISUComm initiative and hope that the Strategic Plan includes language about implementing that initiative.

More comments

Send comments

Send your comments on the first draft of the plan to strategicplan by Oct. 29.