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Phase one of strategic plan recalibration nearing completion

After more than six months of work, meetings, community meetings, revisions and more work, the first phase of the recalibration of the strategic directions document is nearing completion.

Since January, the 100-person-plus strategic planning committee has been working to revise the 2007 “Directions” document to account for real, supposed and probable economic, technological and social challenges, and to more closely align UT’s strategies with those of the University System of Ohio. The group held their most recent meeting of the whole Friday, June 25, and put the finishing touches on the first phase of the recalibration process.

Those final touches included an in-depth discussion on how to integrate the document’s six main goals and more specific sub-goals with each other and the identified themes of “relevance, sustainability, land use and distinctiveness.”

“We want to think about how this document starts to become whole, so that it isn’t just six different parts but starts to weave itself together,” said Chuck Lehnert, vice president for facilities and construction and co-chair of the strategic planning committee.

For instance, goal one’s focus of having a highly ranked and distinctive undergraduate education program includes the sub-goal of increasing participation in study abroad and online learning, which leads to a more sustainable use of energy because fewer students are on campus, and an increased role in global engagement (the main focus of the sixth goal). Click here for a downloadable PDF version of the current draft.

The draft includes input from every constituent group across and outside of the University’s campuses, including input from the attendees of six stakeholder meetings held with community members in May.

Getting opinions on the plan from a wide range of people was an important part of the process from early on, Lehnert said. In addition to the six stakeholder meetings, a robust website acts as the strategic plan recalibration online home. The site features full-length videos of every meeting of the whole; minutes, schedules, drafts and member listings from every work group; and pages of contextual information. A Facebook page also allows those interested to get involved and provide instant feedback on the draft document.

“This plan really belongs to the community,” Lehnert said. “If it’s only put together by a few individuals, then the plans can be very narrow. As we increase our constituent group, the ideals become limitless, more strategic, and we get better results.”

In phase two of the recalibration process, implementation plans, measures and metrics will be established using the same process that created and revised the main objectives of “Directions 2010.” Also, Lehnert urged more thought in phase two about the fiscal responsibility of the plan.

“We need to have more thought about how to do this in a downside economy. We can’t build a plan around ‘If I get more money, I can do this,’” he said. “If everything we’re doing depends on having a strong economy, money or resources, then we probably need to think a little more about it.”

After the completion of phase two in October, the finished document is tentatively scheduled to be presented to the UT Board of Trustees for a vote of adoption in November.

To learn more about the strategic plan and how you can become involved, visit utoledo.edu/strategicplan.