The Portland State University Board of Trustees approved our strategic plan in December 2015.
Some have expressed that we went through a large-scale, campus–wide planning effort, and spent a lot of time and money, but are skeptical that little will change as a result of the plan and it will be business as usual.
I share with you some of the work and prioritization taken place in the last few months to demonstrate the plan’s strong impact.
The President’s Executive Committee has spent a lot of time discussing each of the five goals, 24 initiatives, and over 70 sub-initiatives. First, we identified works in progress and new initiatives. We also determined which division has primary responsibility for each of the sub-initiatives.
The Academic Leadership Team (ALT) has examined the plan closely and is prioritizing their key areas of focus. The Faculty Senate Steering Committee has had conversations about how they will support and advance the initiatives in the strategic plan. My vice presidential colleagues are developing plans in their divisions.
The implementation of our strategic plan should follow the process used to develop the plan: campus-wide input, visibility, opportunities to comment and change things, and the inclusion of many. It will require everyone on campus to determine how each can contribute to achieving the vision:
“Portland State University leads the way to an equitable and sustainable future through academic excellence, urban engagement, and expanding opportunities for all.”
No doubt – some significant new actions will happen because of the plan. Though, I contend that the greatest value of the plan will be how it helps us make day-to-day decisions and how it holds us accountable for using the equity lens in our daily work.
In my November 2015 blog post on the strategic plan, I urged everyone “to view the strategic plan as a guide. It is not a prescriptive blueprint on how to do things, but rather lays out the type of institution we strive to be, the directions we should take, and the outcomes we are looking for…the greatest power of the plan is how all of us will use it to make decisions based on our current efforts and resources. When faced with choices, the plan will be a valuable tool for deciding between options.”
Evidence of impact already being realized
We have advanced conversations to explore offering PSU degree completion courses on the campuses of Portland Community College and Mount Hood Community College to fulfill the goal to work with community colleges to create programs, services, and clear pathways for transfer students (Goal 1: 2.3).
Our work on Super Awesome Degree Maps will help students navigate their coursework and move efficiently toward graduation (Goal 1: 2.2).
We will soon share a draft proposal with our Graduate and Undergraduate Curriculum Committees to incorporate criteria to ensure courses and programs have culturally relevant content and take into account the diverse learning styles of our students (Goal 4: 3.2).
We funded all the proposals put forward for flexible degrees to accommodate the diverse needs of students (Goal 1: 4.2).
The need to increase our advising capacity and revitalize advising systems has caused us to pause on simply adding more advisors and, instead, to work with the advisors, students and faculty to reexamine how we deliver advising services (Goal 1: 3.1).
The Plan’s Visibility
The strategic plan’s format makes it easy to use. The entire plan is in a colorful, well-designed, 20 page brochure. Also, an 11×17 version displays a one-page reference of the vision, mission, values, reputation, position, goals, initiatives and all sub-initiatives. In the Provost Office, we have laminated this one pager to serve as a “placemat” at each seat in our two conferences rooms. Individuals and groups reference the plan during meetings to inform conversations and make decisions.
There is much work ahead. I encourage everyone to stay engaged, informed and help move PSU forward to fulfill our mission to serve and sustain a vibrant, urban region through our creativity, collective knowledge and expertise; our dedication to collaborative learning, innovative research, sustainability, and community engagement; to educate a diverse community of lifelong learners; and to have our research and teaching have global impact.
Please share your input below on how your units are incorporating the strategic plan.