A continuous, broadly inclusive approach was taken throughout the strategic planning process to ensure a plan that is representative of the larger University’s thoughts and input. While the themes cover expansive areas, several specific overarching issues emerged that are not direct components of any one single theme. Consider them building blocks of the University, basic fundamental elements that underpin, facilitate, and form the foundation of the University’s overall operations.
Those elements are information technology organization and utilization, effective interactive two-way communication, faculty and staff training, and expanded government and community partner relationships. While various themes have tactics that reflect these areas, they are not broad enough, or adequate enough, to meet the larger need. Therefore, the University has recognized these areas as fundamental elements to be addressed if the University is to move forward with alacrity to implement this plan and meet its stated goals.
First, the University’s current information technology organizational structure must be enhanced in a manner that is universally accessible and facilitates flexibility and innovation. In order to garner the maximum benefit from information technology, in both routine matters and in innovation, the University must make enhancements to the organizational structure to develop a more unified approach that will allow for maximum utilization, security, and benefit across the University.
Second, effective interactive two-way communication is a must in any successful organization. The University recognizes the need to design open communication channels that disseminate and receive information to and from internal and external constituencies. Items such as electronic newsletters, Universitywide announcements, and broad utilization of the common calendar are examples of existing tools that can be leveraged to enhance communication. Effective communication strategies go hand-in-hand with enhanced information technology initiatives and both rely on open and collaborative participation to maximize impact and success.
Third, there is a distinct desire and need for more faculty and staff training. While many effective training programs currently exist, it is imperative that the University increase training opportunities to facilitate enhanced work performance, faculty and staff satisfaction, and workforce development.
Finally, the University, located in close proximity to many local, state, and federal government agencies, needs to develop stronger government and community partner relationships. While the University has been successful collaborating with local and state government agencies, it has not had the same presence at the federal level. Many challenges face society in areas such as health care and transferring the knowledge created through research for the betterment of society. This University is particularly well-positioned to be an expert partner in studying such matters and providing cutting-edge solutions to these challenges. The University eagerly takes on this mantle, and will actively work with local, state, and federal governments and community partners to address these opportunities.
The University has a prime opportunity to enhance its effectiveness in its missions by addressing these four fundamental elements. Streamlined information technology organization, enhanced interactive two-way communication, increased training, and collaboration with government agencies and community partners will enable the University to further its efforts in all mission areas. While much good work has been done in these areas to date, a challenge to the status quo can yield great opportunities. The University embraces this opportunity.