Iowa State University

Iowa State University

Strategic Plan 2005-2010

Comments on Strategic Plan draft, Sept. 9-12

These comments refer to Aug. 30, 2004, first draft the Strategic Plan for 2005-2010. The draft is very much a work in progress. Still to come in future drafts are strategies and action plans to achieve goals, and measures that will be used to assess success of those efforts.

Faculty

Plan easy to read

I love the format of the new plan; it's easy to read and communicates clearly what the priorities are. The committee should be congratulated for coming up with a plan that the university community can understand.

I am pleased to see that the first priority is on undergraduate education. I was disappointed that committee did not see any need to "celebrate and promote" any accomplishments in the area of undergraduate education. I think that there is a feeling on campus that it is great if people want to improve undergraduate education, but that there really won't be any rewards there. If it really is the number one priority, then there needs to be some indication that accomplishments in that area are important.

I was taken by the idea of preparing students to be world citizens and leaders. I think that it is important to have a strong basis in liberal arts to do this. The plan states that: "Diversity enlivens the exchange of ideas, broadens scholarship, and prepares students for lifelong participation in society." I would argue that a basis in liberal arts serves to accomplish these same objectives. I realize that the plan is expressing priorities, but I feel it goes too far in focusing on science and technology, while ignoring the foundations of a college education.

Faculty

A comprehensive university with a focus in science, technology

Before I offer these comments I wish to commend the work thus far accomplished in developing this first draft. It sets certain directions, re-asserts the 'of science and technology' part of our name, and provides a benchmark to which to respond. My guess is the words even thus far have been much deliberated upon. [These notes were begun before the Senate meeting of 9/7 and concluded subsequently.]

  1. This plan seems to reshape us as a 'science and technology' university. This can be seen as a rifle shot into the future of limited resources, honing our strong suits, or it can be seen as a retrogressive step to when we were arguably a much narrower institution in our horizons, pre-Parks. Unfortunately, it seems to more of the latter -- since naught but lip service is paid to any pursuits other than science and technology, inventions and patentable spin-offs, and research (read "externally funded research"). In any case, to meet the aspiration, resources will need to be reallocated -- the question remains from whence to where? You may respond that this is hyperbole, overstatement, that indeed the rest of the show is important.
    • Hm -- to this I say read the words in the document -- see what is foregrounded time and again in typographic display or reinforced in lead sentences; see what is not mentioned, or is mentioned only in passing or in an "inclusion" statement. While our mission is cast broadly, our aspiration is cast narrowly. the path to creating knowledge, sharing knowledge and making Iowa a better place is apparently through science and technology. While we are "committed ... to evolving all programs", after that paragraph within the four "priority areas" the word humanities appears once, arts appears once, design does not appear, specialized professional programs (including Vet Med) are not mentioned once. I think we are impoverished by this portrayal.
    • If people go looking, they can find a place in the priorities or core values to which to attach their discipline or reshape it to fit. Within the priority for "translating new discoveries," we find aspiring "entrepreneurs" (a home for business); in the priority for improving the "quality of life in Iowa" (a home for the design professions). Amidst the core values in the inclusive integration statement we find the word "arts" (a home for music and studio arts); and "humanities" (a home for philosophy, languages, history, classical studies, etc.)
    • With our infrastructure, 27,000 students, and doctoral/research extensive university and AAU status, I would propose that we are an enterprise that ought to aspire to be a great comprehensive university with a focus in science in technology, specialized professional knowledge and service to Iowa, rather than a science and technology university with appendages and service units. I believe that if this is the desired aspiration, that with a few changes, we can adapt the "First Draft" to achieve that end.This does not necessarily mean we need to be a Pablum mush of something for everyone; nor is it a case of assuaging the 'outs' with linguistic camouflage.
  2. Under mission, creating knowledge -- the old ways of single minded specialities are creeping back into the document. "Scholarship" is not parallel to "research" and "creative works". "Scholarship" at ISU in the P&T document and Handbook is defined to include the others. I would offer the following: "Create knowledge through excellent scholarship in teaching, research, creative works, extension and professional practice."
  3. ISU is the sole Iowa institution offering a number of specialized accredited degrees in professions that also require licensing by the state. Among them are architecture, landscape architecture, veterinary medicine, and engineering. Other than being included the mission under share knowledge, professional preparation is not mentioned elsewhere. I would propose that the unique professional programs that differentiate us and others that have specialized accreditation be highlighted in the document. E.g.:
    1. Aspiration: "Iowa State will be one of the world's leading universities in educating students, preparing future professionals and putting science and technology to work. ISU will be a home to faculty, staff, and students who share a passion for discovery, and for applying specialized professional expertise and science and technology to make a difference."
    2. Under the second Priority: Increase the number of undergraduate, graduate, professional and research programs known as the very best ..."
    3. Similar instances to make modest changes in the priorities to reflect a more expansive base of centers of excellence should be reviewed. Etc.
  4. If, as was pointed out in the Senate meeting that the group "just assumed that we did not need to mention being a comprehensive university since we were", I would suggest as others did that this document will be public and will be received absent such inside perspective. We need to foreground maintenance of our comprehensiveness. E.g.,
    1. Aspiration: "Iowa State will be one of the world's leading comprehensive universities in educating students, preparing future professionals and putting science and technology to work."
    2. Perhaps the first two sentences under "Priorities and Goals for 2005-2010" could be slightly revised and set in bold burgundy text: "ISU has a wide range of fine and excellent programs and initiatives that are essential to a well-rounded Doctoral/Extensive and Research university. The university remains committed to continuously evaluating, improving and evolving all programs to maintain that distinction." Such a statement would make it clear we are a great university first, within which the sciences, professional programs and service/extension aspects of the land grant mission are priorities.
    3. Similar instances to make modest changes in the priorities to reflect a more expansive base of centers of excellence should be reviewed. Etc.
  5. There are many finer points for discussion. Here are a few from the "Strengthen the undergraduate experience .." priority:
    1. "Create and environment that welcomes students to explore a variety of specializations .." runs counter to many options under consideration for differential tuition
    2. "Enable seamless transfer .. from community colleges .." runs counter to unique programs such as ISU Comm that is currently under consideration. It would require a major portfolio review process to assure equivalency. There are other issues to be addressed such as parity of articulated courses in terms of content and student learning outcomes.
    3. "Partner with Iowa Schools ..." seems a bit presumptive in our relations with schools on the one hand, and a bit narrow on the other since cultural studies, the arts, humanities are not mentioned. Do we not desire entering students who are well-rounded in their views and appreciation of the world? If there is a role, I suggest it is about working with schools to leaven university level preparation in all areas.
Faculty

Second priority should focus on graduate ed, research

I have read the first draft of the strategic plan and feel that sufficient emphasis and focus has not been placed on the importance of graduate education and preeminence as a research university.

The second priority which should primarily emphasize graduate education and research dilutes the issue by putting emphasis on increasing undergraduate enrollment first. The same problem also arises in the second bullet among the goals. The first priority clearly deals with undergraduate education. If we are to make our mark as a premier land grant school, then I feel that the second priority should solely focus on graduate education and research and not be diluted by bring in undergraduate education.

Faculty

Some goals unobtainable, impractical

  1. There are numerous statements throughout the plan that refer to Iowa and the world without acknowledging our responsibilities to our national community and nation-state as well, e.g., Iowa State University's mission is to create and share knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.
  2. The phrase "putting science and technology to work" suggests that the university should become a mere technical institute, such as Rochester Institute of Technology. How about "putting new knowledge to work" a much more realistic description of what goes on at Iowa State, and much less problematic
  3. The goals for the improvement of undergraduate education are, in several instances, simply unobtainable and impractical, for instance--
    1. Just how can you improve the rigor and challenge of all undergraduate programs for high ability students? the honors program, for instance, runs on no real instructional budget.
    2. How can isu improve the students' ability to communicate more effectively when the English and speech programs are seriously underfunded and treated like orphans of the LAS college? and the department of foreign languages and literatures as well? Gimme a break. this also implies stricter admission standards, an impossibility given the general collapse of Iowa public schools, especially in the rural areas and small towns where we draw so many of our students.
    3. What specific ideas are there to improve the environment for students to explore many different specializations?
    4. How much money do you plan to spend on getting more students to complete degrees? and is it necessarily an important goal? maybe a large fraction of students should not complete college-- that would make it too easy.
    5. Experiential learning sounds facile and trendy.
    6. How much money and effort is planned to enable a seamless transfer of students from the poor quality community colleges in this state to the university? seventy percent of the math taught at this university is remedial, that is, pre-collegiate. again, there is the very serious problem of the declining public schools in this state.
    7. Partner with Iowa schools to do what? is it not realized that these schools cannot pay their teachers a living wage, let alone support the expensive courses and facilities for science, technology, math, and communication studies, which are the most expensive part of the curriculum.
  4. Retreating from the land-grant focus of presidents Parks, Eaton, and Jischke to the technical institute idea of the current president will cause a sharp enrollment decline and set off a series of disastrous budget cuts within the university, because of falling tuition revenues from enrollment declines, and because of fixed financial obligations, such as the bonds for university construction.

This could easily turn the university into receivership within a few years.

Alum and Foundation governor and past IAC member

Address financial implications of future

The strategic planning team has developed a legitimate and thoughtful first pass in the process of developing ISU's next strategic plan. This draft can serve as a "rallying cry" and a "call to action" for all within the ISU community.

The concept of positively impacting the Iowa economy is a recurring theme that I wholeheartedly support. In my own view, researchers can become so focused on receiving National Science Foundation funding that they can easily lose sight of the real needs of their agricultural/industrial/consumer constituents.

The section dealing with sustainability is good, yet it could be expanded. For example, the concept of sustainability could be a unifying theme that guides much multi-disciplinary work in the fields of materials, life sciences, engineering and the like. Iowa is uniquely positioned with a strong agricultural sector complimented by a strong industrial sector that together can be harnessed in new and different ways to achieve a more sustainable future.

The recognition of the need to partner with others to improve science and technology education at the K-12 level and to provide a seamless transition from Iowa's excellent community college network is a plus.

I also like the section dealing with core values that, in effect, articulates the expectations for those on the ISU team.

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

In that is a first draft, it is necessarily general, directional and conceptual. Obviously much detailed work will be required at the unit/department level in the months ahead, for it is precisely at the unit/departmental level where the "rubber meets the road" and where the real work of ISU is accomplished.

Each unit/departmental plan should clearly describe how that unit/department will create a unique and sustainable competitive position that is clearly perceived to be value added by its constituents.

But words and aspirations are not enough. Detailed plans and goals need to be developed that are "SMART", that is they must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Target Dates

Imbedding these concepts into the culture at Iowa State can and will lead to excellence.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

It strikes me that the financial implications of the future of ISU need to be addressed as part of this strategic planning process. What role is state funding expected to play? What will be the impact on tuition? How much external research funding will need to be secured? What new external funding sources might be developed? And how much external support will be required by way of the ISU Foundation?

BENEFITS OF A STRATEGIC PLAN

As the strategic planning team moves toward completion of its work, it should ask the following questions of the strategic plan:

  • Is it truly strategic and set ISU apart, or is this merely more of the same?
  • Does it establish a clear direction?
  • Does it establish clear priorities?
  • Will it guide resource allocation decisions?
  • Will it facilitate communication, both internal and external?
  • Does it serve as a basis for measurement of performance?
  • How will it be tied to compensation?
  • Will it help ISU determine what to do?
  • Will it help ISU determine what activities to stop doing, to exit, to discontinue?

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

One of the tests of an effective strategy is whether it is truly different from the strategy of competitors and whether it truly sets the organization apart from its competitors in the eyes of its constituents.

By way of illustration, just remember who redefined the "rules of the game" in the high jump decades ago! The "Fosbury Flop" was named after the innovator, not the high jumpers that competed by the old rules, nor the high jumpers that ultimately mimicked Fosbury's strategy.

A truly effective ISU strategic plan will be uniquely different from those developed by other universities. While being different is not the sole criteria of a successful strategy, it is nonetheless a useful test.

Thank you for providing the opportunity to comment.

Staff

Extension largely omitted

While the I agree with most of the sentiments in the strategic plan, I am concerned that one of the mainstays of the land-grant university, the extension service, is largely omitted. The Extension Service is integral to disseminate information throughout the state and it needs to be recognized. I would remind the committee of the ISU Extension mission: ISU Extension builds partnerships and provides research-based learning opportunities to improve the quality of life in Iowa. We believe in quality, access, diversity and accountability. We are dedicated to engagement, entrepreneurship and local presence. With this thought in mind, I would suggest an addition to Priority #4 to include Extension or to add an additional Priority that addresses the role ISU has on Iowans in general. Another small change I would recommend is under the Mission heading:

  • Share knowledge through outstanding learning-centered undergraduate, graduate, professional, distance education programs, and cooperative extension programs.
  • Make Iowa and the world a better place by preparing students to be world citizens and leaders and by applying knowledge in ways that improve the quality of life.

Thank you for your consideration.

Staff and Alum

State importance of outreach

I understand the need for the Strategic Plan to be brief, but I feel it is missing a major component. Iowa State University was founded as a "Land Grant" institution with a responsibility to not only educate campus students but also students throughout Iowa. Both young and old benefit from the outreach of ISU Extension in every corner of Iowa. I think the strategic plan needs to state the importance of this outreach and the continuing support of education through research.

Student

Help students find jobs, particularly in Iowa

I would like to condone all the persons involved with the improvement of Iowa State and making an effort of doing so. I have enjoyed reading the goals you have set forth and the aspiration for the University.

I like the idea of in the future partnering with Iowa high school's and making sure the students are ready when they come to college. Too often students come to a big university and their grades are very poor their first semester or even year. It is almost too late sometimes for people to try and get their grades up by their sophomore year or later to get into a program or even go on further to graduate school. I feel that if you start with more pre-college preparation in high school this may change in some cases.

I feel that another goal of Iowa State should be in helping students find jobs after graduation. Even more specifically, finding jobs in Iowa. This would help Iowa's economy as well as the students. To me, it feels as though after graduation I will move and find a job elsewhere because I don't know what is available in my field in Iowa. With the Universities help of working with the students and employers both persons would be happier.

I would like to commend you once again for what wonderful ideas you have brought forth in the 2005-2010 strategic plan. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Student

Program for entrepreneurship will attract students

I think that the value placed on Iowa's economy and student entrepreneurship in the strategic plan is a critical asset to the future of Iowa State University. It is a proven fact that there is a direct link between the education of a population and their economic success. Unless economic trends shift in Iowa, the financial constraints from the statehouse will not adequately fund higher education.

Innovation, student entrepreneurship, and economic growth result in a circle of benefits from the university. Students who have an economic investment in Iowa will stay in Iowa. The more industry grows the higher our state tax base will be- thus providing additional funding for the University. At the same time a defining program in entrepreneurship will attract students from around the nation.

I think that the strategic plan for ISU looks challenging but attainable. Our future looks bright!

Good Work!

Alum

An excellent plan

Thanks for the opportunity to see the draft plan and to comment. It is a solid plan which I believe focuses in the right areas, capitalizing on ISU's long standing strengths in science and technology. I particularly like the continued theme of "putting science and technology to work". Should this theme be somehow incorporated in the Mission Statement as well?

In the "Priorities and Goals for 2005-2010" section, under goals, second dot point, I would modify as such: Attract and retain outstanding faculty, staff, undergraduate, and graduate students, with particular emphasis in key priority disciplines. With funds in tight supply, it will be necessary for ISU and all other universities to focus on what they do well and where they plan to go. This requires great discipline and a willingness not to do everything for everyone.

This is an excellent plan and I sincerely look forward to seeing the final version.

Faculty

Well done

No doubt you are receiving all sorts of criticisms and suggested changes to the recently distributed strategic plan draft. My purpose in writing this e-mail is to simply say that I think it is well done and should be approved as written. I particularly admire the attention given to patents and encouraging entrepreneurial activity; I feel this is quite appropriate for a land-grant university and a change for the better from the attitudes that prevailed a few decades ago.

Foundation Board of Governors

Emphasizing translating discoveries to technologies

This looks fine. One matter of emphasis: priority 3 (achieve preeminence in translating new discoveries into viable technologies, etc.) deserves as much attention as possible. If other priorities are to materialize in the next five years, priority 3 will need great emphasis.

Faculty

Internalization should be core foundation

I note the lack of internationalization or globalization in the strategic plan. I would encourage that this be included. Internationalization/globalization should be a core foundation of becoming one the world's leading universities. We will not adequately serve our stakeholders without recognizing the importance of being a part of a world community.

Staff

Help transfers when they arrive

In regards to: Priority: Strengthen the undergraduate experience to enhance student success at and beyond Iowa State University.

Goal

  • Enable seamless transfer of students from community colleges to Iowa State University.
    • This goal needs to be expanded to go beyond seamlessly transferring students from community colleges. Iowa State University needs to recruit and provide special services to transfer students to enable them to acclimate, to succeed and to graduate from Iowa State University. Those students that begin their college career at Iowa State University have the opportunity to develop friendships and to collaborate with students and faculty in their area of study during the first two years of their college experience. Students that transfer from a community college are at an immediate disadvantage by not having those established relationships to provide assistance and support.

As tuition costs continue to rise, the expectation of the citizens of the State of Iowa and the Legislature is that the community colleges are providing adequate post secondary education that will transfer and will meet the prerequisites of the programs at the Regents institutions. More and more Iowa families are choosing this course of action. As an adjunct instructor for DMACC for 20 years, I observed programs that did not properly prepare students for the Regent institutions and I talked with students that did not attain the standard of preparation expected by the Regent institutions, yet they graduated from the community college with a high grade point average. Two results may occur: 1) students will struggle in their coursework since they must first work to rise to the standard before being able to achieve in the course content or 2) students will feel inadequate, become frustrated, quit and leave. In both instances, the retention rate will be low because the students will leave or be asked to leave due to inadequate academic progress. We need to do all we can to help those students wanting to succeed. For the transfer students, we need to help them when they arrive at Iowa State University, before they hit the wall. We also need to work actively with the community colleges to help them help their students attain the expected standards of preparation for the Regents institutions.

Priority: 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.

Suggest using a word different than "fueling" unless all you are interested in pursuing is "fuel" alternatives. The word "fueling" tends to detract or minimize the real meaning and impact of this priority.

Every group of which I've been a member has a goal every year of improving "communication"; every group. No where in the Strategic Plan draft (except students' ability to) do I see an emphasis on or mention of "communication". Extension has assisted in ISU's "communication" effort for many years. I don't see Extension mentioned in the Plan. Assuming that communication is embedded indirectly in the Plan and not using the word "communication" in the Plan would be a mistake. The groups that list "communication" in their goals each year make progress to improved and better communication with their clients and constituents. Remember: "Out-of-sight; out-of-mind."

Priority: Enhance the quality of life on campus and throughout Iowa. Goal

  • Strengthen efforts to create a community on campus and in Ames that welcomes people from diverse backgrounds.

At the Diversity sessions held at ISU last year, it became apparent to me that we need to acknowledge and better accommodate people from diverse backgrounds. ISU and Ames is already a welcoming community, but "welcoming" and "accommodating" are two different things. ISU and Ames need to accommodate the special services needed by the people from diverse backgrounds to really make Ames and ISU feel like home. Thanks

Brevity is nice, but we want to insure that we've not forgotten something for the sake of brevity. Every Strategic Plan committee has had the objective of trying to reduce the Plan to a bookmark. Still too big. Perhaps the most important accomplishment might be to develop a theme to summarize the Plan that would help remind students, faculty and staff of what we are all about. Perhaps the underlying theme of the Plan should center on M. J. Riggs quote engraved above the entrance to the Northwest Lounge in the Memorial Union: "We come to college not alone to prepare to make a living, but to learn to live a life."

To be brief: "Learning To Live A Life".

Staff

Talk about importance of human, social areas

Thanks for your efforts. This is very nice work.

Two areas for consideration:

  1. I believe that our core values or the goal of enhancing the quality of life needs to include the word and essence of RESPECT. It's alluded to--never used.
  2. The strategic plan comes down pretty hard on science and technology without ever talking about the importance of a good background and introduction to "human and social" areas. Without the social sciences and humanities--how can we ever expect issues of which we are capable (cloning, creating nuclear bombs...) to be wrestled with regarding its impact on people. I believe we are committed to having a lively environment in which humanities is also emphasized. It needs to be stated.
Staff

Plan missed Extension

Your plan spends a great deal of time focusing on the importance of teaching and research. You want ISU to have an outstanding environment for students, increase the number of patents, etc. I would not dispute the importance of these goals. However, no where did I see the word Extension or Outreach. Nor did I see the old mission word of engagement. ISU has one of the best if not the best Extension Service in the U.S. dedicated to the Land Grant Mission. As I look at the strategic plan, the Land Grant Mission appears lost.

As a current Extension worker who impacts Iowan's lives everyday, the strategic plan misses a huge opportunity in addressing this. ISU has a unique opportunity to affect both the economy and lives of many Iowans, not just those within the confines of campus.

A client once defined Ames to me as 8 square miles surrounded by reality. He said it was the Extension field staff that took the applied questions, those that were relevant to the people in Iowa, back to campus to keep the campus staff grounded. I believe your strategic plan missed this critical component, one that is important to many Iowans.

If these issues are addressed in the strategic plan, I apologize for missing them. They were not obvious to me. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my opinion. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please let me know.

Faculty

Liberal arts education under-estimated

I appreciate the hard work that the Strategic planning committee has put into this document. I also appreciate your commitment to excellence in all that we do and in your commitment to diversity. However, I feel that this document seriously underestimates the importance of a liberal arts education and the special roles of the arts, humanities, social sciences, and international area studies programs. By emphasizing so heavily the commercial potentials of new technologies and entrepreneurship, there is an implicit assumption that the traditional liberal arts have little practical purpose. Tragically, this has been shown over and over again, at this university and in many other contexts, that humanities' emphasis on critical thinking, on understanding the human consequences of new technologies, new political or economic initiatives, and on understanding other cultures is of vital importance in preparing our students and our state for their role in a globalizing world. In short, we cannot be an excellent university of science and technology, and (apparently business) without being an excellent university in the liberal arts. The framers of the Morrill Act, a century and a half ago, recognized this when they insisted that traditional liberal arts be a vital part of a land grant university. They wanted ordinary working people to have the same access to a liberal arts education or a technical education that those who could afford the Ivy League had at that disposal.

Today, our university community is hampered in its ability to work in foreign countries, both by a paucity of foreign language training of its staff and students, and by a lack of knowledge of other countries. It is hampered in its ability to turn out liberally educated students by stunted programs in many of the arts and humanities. If we want a university to prepare students to understand their world as well as developing new technologies, then we must include the liberal arts as an integral part of the strategic plan.

Staff

Want to become the best

RE: Text of Mission

  • To make Iowa and the world a better place" is meaningless to me without reading the explanation. Why not directly use the phrases used in the explanation? I suggest, ...to improve the quality of life for citizens of Iowa and the world."

RE: Text of Aspiration

  • "Iowa State will be one of the world's leading universities..." sounds pretty lame to me compared to previously wanting to become the best. We should want to become the best at "educating students and putting science and technology to work". At least say something like, "Iowa State University wants to become a world leader in ....
Staff

Three areas need attention

Congratulations to the committee for a readable, directional first draft of the university strategic plan for 2005-2010.

There are 3 areas that call for more attention:

  • the university's role and commitment to international students, exchanges, and influence;
  • the role of extension and outreach (not limited to "distance education") to Iowa and beyond; and
  • the foundation of liberal arts and social sciences to education, extension and research.

I was particularly pleased to see that diversity was included.

Faculty

Some considerations

Some considerations:

Within mission: "...create, share, and [apply] knowledge to ..."

aspiration: "Iowa State will be one of the world's leading universities in educating citizens and promoting the application of knowledge for the common good."

explanation: includes more in our education process than the students before us now but also embraces the extension/outreach value, implies those within and those who learn from us have an obligation as citizens; application of knowledge for the common good includes not just patents, etc., but also the arts, humanities, and human development.

Administrator

Reasons for void between invention, market

I am very supportive at the strategic level, but offer some tactical comments on this priority:

"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."

The Coordinating council on Technology Transfer has discussed product development extensively. A chart was developed showing the creative process from research to invention to market. There is a void between invention and market. Here are some of the reasons.

  1. Faculty cannot devote effort to bringing a product to market because this is not viewed as scholarship and therefore is a career threat to tenure. This is a huge problem standing in the way of achieving this priority.
  2. There is no money to hire P&S staff in lieu of faculty to spend the effort to bring a product to market. Money needs to be spent here to achieve the priority.
  3. Faculty can and do form companies to bring products to market based on their research. If successful the university receives royalty income but loses at least part of a faulty member. Is this a net gain or loss?
  4. Intellectual property issues are difficult, particularly for joint ventures with private corporations. (The office of Intellectual Property and. Technology Transfer is working on some new approaches. These should be supported.) Again at CCOTT, the comment was made by that junior faculty should stay away from corporate-sponsored research and stick to NSF and similar sources to avoid jeopardizing tenure.

With respect to the goal " Increase the number of faculty, staff, and students who engage in technology transfer and entrepreneurial activities,"

I have found non-extension faculty very resistant to continuing education (tech transfer) activity, because it diverts effort from scholarship directed at tenure and promotion. Faculty perceive this as a very real career threat. To achieve the technology transfer component of this goal, a financial structure like a center or institute that can support P&S staff is essential. This implies improving the business side of the university- -accounting, support for staff in sponsored programs administration (quicker turn around of contracts and subcontracts), personnel (speed up hiring), and P&S salaries (The P&S scale is out of synch with the national and regional market in some areas, like engineering.) In short, achieving this goal implies a major investment in the business systems supporting the quest for and administration of sponsored funding. The Task Force on Centers and Institutes made similar recommendations, but the linkage to tech transfer should be recognized at the strategic level.

Regarding patents, why should ISU strive to lead the nation in the number of new patents awarded? Recent research presented to CCOTT by an economics researcher at ISU demonstrates that the vast majority of universities lose money on patents. The notable exceptions are mostly in California. Also, the relationship between patents and local business development is very unclear at best. Nobody seems to be able to demonstrate the link conclusively. This goal should be restated. How about ... Invest in mechanisms to develop Iowa's economy using intellectual property developed at ISU.

Faculty

Extension a major asset

If the purpose of the Strategic Plan is to identify future battles or areas that need improvement, it makes some sense that nothing was said about ISU Extension. But to not reaffirm nor provide any vision of Extension at this time in this document is a risky omission.

ISU Extension is admired and emulated across the country because of its extension successes, proactivity, creativity, accountability, and growing funding (among many other things), as led by its current administration. ISU Extension is a major ISU asset and a distinguishing feature of Iowa State University's engagement with, and contributions to, our state and the world. Because ISU Extension faculty and staff focus on 'sharing knowledge,' ISU researchers can focus on discovery, and teachers can focus on student learning. This arrangement also has the explicit support of Iowa citizen-taxpayers. In recent years Iowans have chosen to increase what they pay to support extension, in contrast with the general decline in public support for universities.

But what would happen if Stan Johnson leaves ISU? His stroke should remind everyone that no administrator's presence should ever be taken for granted.

Surely the omission of Extension from the draft at this time does not imply a plan to attempt to increase extension without Extension.* I strongly encourage each of you to ensure that this Strategic Plan includes some guidance for Extension in the not-too-distant future.

  • Extension (capital E) = the unit responsible for extension; extension (lower case e) = the act of communicating university knowledge with the public and communicating public needs to the university.
Admin

Rachet up support for international programs

A couple of personal observations on ISU's draft strategic plan:

  1. Reflecting on the Morrill Act of 1862 is important in this dialog and should be informed by the original intent of the law. Currently, the draft strategic plan re-interprets the Morrill act somewhat narrowly. The original law anticipated an institution that was primarily science and technology oriented but that valued a liberal education too: "at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the State may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life..."
  2. Given the circumstances in the world, instilling a global perspective in students is rapidly growing in importance. However, ISU's response to rapidly changing global circumstances has been tepid and timid. I believe it is critical to ratchet up the importance, visibility and support for international programs at ISU. We are one of very few major universities in the US that does NOT have an identified leader of international programs in central administration. Our investment of resources in this area has been abysmal. The plan is nearly silent on this important area.
  3. I like the increased attention given to students and learning.
  4. Our strategic plans of the past have not been strategic. During good budget times we have not required ourselves to be strategic. In order to accomplish extraordinary things during tight budget times we must focus on a few high priority areas. Additional investments in science and technology are appropriate to the situation in which we find ourselves.
  5. I like the openness with which the plan was developed. The draft plan was made available widely for comment at a stage when input can shape the final product.
Faculty

Not a trade school or a business

I would like to preface my comments with a congratulations to the committee for coming up with something that is readable and clear. As you will see I don't agree with all that is down but I do appreciate the fact that it is understandable and not full of the usual cliches and phrases.

I will try to keep my remarks succinct to save you time in reading. However, if something isn't clear please feel free to contact me.

I would suggest moving Founding Ideas to the front. It seemed a bit out of place to go through all the plan and then kind of as an after thought say 'oh by the way, here is why we were founded'. I would also suggest that you pay close attention to the three points that are listed in the Founding Ideas. I am afraid that the idea of faculty sharing knowledge with people throughout the state is short changed in the plan.

Under the Goals in the Priority for Teaching there is a comment about enabling a "...seamless transfer of students ...." This worries me. We already are hearing concerns about grade inflation. The community colleges are not a feeder system for ISU. In many cases there are quality teachers providing quality instruction but not all cases. I think it is a mistake not to recognize the diversity of experiences and to be sure that we maintain our vigilance with respect to what we will and will not allow as transfer credits.

I am concerned that under the Goals for teaching we don't list 'Celebrate and promote....' similar to the research priorities. What does this say about the relative priorities?

Why were three areas singled out for mention in interdisciplinary research? I believe very strongly in interdisciplinary research but I question the need to limit it like this and if it needs to be limited are these the best examples? What is meant by biosciences? How do the examples given truly cross interdisciplinary lines including life sciences and social sciences?

A final comment concerns such heavy weight given on patents awarded. Is this really a good measure or even something we need to be striving towards?

Overall, I just have to say that I am concerned about where the benefits to the citizens of the state lie with this plan. I am also concerned about where the benefits of a university education lies. We are not a trade school and we are not a business. We are an institution of higher learning with the charge of extending this learning to the people. I hope that subsequent revisions of this strategic plan can more accurately reflect this.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment and thanks again for your efforts to make this readable.

Unknown

Nothing about making university diverse

I see nothing in the plan about making the University truly diverse - politically. That should be a primary goal. I'd be absolutely amazed if it were to be addressed in the plan and totally astounded if you actually did more than pay it lip service.

Alum

Too focused on campus, students

ISU Alum, BS '65, MS '76 As a 9th grader I walked across the ISU campus, lived in the dorm, ate in the dining hall and for the first time in my life wanted to go to college - in Ames, Iowa. My trip to the campus was the annual 4-H conference. Throughout my 9 years of 4-H work I admired and respected Iowa State University not because I was a student on the campus but because of my involvement with 4-H and Extension. My mother learned to cook, preserve food, sew, take care of a home and more through 4-H because her mother had died in childbirth when my mother was five years old. My mother taught me and expanded her knowledge through my sister's and my involvement with 4-H and through the Extension lessons she had through the Farm Bureau women's club. I taught my son and daughter these same concepts and values and learned more through their 4-H and Extension Experiences. Will my family be able to continue to learn new information from Iowa State University and will my grandchildren be able to have some of the same types of learning experiences we've had? The new ISU strategic plan is so focused on campus and students that the other 99.99105763% of Iowa's population is being forgotten. Iowa's tax supported universities continue to get criticized because so many graduating students leave the state. Iowa State University is the only institution of higher education where the entire state has the opportunity to partake in their own tax dollars, and these people don't leave the state. Think about using the strength of 100% of Iowa's population to define the new strategic plan rather than focusing on the 0.008942373% that are enrolled students, and Iowa State University could truly be the premier institution in the state.

Faculty

Good outlines

These are good outlines with appropriate emphasis for ISU. Without strengthening core business ISU will keep sliding down in ranking and else.

A key point now is what exactly to do and where to get resources at least to revert this situation.

Staff

Significant social research at ISU

I think the plan is lacking in terms of the significant social science research that is done at ISU, and the contributions that research has made in Iowa, across the country and around the world -contributions that can continue to be made well into the future for the benefit of all people. Research grants for social science research bring in millions of dollars to ISU, and basic research results have been utilized to create cutting edge prevention programs; these programs are carried into the community through ISU Extension. Researchers at ISU are consulted when communities are concerned about growth, health care, and youth programs, among other issues. Social science degree programs need in-coming students to be proficient in order to successful in their programs, and we also need to be able to draw top graduate students to these areas.

Faculty

Debate, intellectual interaction is essence of university

Mission THE ONE THING THAT IS MOST MISSING IN THIS STRATEGIC PLAN IS THE ESSENCE OF A UNIVERSITY AS A PLACE DESIGNED TO PROMOTE DEBATE AND INTELLECTUAL INTERACTION ABOUT THE IMPORTANT, AND NOT SO IMPORTANT, ISSUES OF THE DAY AND THE CENTURIES AND TO ENHANCE HUMAN POTENTIAL BY EXPOSING STUDENTS AND OURSELVES TO A WIDE RANGE OF IDEAS, VALUES, AND POSITIONS, AND PROMOTING REASONED AND CREATIVE DISCUSSION AND DEBATE ABOUT THEM. IT IS THESE ACTIVITIES THAT ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO KNOWLEDGE _ CREATION AND TO ACCOMPLISHING ALL THAT IS DESCRIBED BELOW. DEBATE AND DISCUSSION INCLUDE THE SCHOLARSHIP AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES NEEDED TO CARRY OUT DEBATE AND DISCUSION, THAT_S THE REASONED PART.

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

" Create knowledge through excellent research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. IT IS UNCLEAR TO ME WHAT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RESEARCH, SCHOLARSHIP AND CREATIVE ENDEAVORS ARE. IN THE WAY IT IS USED IN CURRENT LITERATURE IN HIGHER EDUCATION, SCHOLARSHIP INCLUDES RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ENDEAVOR. INTELLECTUAL AND REASONED DEBATE IS THE ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE CREATION ACTIVITY, PUT IT IN THIS STATEMENT.

" Share knowledge through outstanding learning-centered undergraduate, graduate, professional, and distance education programs.

" Make Iowa and the world a better place by preparing students to be world citizens and leaders and by applying knowledge in ways that improve the quality of life. IN THE SPECIFICS OF THE PRIORITIES BELOW, THE IDEA OF BEING PREPARED TO BE WORLD CITIZEN SEEMS TO GET LOST. I THINK THAT IS A MISTAKE. IT IS A MISTAKE IN WHAT WE SHOULD PREPARE OUR STUDENTS TO BE AND IT IS A MISTAKE COMPETITIVELY. WE SHOULD INCREASE THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO HAVE STUDY _ ABROAD EXPERIENCE THAT RELATES MEANINGFULLY TO THEIR MAJORS. IN ADDITION TO HELPING STUDENTS BE ENTREPRENEURS IN THEIR FIELDS, WE SHOULD HELP THEM REALIZE THAT THE WORLD IS THE PLACE IN WHICH TO BE ENTREPRENEURIAL AND PROVIDE THEM WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, AND KNOWLEDGE THAT WILL ENCOMPASS A WORLD VIEW. IN ADDITION, PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IS SOMETHING RESIDENTIAL UNIVERSITY_S CAN DO THAT CANNOT BE DONE ON THE WEB. TAKING A PURELY COMPETITIVE VIEWPOINT, THIS IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD EMPHASIZE MORE THAN IS IN THIS PLAN.

In carrying out its mission, Iowa State University is committed to diversity in its students, faculty and staff, and (THERE IS A CRITICAL ERROR IN THIS STATEMENT. THE CURRENT WORDING SUGGESTS THAT WE ARE HAVING ACCESS TO EXCLUDED/IMPEDED INDIVIDUALS [FOR WHATEVER PURPOSES] RATHER THAN ENCOURAGING ACCESS TO ISU ON THE PART OF INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF GROUPS THAT HAVE BEEN HISTORICALLY AND CURRENTLY ARE DENIED ACCESS OR IMPEDED FROM REACHING THEIR FULL POTENTIAL. AS A MINIMUM, THIS SHOULD SAY ACCESS FOR RATHER THAN ACCESS TO. HOWEVER, THE UNIVERSITY PLANS TO CONTINUE TO EXCLUDE INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT THE ABILITIES TO SUCCEED. AN INDIVIDUAL WITH SEVERE DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY IS BOTH EXCLUDED AND IMPEDED FROM REALIZING FULL POTENTIAL IN ONE SENSE. I REALLY THINK WHAT IS BEING SAID IS THAT WE ARE COMMITED TO PROVIDING ACCESS FOR QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS FROM ALL CULTURAL GROUPS ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN HISTORICALLY AND ARE CURRENTLY UNDERREPRESENTED AT ISU. ) access to those excluded or impeded from realizing their full potential. Diversity enlivens the exchange of ideas, broadens scholarship, and prepares students for lifelong participation in society.

Aspiration

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

Iowa State University will be home to faculty, staff, and students who share a passion for discovery, REASON, AND INTELLECTUAL DEBATE and for applying KNOWLEDGE, science and technology to make a difference. Their enthusiasm and talent will attract many partners from outside the university community. A "can-do" spirit will permeate campus as collaborators work together to find new ways to improve Iowa and the world.

Priorities and Goals for 2005-2010

Iowa State University has a wide range of fine programs and initiatives that are essential to a well-rounded university. The university remains committed to continuously evaluating, improving, and evolving all programs. Four priority areas and accompanying goals for 2005-2010 have been identified to achieve our aspiration and reinforce existing strengths. Upon adoption, a work plan with specific implementation strategies will be developed for each goal.

Priority: Enhance the quality of life on campus and throughout Iowa.

Goals " Increase Iowa's appeal as a place to live, learn, work, and play by working with Iowans to create and use knowledge in ways that enrich the state's communities and resources, and improve the health and well-being of its people.

" Provide for a well-rounded and lively learning experience on campus including opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to interact outside the classroom, lab, and office.

" Strengthen efforts to create a community on campus and in Ames that welcomes people from diverse backgrounds. TO TRULY CREATE A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT, TO ACHIEVE WELL-ROUNDEDNESS, AND TO ENHANCE WELL BEING REQUIRES AN OPENNESS TO MULTIPLE WAYS OF KNOWING AND EXPERIENCING THE WORLD. THE CURRENT EMPHASIS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE PLAN PRECLUDES A CONSIDERATION OF THE VERY QUALITIES AND DISCIPLINES NEEDED TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS.

Staff

Ecology, evolutionary biology important research areas

Overall I think the plan has integrity and cohesiveness. I think it could be strengthened with a few modifications.

  1. As a whole the plan does not acknowledge a widely accepted perception---namely that we are moving from an industrial era into an ecological era, hence the absence of any emphasis on ecology and evolutionary biology suggests that ISU may not be preparing students for this new future. This could be corrected by adding the word "ecology" into the statement of "Aspiration" and by adding ecology and evolutionary biology into the interdisciplinary research areas cited in the first bullet under goals in Priority # 2.
  2. Certainly one of the skills our graduates will need in a rapidly changing world is the ability to cope with change. Again, this skill is not reflected in the plan. This might be corrected by adding "the ability to innovate and respond to change" in the second bullet under goals in Priority # 1.
  3. There seems to be a presumption in the document that "science and technology" will continue to be the only drivers for a sustainable future. Many contemporary thinkers are challenging that assumption. Certainly science and technology will continue to be a major component of our efforts to design a more sustainable future but history has demonstrated that science and technology by themselves can sometimes lead to many unanticipated negative consequences---see, for example, Farvar and Milton (eds) 1972 The Careless Technology: Ecology and International Development. So in addition to "technologies, products, and services" we should perhaps add other components (the ability to think critically, for example)---especially if "quality of life" (which we all know consists of more than products and services) is indeed one of our priorities. If we intend our learning experiences to be "well-rounded" then there needs to be more emphasis on the arts and humanities in the document instead of being tacked on at the end as they are now.

I think if these adjustments can be made it will make for a much stronger plan that is more reflective of the challenges our students will likely be facing.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Faculty

'Learning-centered' meaningless

If we want to be taken seriously by plain-speaking people (like people in the Iowa Legislature) and peers at good universities, I strongly suggest that the meaningless-to-offensive "learning-centered" be removed from: Share knowledge through outstanding learning-centered undergraduate, graduate, professional, and distance education programs.

Faculty

Make consistent with P&T document

Create knowledge through excellent research, scholarship, and creative endeavors.

  • This appears inconsistent with the P&T document. These words are all the same level: scholarship is research; is creative endeavors. Possible:
    • Create knowledge through excellent scholarship in research and creative endeavors.

Also, we had discussions on the future international contributions of ISU. There is no mention of international contributions in the plan even though the mission states "world". Iowa State University's mission is to create and share knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.

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Send your comments on the first draft of the plan to strategicplan by Sept. 17.