How we’ll implement the CALS strategic plan

I am pleased to report that on May 14 the CALS Academic Planning Council unanimously endorsed the final report the college’s strategic planning committee and encouraged the college to implement the committee’s recommendations.

Many of those who gave feedback during the public comment period asked for more tactical elements—an action plan. We will move forward with this “tactical stage” over the next year, building on the foundation that the committee has laid. Here are some first steps.

Top priorities. The committee outlined a lot of steps to undertake, and we know that we cannot address all of them at once. Of the seven strategies crafted by the committee, we felt that three of them had the greatest priority:

  • Direct instructional resources toward areas of growing need and demand … while developing innovative methods of delivering knowledge and advancing student learning
  • Support processes that enable greater collaboration across departments, centers and programs
  • Collaborate to maximize effectiveness and efficiency of administrative services

We will to look for early opportunities to move these three concepts forward. Another clear priority is to develop common indicators of success. The planning committee made a good start on identifying metrics or non-metric ways to assess our progress in these areas.

A cohesive report. While the planning process generated a number of very useful documents, they don’t fit together cohesively. Over the summer, Joan Fischer, editor of Grow magazine, will put these together in a report that will be concise and provide more context. All of the original documents will be available for reference, but the report will probably be the one we go to most frequently.

Guidance from chairs. In early June, I will meet the CALS administrative team to flesh out the recommendations and determine how we will stage those action plans. We will bring this more specific plan to the department chairs retreat in August. We want the chairs to help us troubleshoot our plan and provide additional guidance on action steps.

Mapping our strengths. We are also going to ask chairs, center directors and people who direct interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs to map their unit’s activities and strengths as they pertain to our six priority themes, so that we get a better assessment of where we are. We’re also asking for their perspective on where we need to build strength.

Assigning tasks. Next fall, we will assign appropriate elements of these work plans to standing CALS committees or new working groups, who will be charged with implementing aspects of the plan. Twice a year I will report to you on our progress toward these goals.

I deeply appreciate the efforts of the committee this year, and I look forward to continuing to engage faculty, staff and students in this ongoing implementation.

Kate VandenBosch

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