Provost Doug Baker Discusses Strategic Plan
Welcome back to the second semester.
It has been a busy year so far and there are many very important and positive activities underway, such as exciting new student recruitment and retention initiatives, restructuring of our research institutes and centers, better integration of our statewide system, expanded outreach and engagement activities, work to improve the diversity of our university and implementation of new budget models.
Due to the breadth of our collective efforts, I will keep you updated through this forum and ask for you to actively engage in many of the related activities. To begin, I will discuss the planning and accreditation processes that lay a foundation for our activity. One of the most important activities is the introduction and implementation of our new strategic plan for the next five years.
This summer a team of faculty staff, students and stakeholders undertook an examination and revision of our 2005-2010 strategic action plan. Over the next six months that team, chaired by Dan Eveleth and Holly Wichman, examined our past successes and opportunities for further improvement. Through the committee’s hard work a draft plan was developed this fall, broad feedback was sought and further revisions made. Our new plan builds on many of our current strengths, but updates, focuses and streamlines many of our University’s goals, objectives and strategies. It has been rewarding to look back and see all that we have accomplished in the last four plus years but even more exciting to see the opportunities in front of us. We expect President Nellis will formally announce the plan on Jan. 18.
In a future article, I will discuss the plan and what steps we will need to take to implement it across the University and continue to build on our successes. The implementation of the plan needs to be in harmony with requirements from our University’s key accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). In the last year the NWCCU adopted new accreditation standards that, when met, allow us to receive federal grant and financial aid funding. We, along with other universities and colleges in the Northwest, have been involved in the development and approval of those new standards.
In subsequent articles, I will describe those new standards and how they provide a streamlined framework for implementing our strategic plan and managing our resources. In addition to the introduction of the strategic plan on Jan. 18, we will have NWCCU Vice President Ron Baker join University leadership for a training workshop on the standards so that can share the information across the University for a clear understanding of the context for the implementation of our strategic plan.
We are coordinating the implementation of the strategic plan with our reporting processes for the Commission to streamline our work and minimize duplication of effort. The NWCCU requires us to clearly identify our vision, mission, core themes and critical resources we have to achieve our goals across all areas of the University. This is work we have well underway through our strategic planning process. For example, one of the standards asks us to identify, at a programmatic level, the key learning outcomes we want for our students, determine if students are attaining those outcomes, and then over time work to improve student attainment of those learning outcomes.
Most of our units have done a good job of identifying key program-level learning outcomes, but we have more work to do on using feedback to improve student learning through changes in curricula, activities outside of classes and pedagogy. I look forward to discussing these issues with you in the future. In addition, this spring I will visit colleges and other work units in Moscow and around the state to update you on our progress, key initiatives, legislative affairs and our improving budget situation.
I look forward to sharing more information with you and discussing critical issues for our progress as a University community.