Turning Good Ideas into Great Ideas

July 18, 2011

Faculty and Staff:

Strategic Planning Update

My thanks to all for your sustained effort in the strategic planning process. Based upon extensive input from the committees and the KU community, we are now writing the strategic plan report and developing a detailed implementation and assessment process. When disseminated later this summer, the report will focus on the goals that emerged from the four work groups (Energizing the Educational Environment, Driving Discovery and Innovation, Engaging Scholarship for Public Impact, Elevating Doctoral Education) and on the two overarching goals (Developing People and Developing Infrastructure and Resources).

I will appoint a small implementation team soon to handle logistics and ongoing oversight of the strategic plan. The strategic planning website is the best place to find up-to-the-minute information on the process.

Strategic initiatives: Summits planned around big, bold ideas

A key part of the strategic plan, especially in Driving Discovery and Innovation, will be four strategic initiative themes that surfaced from the 104 proposals submitted on February 28, 2011. The level of conversations and collaborations that occurred during this process was remarkable. After careful review of the proposals, including scoring by the DDI committee and consideration by the deans, four broad themes emerged each containing exciting and bold ideas that build upon KU’s strengths and emerging potential.

The immediate next steps are to bring together and enhance faculty and staff networks in order to fully realize that potential — to transition from good ideas to big ideas. To catalyze this process, for each of the four strategic initiative themes, we will hold a summit open to the entire KU community to elaborate upon and refine the theme. The summits will be held during the latter part of fall semester and beginning of spring semester.

Below are the four strategic initiative themes and the list of accomplished co-chairs who have agreed to form inclusive planning groups to organize and convene the summits:

  • Sustaining the Planet, Powering the World: Bob Honea, Joane Nagel, and Judy Wu;
  • Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures: Jeff Aubé, John Colombo, and Dave Ekerdt;
  • Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities: Marta Caminero-Santangelo, Derrick Darby, Don Deshler, and Steven Maynard Moody; and
  • Harnessing Information, Multiplying Knowledge: Perry Alexander, Nancy Baym, and Kris Krishtalka.

Each of these four strategic initiative themes encompasses a number of bold exemplars. The summits will encourage faculty, staff, and students to interweave their research visions around big, bold ideas and to envision future research connections and synergies that KU can build upon in the coming years. The summits will provide the deans and university administration with input on next steps for project development, leadership, recommended investment, and hiring priorities.

Additional Town Hall meetings: Changing for Excellence

At a series of town hall meetings, our consultants from Huron will be giving an overview of the Changing for Excellence process as well as a report on the current findings so that the KU community can provide feedback on what the consultants have learned thus far. You are invited to attend any of the up-coming town hall meetings:

  • Tuesday, July 26, 8:30–10:00 a.m., Budig Hall, Auditorium #110
  • Wednesday, August 24, 10:30–noon, Kansas Union, Woodruff Auditorium
  • Tuesday, September 13, 9:30–11:00 a.m., Kansas Union, Woodruff Auditorium
  • Tuesday, October 4, 3:00–4:30 p.m., Kansas Union, Woodruff Auditorium
  • Thursday, October 27, 11:00–12:30 p.m., Budig Hall, Auditorium #120

During the upcoming weeks, we will be receiving the Phase I recommendations from the Huron team, and we will ask the Huron team to develop more detailed implementation plans in a number of specific areas. The KU community will be closely involved in the development of those plans during August and September. The strategic planning executive committee will then review the recommendations to determine which to implement.

To view earlier town hall meetings and for further information please consult Changing for Excellence web page.

Again, thank you for your continued work on behalf of KU. I know that change of any kind — no matter how much it is needed — can be unsettling. KU must change in order to continue to advance forward as a vibrant educational institution and achieve our collective mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service. Harry S. Truman’s words can provide us with some wise guidance and assurance:

You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don’t believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet the situation which we can’t possibly foresee now.
Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

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