Comments on Strategic Plan draft, Sept. 17
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.
Plan not properly focused
I wish to provide comments on the Plan from two viewpoints. First, I will briefly argue that the Plan is not properly focused. It could be focused on the outside or the inside constituents of the University. In fact, it is focused on neither, but instead a combination of the two. I feel that it should be focused on the outside constituents, and that we are missing an opportunity if we do not take advantage of the chance to do so. The comments on this angle for the Plan are limited because I feel you and the committee may be too far along on the current track to turn another way. The second set of comments is on the Plan, as it is, trying to make it better and more embracive of the a new future for the University.
Major Revision of the Plan
Here the opportunity is to make the Plan a document that speaks to the outside constituency. The time is right for such a Plan, just as the time was right several years ago for a Plan that addressed the culture within the University. The state is looking to the University for new ideas on growth and development. Why not make this Plan a document that addresses these issues, and the role that the University can plan in transforming the state -- something like " Leading the Strategic Transformation for Iowa" might be a good general title for the document? If you were to take this approach, a number of the statements would fall into place on the mission. For example, training students to meet the demands of a growing and transforming state, including a renewed emphasis on experimental learning and study abroad, research that sharpens the ability of the state to compete and makes that state a better place to live for those considering relocation, extension and outreach that places the University intimately with the goals of the state for economic development, good governance and a more attractive place to live. Advantages of the new focus are to give a definite direction in the claims that are made. Other advantages are:
I could add more specifics, but I feel the idea is communicated with these bullets. If you decide to go in this direction, I will be pleased to be of help in ways you feel are useful.
Revisions to the Current Draft
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Plan.
Admin - College of Design Executive Cabinet
A few suggestions
Iowa State University's mission is to create and share knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.
Share knowledge through outstanding learning-centered undergraduate,
graduate, professional, and
Iowa State will be one of the world's leading universities in
Iowa State University will be home to faculty, staff, and students who
share a passion for discovery and for appropriately applying science
and technology to make a positive difference. Their enthusiasm and
talent will attract many partners from outside the university community. A
Priorities and Goals for 2005-2010
Priority Increase the number of undergraduate, graduate, and research programs known as the very best in their field, particularly in areas where the university's strengths address critical needs and opportunities.
Student Affairs Response
Division of Student Affairs Response
This "draft" strategic plan is a bold statement of change for Iowa State University. It departs from what we currently "are" and directs us to what we want to become. In journeying to what we want to become, the institution will experience bumps and turbulence. Those jolts may include the following: more likely a decrease in enrollment before any increase; emphasizing research over teaching and learning; treating the humanities as "service units"; and a lack of focus in becoming an international entity.
The "draft" strategic plan seems to be inline with the proposed uses of new revenue that we might receive over the next four years. The plan seems to emphasize biosciences and business, engineering and applied sciences, and research programs and economic growth (entrepreneurship, biorenewables, and food safety). While there was much debate in our cabinet about this specialized focus, several individuals expressed concern that the Strategic Planning Committee was not viewing Iowa State University as a wholistic entity. Do we have a plan in place to create safety nets for students that we recruit into engineering and business who decide to change their majors once they come to Iowa State University? Centers of excellence are important for attracting high ability students but is that the central focus for serving the needs of Iowa taxpayers? Are we being consistent when the strategic plan states that "the university remains committed to continuously evaluating, improving, and evolving all programs" while we review and eliminate low enrollment courses and programs?
There was a strong sense among the VPSA cabinet that we should examine adding a fifth priority focusing on the "international dimension" or alternatively, infusing internationalism into the curriculum. One could argue that by enhancing student success, by increasing the number of programs known as the very best in their field, and by achieving preeminence in translating new discoveries into viable technologies, the international dimension is implied. The success in these endeavors cannot be realized without a strong international base. This needs to be explicitly stated --- that students need to study abroad to compete globally when they graduate (even if they work in Iowa), that pushing the bounds of knowledge requires traversing political, linguistic, and cultural boundaries, and that to achieve preeminence means competing with the world's very best universities both in the terms of facilities and in attracting the best minds from around the world.
While diversity was implied in the document, there was a general sense or feeling that the strategic plan did not and would not include critical elements of the campus climate survey. The campus climate survey recommendations should be included in the strategic plan. "Each person who accepts membership in the university community must realize that membership obligates him or her, regardless of roles or responsibilities, to commit to and practice several basic principles of diversity: first, accepting one another; second, learning from one another; third, creating an atmosphere of positive engagement; and fourth, challenging bigotry" (Miami University Diversity Statement). People should understand that by entering this community they will change by having been here.
Finally, we must continue to position Iowa State University as a learning centered organization by strengthening our ties to academic affairs. In their statement to the Strategic Planning Committee, ADUP recommended that "students must be supported developmentally in ways that are consistent with the vast body of knowledge about how people learn and with their individual learning styles and abilities. The university must continue to strengthen a variety of learning experiences that supplement classroom instruction, including experiential learning, learning communities, leadership experiences, programs for high ability students, and research experiences." We must encourage, recognize, and support faculty and staff that are involved in learning communities, service learning, and student leadership development.
Dean of Students
Strategic Plan discussion - Priority -- Enhance the quality of life on campus and throughout Iowa.
Send your comments on the first draft of the plan to strategicplan by Sept. 17.