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Strategic plan to be final by end of June

On June 14, 2010

Randiah Green News Editor

The University of Toledo’s Strategic Plan Committee is getting ready to start making the final draft of Directions 2010, UT’s Strategic Plan.

“At the next meeting, we are going to talk about how the different sections of the strategic plan crossover and if they don’t, how they can be intertwined,” said Vice President of Facilities and Construction Chuck Lehnert, who is a co-convener of the committee. “After that, we’ll be talking about measurements and matrix and how we can use some of the statistics that we already have and how they can be used as measurements for some of the goals.”

The six goal workgroups that constitute the overall foundation of Directions 2010 focus on undergraduate academic programs, graduate and professional academic programs, research, students centeredness and campus directions, health care access and delivery directions, and outreach and engagement directions.

Lehnert said one common theme throughout all the goal workgroups is sustainability.

“Sustainability is in your basic sciences, it’s in your physics, it’s in engineering, it could be in law; so it permeates the organization and can be influenced by all of the academic programs,” he said. “It’s what the university stands for. Our mission is to improve the human condition. Sustainability is a big part of that. We also happen to be very good at it.”

A large focus in undergraduate and graduate and professional academic programs in Directions 2010, which is a re-write of the Directions 2007 document, is making these programs “regionally relevant, nationally distinguished and highly ranked.”

Some of the strategies for working towards reaching the various goals include plans to restructure tenure and promotion to reward high quality teaching, as well as integrate science, technology, engineering, math and medicine with liberal arts studies. Other strategies include working to increase the number of UT faculty members who are members of major professional societies, shortening the time it takes for students to obtain a degree, and increasing external research funding.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs said he has not read the rough draft of Directions 2010, but said the recalibration is a response to economic changes.

“The economic base in northwest Ohio has changed,” he said. “We have become a center for alternative energy. We’re responding to the change. Our mission has not changed; our value system has not changed. What will change is our response to the outside world.”

Student Government Vice President Jordan Maddocks said the draft of Directions 2010 seemed vague.

“How are you supposed to say that you are actually making progress,” Maddocks said. “It’s all pretty ambiguous. I don’t see any substantial goals. It’s more like ‘we hope to increase diversity,’ but what does that mean exactly?”

The rough draft of Directions 2010 includes the six goal workgroups, sub goals for those workgroups, and strategies of implementation.

Maddocks said Vice President of Student Affairs Kaye Patten Wallace emailed him and Student Government President Matt Rubin the draft of Directions 2010 for review since former SG leaders were involved in the process.

“Especially the student centeredness and student affairs sections of it; we reviewed it and then I attended the stakeholder meetings on student affairs and also the graduate affairs session,” Maddocks said.

Jacobs recently appointed 12 faculty members to the Committee on Strategic Organization which is charged with looking at the “structure of reorganization.”

“I think it will become a part of the discussion and it may end up being an appendix or something like that, but won’t be a big part of the strategic plan,” Jacobs said. “That’s more of an implementation strategy.”

Lehnert said the participation in the strategic plan recalibration process has been outstanding.

“This is an open dialogue,” he said. “Literally thousands of people have touched this document and participated in this discussion; students, community members, faculty and staff, all of those groups,” he said. “There’s a lot of students who actually sit on the committee. There’s faculty that sit on the committee, there’s customers that sit on the committee from the healthcare side. We’ve really tried to reach out to every possible group and we’ve had a lot of participation.”

But Maddocks said he is worried about the lack of student participation in the recalibration process.

“When I attended the meeting, I was the only student, but there were a lot of community members at these meetings,” he said. “The reason I attend the graduate session is that I’m in a graduate professional studies program. I know they’ve always advertised it in different news outlets, but I think its time for students to step up and say, ‘hey, this pertains to me so I should get involved in this.’ The more minds on this, the better the perspective.”

The final draft of Directions 2010 will be presented to all of the workgroups at the next Strategic Planning Committee meeting on June 25.

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