Strategic Planning Highlights
- 2009 SPUR IV / Identification of Centers of Excellence at CSU / KPI reviewed
- 2008 SPUR III / Engaged Learning Theme / KPI first reported
- 2007 SPUR II/ Key Progress Indicators drafted
- 2006 Vision Unlimited adopted
- 2005 University Strategic Planning Committee Organized/ SPUR I scheduled
- 2004 Planning/Compromise Continues/ Vision 2009 proposed
- 2003 First Report to the Faculty Senate
- 2002 University Planning Steering Committee
The 2009 review of data related to the key progress indicators for Vision Unlimited marked the first comparison of the data with benchmarks identified in 2008. The available data from the ensuing year was compared to the benchmark value for each KPI; an assessment of the indicator’s status was established and reported. The report is under review by the University Strategic Planning Committee in September, 2009.
A review of the outcomes that emerged from the SPUR IV discussion groups comprised of Community and University stakeholder representatives reflected congruence with the six umbrella goals set forth in Vision Unlimited and a common commitment to excellence, distinctive image, the need for collaboration, as well as the need for a solid financial foundation. A review of the 25 page transcription of participant comments revealed several common observations that might contribute to an action plan for the future. They include:
• The need for attention to the definition of key concepts (e.g., “health”, “civic life”, partnership) and the nature of centers’ foci (i.e., research, practice, policy or all three?).
• The need for assessment both internally (e.g., existing centers, programs) and externally via environmental scanning of stakeholder expectations, needs, etc. which perhaps should precede the above definition activity.
• The need to clarify both “physical” (e.g., new building/space) and “functional” (e.g., staffing) needs of the Centers.
• The need to address funding issues including “start-up” funds for the Centers, diverse funding sources, as well as concern regarding the impact of center funding on the needs of a comprehensive university.
• The need for increased networking with both internal and external stakeholders was consistently noted, including connections among programs/disciplines, with alums, among current students, with school districts, the business community, the arts, and civic and social organizations.
• The need to examine traditional incentive structures and create new structures for students (e.g., credit for service learning) and faculty (e.g., recognition beyond published journal articles and grant funding)stressing “engagement” through “service learning”, “internships”, “co-op’s”, or other means.
During the initial development of the strategic plan, a wide array of suggested indicators were examined by USPC at the goal, strategy and tactical levels for the purpose of periodically reviewing and monitoring performance. As the name suggests these key indicators include metrics that capture outcomes for each of the six goals on Vision Unlimited. These indicators are designed to be suitable for year-end reviews of the plan. They are used to indicate broad trends for Vision Unlimited as a whole with a few select core indicators to assess the direction of performance as rising, stable, or declining. To understand what the KPI indicate, it is useful to go beyond the definition of the selected indicators to examine two other issues that are relevant to their development. These two issues are the rationale for their inclusion and the description of the process by which they were identified. KPI for the strategic plan were developed by USPC partially with input from the campus community during the Spring, 2007 SPUR II session. Feedback from the SPUR participants was further refined by USPC to reflect the suitability of these indicators to the campus environment and the feasibility of data collection for each indicator. Additional insights were gained from key administrators including President Schwartz, Provost Saunders, Vice President Boyle, University Architect Ed Schmittgen, and Assistant Vice President Rob Spademan to establish internal lines of communication.
As required, USPC submitted its first annual report to the Administration and Faculty Senate’s Academic Steering Committee (ASC) on August 29, 2007 for review at ASC’s September 5th meeting. The report was subsequently submitted to Faculty Senate by ASC for review. Two components of the report required Senate ratification: 1) USPC’s proposed process for change or modification of Vision Unlimited; and 2) USPC’s identified key performance indicators (KPI) Questions raised regarding disaggregation of student data were addressed, the two components requiring ratification were ratified and the report was accepted by Faculty Senate.
In the fall, 2008, the committee proposed and the Faculty Senate adopted twenty key performance indicators to asses the progress of the university toward achieving its six strategic goals. Each indicator and its primary data source(s) within the university were then reviewed to determine the available data and/or information that could be utilized to characterize recent trends, and provide an identified baseline or benchmark to utilize for progress analysis in the future. It should be noted that assumptions guiding these initial review included the following:
• Data was selected and /or derived from readily available sources within the university (i.e., CSU Book of Trends, CSU website information, published reports, and other routinely available nationally-recognized instruments and summaries) to facilitate further analysis.
• Baseline information was derived from the 2006-07 reports. Recent data for each KPI will be included as available. In the event data was unavailable from 06-07 (i.e. NSSE, HERI) the most recent available resource was utilized.
• Concise presentation of information guided the development of the report. Data and information for each key performance indicator is presented in a tabular or narrative format. Brief observations and discussions were used to interpret the information and assess the progress for each goal.
The report contained recent trend data and information for 50 data collection points. Benchmark values were identified in the initial report that will be utilized for review of progress in the future.
In his opening endorsement of Vision Unlimited, CSU President Michael Schwartz lauded the plan “as the means for charting the future course of the University and identifies strategies for attaining goals and assessing outcomes.” He further encouraged faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community- all of our stakeholders- to read, consult websites, and participate actively “in making the plan a reality…we will collectively reach our highest aspiration to establish CSU as the student-focused center of scholarly excellence in the heart of the City of Cleveland.” Vision Unlimited was the result of an ongoing, collaborative process within the university community, which employs a bottom-up, grass roots initiative. The process is designed to routinely obtain feedback from stakeholders.
Monitoring progress under Vision Unlimited is designed to be an iterative process that fits the on-going and continuously updating nature of the plan itself. It is anticipated that through this planning process many programs and operations on CSU’s campus will be enhanced. KPI developed for monitoring the plan will not only capture growth and change, but will also provide an interface with the changing external and internal realities of the campus. This scan-and-change process is intended to guarantee that planning is continuous. The KPI will inform the planning process by generating trends and highlighting areas that are either considered strengths or those that need additional focus. The initial review against the established benchmarks is underway during the summer, 2009.
A key outcome of the collaboration between the Provost’s Task Force on Engagement and Excellence and the USPC was the change of focus for SPUR III. The USPC’s prior plan to focus on master planning paled in comparison to the timeliness of “engaged learning” and its challenges and opportunities for all academic units.
Two of the USPC goals for SPUR III were to: 1) increase university-wide participation; and 2) move toward expanded community involvement. Internally, invitations were extended to chairs of standing Faculty Senate committees, Faculty Senators, student representatives, and university staff. In an attempt to expand community involvement, all Trustees were invited along with the chairs of the colleges’ visiting committees. The response and participation of “new” invitees was quite positive. Given the attendance rate and energy that the new invitees brought to the SPUR discussion sessions, further steps “outward into the community” and increased student representation should be explored for SPUR IV.
A summary of key outcomes with engaged learning that emerged from the SPUR III discussion groups includes: CHALLENGES: 1.engaged learning is time consuming; 2. the majority of our students are part-time and/or commuting with other life spheres that require “engagement” (e.g., family, work); 3.reward structures are needed for students, staff and faculty who commit to engaged learning; and, 4.assessment of community needs and baseline data to assess our initiative’s progress are essential. OPPORTUNITIES: 1.enhancing the students’ transition from the role of “student” to the roles of “worker” and “citizen”; 2.drawing upon the richness of our urban setting; 3.drawing upon the knowledge and experience of community experts; 4.highlighting CSU’s established record of engaged learning; and 5.utilizing technology to facilitate engaged learning programs and activities.
In April of 2007 the USPC hosted its second annual Strategic Planning University Review (SPUR II) to continue the conversation among leadership and to seek answers to specific planning questions. In all, ninety campus leaders were invited to participate and 56 individuals attended SPUR II. The USPC used the same "speed dating" format used in the first SPUR session to maximize interaction across all participants.
Participants responded to questions relating to measurement metrics (key progress indicators), the master planning process involving physical expansion and capital outlays, budget integration, and collaboration within the university. SPUR II provided valuable information to the USPC. Suggestions were made for improving the metrics for each of the six goals, to better link the master plan and the strategic plan, to develop formal procedures for updating the master plan, and to better communicate about space use and changes on campus. The groups discussing the relationship between budget and strategic planning suggested an annual retreat between these two campus committees as well as the creation of a special fund to support new initiatives in the strategic plan. The groups discussing collaboration suggested conducting a communication audit to determine the problems areas, support new collaborative activities with an innovation fund, and create better methods of communicating and promoting collaborative activities.