SRU to unveil new strategic plan
Feb. 9, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Philip Way, Slippery Rock University's provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, will present the latest iteration of the University's new strategic plan at 12:30 p.m., Feb. 23 in the Smith Student Center ballroom.
The plan, which represents a blueprint for the University's future, highlights key priorities, goals and actions that SRU will look to implement in order to further its vision to "excel as a caring community of lifelong learners connecting with the world."
Unlike the previous strategic plan, introduced five years ago and providing a 15-year outlook, the 2016 version features a pared down, three to five-year forecast, something Way feels is much more realistic given the climate of higher education.
"It's a little more concrete as to what we do, who we are and for whom we do it," Way said. "Everyone involved feels this plan is more meaningful and relevant than past plans because we're not looking too far ahead.
"The world is changing so fast, we can't commit ourselves to such a lengthy period of time. We're looking at this (three to five-year window) as more of a rolling plan so that we have the ability to adapt and adjust for the next year as the prior year falls away. In today's climate, that is key."
The plan features eight goals:
• Increase enrollment while enhancing student quality and diversity.
• Offer a quality, flexible, agile and integrated curriculum and co-curriculum to develop the intellectual, social, physical and leadership capacities of students.
• Fuel learning with powerful pedagogies and transformational experiences in and out of the classroom.
• Maintain an unwavering focus on success for all students.
• Provide a supportive campus experience through quality housing, dining, recreation, health, safety and administrative services, and a caring community.
• Attract, retain and develop highly qualified and diverse faculty, staff and administrators.
• Increase financial resources, enhance physical facilities, employ cost-effective technology and use sustainable processes and procedures.
• Engage alumni and friends in the life of the university.
Way pointed out that reviewers of the goals shouldn't be quick to pass judgment on their broad appearance.
"What you'll find," said Way, "is that while the front-facing portion of the goals may seem brief or in general terms to the public arena, everyone can rest assured that behind the scenes, there are people working on those goals in much greater and finer detail."
A case in point is SRU's first goal pertaining to enrollment.
"If you visit enrollment management, they'll show you a nine-page spreadsheet of all the things they are doing for each market segment to support that goal," Way said. "That's their daily playbook. It may not be public, but the details are there.
"The people who are responsible for implementation are the ones involved in the creation and forecasting. Goals are matched to those who facilitate that work on a daily basis. We'll get results because the plan holds our people accountable."
Way added that while the previous strategic plan was innovative in its approach given its observations about a global society and how SRU would prepare its students for a "world of the future," influences from a variety of constituencies necessitated a tighter, more fluid plan at this juncture.
"The State System has developed its own (strategic) plan, and as part of that, has asked us to incorporate certain performance indicators into our plan," said Way. "Additionally, as we continue to go through our reaccreditation process with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, they would like us to address our challenges and opportunities for the next five years and respond accordingly."
Other outside factors including declining birth rates, fewer high school graduates and the realities of today's current economic climate also factor into how the University approached the new strategic plan Way said.
The result of an almost two-year process, the strategic plan includes extensive inputs from the University's administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni and other constituents.
"We asked everyone that wanted to, to get involved," said Way. "And while not everyone has taken part to date, the offer is out there to provide input if they'd like."
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