"Thank you all for being here"
Thank you all for being here. It is important for me to recognize, if you don't mind, the members of the Strategic Planning Committee and the fact that it's 7:30 in the morning and that members of the community are here, members of the faculty are here, giving of their time. And particularly, I'm grateful to members of the community who are giving of their time and their intellect to this process. I think that is tremendously important and it underscores my belief that this is your University of Toledo. That it belongs to you, that it belongs to the community and so forth. I appreciate the Strategic Planning Committee's commitment in that regard and I also want, as Dr. Gutteridge already did, to thank and welcome others who are here doing the public's business and your public interest is, not only appropriate, but it is welcomed. This is the public's business. Before we go on, it seems to me to be appropriate if we stop for a moment and try to focus our thoughts and recognition of the bereavement of the family of Haris Charalambous. Just to stop for a second and try to recognize a life lived, a short life lived, and focus our thoughts in that direction. So why don't we stop for a second and do that. So thanks very much. I want to ask that the Strategic Planning Committee sort of stand up and wave your hand because this is in fact, as Dr. Gutteridge called it to order, a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee and although, thank you very much again, Larry you belong down front here. John Szuch, I wonder if I can get you to move up here a little bit to speak to your membership as a member of that important committee? Amy, how are you this morning? There are a number of folk who are unable to be here; but, as you can see, we have a sizable of number of representatives and here's Dr. Shapiro. Up front here, Joe, please. [Audience and Dr. Jacobs laugh] A number, a sizable number of people who are, as I say, giving their time, giving of their intellect to try to chart a course for the future of this university. And as this little introductory slide suggests, "Thinking Out Our Future", thinking our future, creating our future by taking thought, is an incredibly important undertaking. Complex, and to my mind, constitutes the kind of intellectual undertaking, that in some instances, is the most difficult. So I want to back up, if I may, to sort of square one and remind you, please, Strategic Planning Committee members, of the original charge. I will be, I suppose, a bit pedantic and read that charge to you and then spend a few minutes, if you don’t mind, amplifying that charge and sort of where we've been. Indeed, overall, the purpose of my being here this morning is to respond to you, the Strategic Planning Committee, and to amplify that charge, if you don't mind for a few minutes. And then, as Tom suggested, the Strategic Planning Committee will go to work, again. So the original charge, and I will read it, forgive me for that, is: “Develop a bold, dynamic strategic plan that will move the institution forward as a new University of Toledo. The plan will encompass all major elements of the university: Main Campus, Health Science Campus, instruction, research, institutional advancement, student affairs, information technology, business and operations, outreach and service functions, and input from major stakeholder groups.” Alright, I want to remind you then, that what we have begun to discuss, the discussions that have begun are no and incomplete. And that there is a tremendous amount of work down the road to think about the business and operations, outreach and service functions, information technology, and so on. So what we're here today to discuss is a first step and a relatively small one at that. And then, to underscore again, include input from major stakeholder groups. “The plan will reflect an institutional focus that is narrow and deep.” And that's reflective, as you of course recognize, of my belief and your belief, I think, that a grave danger for institutions like ours is to spread ourselves too thin. It seems to me that we need to sharpen our focus. “The plan will reflect an institutional focus that is narrow and deep, define the customer and move resources to the customer interface, build a loyal and committed workforce, connect the institution to the community, and be aligned with the mission and vision statements of the institution. Using language that is clear and easily understood by all members of the university community and the public, the plan will include a limited number of specific goals, specific strategies for achieving each of the goals, and a concrete implementation plan that identifies specific steps to take and those responsible for each step.” Like once again, that’s a huge amount work, none of which has yet been touched upon by the draft documents that we have been circulating, nor, I think it's fair to say, the deliberations of the Strategic Planning Committee thus far. To identify specific steps to take and those who are responsible for each step. So I was just trying to emphasize to members of the Strategic Planning Committee that this is, at best, a beginning. It is a long way from an ending of a strategic planning process. Indeed, you'll recall I was saying earlier on that I think strategic planning is a continuous undertaking. It is not episodic. I am not necessarily looking for a document that you finish and sign-off on and put on the shelf for three years and then undertake it again. And that is also in the charge. “As a continuously evolving document, the plan may consider among others, the following strategic issues:” And then it goes on, the charge goes on to list a number of issues: size and mix of students; the role of the university, research versus teaching; and so forth. Now let me underscore that that charge remains, and I believe that the Strategic Planning Committee has thus far, responsibly reacted to that charge and furthermore, that that's a difficult undertaking. It's complex. This institution is huge; it has been around for a long time. Thinking of its future is a very difficult thing to be doing. However, I think we need to do it and I want to take our courage in hand and together, try to move that agenda forward. So I think it's fair to say then, to review a little bit the history of the strategic planning process thus far, over the last several months that the Strategic Planning Committee has met on approximately a total of eight or so hours, maybe nine. That they have engaged in fruitful discussion and of where it is that that group thinks we need to go, and what the future looks like, and how we begin to try to map out our future. There came a time then, when the Strategic Planning Committee thought it well to invite me back to that group to try for a little bit of clarification of what my views on some of these issues were. And the outcome of that meeting was that the Strategic Planning Committee said, "Look here Jacobs, why don't you write down a straw person, a straw man, strategic plan, or at least the beginning of one and bring it back to us so we can react to it." Indeed, my recollection is that Mr. Szuch over here was the person that sort of enunciated that suggestion. And so, I have done that. I have written down the beginning of a strategic plan. I want to underscore a couple of things. First of all, I think that was an entirely appropriate request of the Strategic Planning Committee. It is my role, among other roles, but one of my roles I believe is to launch an agenda item so that public debate can proceed effectively. And to some extent, for me to say, “Here's what I think we should do”, is a reasonable place to start this kind of debate that I hope will carry us forward into a better future. So I think that their request to me to do that was a good request from the Strategic Planning Committee and as I say, I have done that. However, I need to confess that what I have done thus far is incomplete. The document is narrow. It does not take into account a facilities master plan that's much needed. It does not take into account a faculty hiring plan that's very much needed. It does not take into account the plan for the athletics department which is underway under the guidance of, I think, O'Brien and Gutteridge if I recall, and needs to be connected to and coordinated with this planning process. It does not include reference to, or minimal reference to, an information technologies strategic plan. Once again, a much needed undertaking. So what I have presented or am about to present briefly, is an incomplete piece of work. Indeed, I have purposely, I think, left the language with the look and feel of an incomplete document. I've tried not to spend very much time on wordsmithing, or commas, or colons, or semicolons, but to signify the fact that this is an incomplete document. The part that's maybe perhaps most incomplete, for those of you who've seen it or those who will shortly, is the measurement section. The last couple of three pages speak to the need for us to be able to measure what we count as success or failure. And that, I would say, is most incomplete, and I believe we need to think up, conceive of better measures of success. And that which we can't measure, I believe we are unlikely to change or impact. And, so I believe that the measurement of what we count success or failure is going to be tremendously important and certainly needs a lot more work and is in the document that you will see, is very preliminary. When I keep saying, you will see or have seen, this document has been kicking around the institution in a couple of three drafts. I wish you would take pains if you want to study it, to look at the latest draft. If you have any questions about what is the latest draft, Penny Poplin Gosetti or someone else from my office can help be sure that you have the latest draft. And then secondly, that latest draft will be on the web, I hope, shortly after this meeting for all and everyone to peruse. This is a draft, however, it is in the public arena now and is open to anyone and everyone to read it and comment upon it. So let me go back please to the charge to the Strategic Planning Committee. You received a charge from me. That charge included an understanding that the Strategic Planning Committee was to advise me. The Strategic Planning Committee is advisory to the president. I will look at the work product of that Strategic Planning Committee and convey it to the Board of Trustees. Ultimately, the Board of Trustees is responsible for the strategic direction of the institution and will comment upon strategic directions ultimately. Is it awkward that members of the Board of Trustees sit on the Strategic Planning Committee and so we have a little bit of a circular situation? It's not awkward to me. I think the more dialog, the more colloquy, the more sort of re-entry points, the better, and I don't find that difficult at all. Indeed, I find it encouraging. But the formal sequence is the Strategic Planning Committee will advise me, I will carry that forward with changes or without to the Board of Trustees for them to exercise their final responsibility for the direction of the institution. And that's the sequence. Let me go forward then, if you don't mind, to speak more about the charge, to broaden the charge a little bit to the Strategic Planning Committee. To speak again to the Strategic Planning Committee about where it is I believe they need to go and would request that they do go. One thing I’d like to do, I'm going to number these for you. If you are so inclined and you may want to write them down and number them. I want to underscore that which was already in the original charge, that the Strategic Planning Committee should, I believe, include, or seek, or recognize, and then I’m quoting, “input from major stakeholder groups.” This is, these are difficult issues that are in the strategic plan. Outlining, mapping out what we believe to be an appropriate future for an institution as complex as this one now is, is not easy. We need to hear from every voice. So I’d like to charge again the Strategic Planning Committee with listening to those voices as appropriate. There is broad representation already in the Strategic Planning Committee. Carter Wilson, the president of the Faculty Senate; Amy Steves, the President of Student Government; Joe Shapiro, a medical doctor from the Health Science campus; both provosts – we have broad representation. And it may be that the Strategic Planning Committee will choose to broaden that even more or perhaps to seek input on the research themes from the Research Council or other such bodies. And again, I want to underscore first, the statement that’s already in the previous charge, to include input from major stakeholder groups. Number two is to continue this broadening or reinforcement of the charge to the Strategic Planning Committee. I ask you, Strategic Planning Committee members, to avoid, or at least be aware of, one of the ways that grave errors are made. Grave errors are made often by what people in the error business call “premature closure.” Avoid premature closer. Let me tell you what I'm speaking of. The airline industry has studied errors perhaps more systematically than almost any other group. And there's a phenomenon in which an experienced, sober pilot may look down and see the surface of the Potomac River and take it as the runway of National Airport and his mind closes, her mind closes, and reaches premature closure on what it is they think they are seeing. It is a well-known phenomenon and a very dangerous one obviously. You can guess from that example. Surgeons have the same trouble. Sometimes a surgeon will look inside the abdomen and prematurely close on, gee, this piece of bowel must be the third or fourth portion of the duodenum and go on and do an operation and based on that identification, when they have prematurely come to that conclusion. So I want the Strategic Planning Committee please to be very careful and cognizant of this phenomenon of thinking, gee, it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it must be a duck. Well, I want you to remember that it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck, but be careful; it may not be a duck. It may not be National Airport runway. It may not be the fourth portion of the duodenum. Check and recheck please to be sure that we don't reach closure prematurely. Right? Now, obviously there is a danger in your having asked me to produce a straw document, for you to glance at it and say, “yep, that's it.” You see what I'm saying? I want to warn you of that phenomenon of premature closure. Second charge to the ... sorry, third broadening of the charge to the Strategic Planning Committee is as follows: do not, please, be afraid of disagreement. Disagreement is healthy and frequently we formally, in our society, set up people to disagree in the belief that the truth will be found in the colloquy that ensues from that disagreement. So we purposefully set up the defense lawyer and the prosecutor to disagree. We structurally set them up to disagree in the belief that the truth will be found in the colloquy between those parties. And in this instance, we must not be afraid of disagreement. Disagreement is, disagreement about ideas is an aspect, in my opinion, of diversity. We frequently speak of diversity of gender, diversity of age, diversity of race, but there’s also another aspect of diversity and that is diversity of in terms of what we think about things, our thought patterns, our thought pattern habits, if you will. And in my opinion, and in the opinion of the Supreme Court, incidentally, diversity strengthens an organization. It does not weaken an organization. A diverse organization is stronger, better equipped. And an organization that takes into account multiple different thought patterns, multiple different backgrounds, multiple experiences and tries to synthesize from them what is the best position for that institution is certainly stronger for that. So do not be afraid of disagreement. Now the caveat to being strengthened by diversity is that we deal with it with mutual respect. The diversity that exists, and may have existed in this country before the Civil War, certainly didn't strengthen the country, but when diversity is dealt with with respect, and listening, and hearing people out, and honest attempts at synthesis, then diversity can be a strength. And I charge you, Strategic Planning Committee members with, do not be afraid of disagreement, embrace diversity of thought, and try to make it a source of strength for this institution. Fourth, I would like to ask the Strategic Planning Committee to try to cultivate a habit that I personally try to cultivate. I personally work hard to cultivate the habit of which I am about to speak and some days I succeed and some days I fail. But never mind, let me tell you of that habit that I would like to ask you to try to cultivate. And that is an assumption of benign intent. If I see Joe Shapiro do something, if I see Joe Shapiro behave in a particular way, arrive a few minutes late at a meeting or whatever [audience laughter], that I try to develop a habit pattern that says there must be a good reason. That I assume, try to assume up front, in the same way that our Constitution, court system assumes innocence until guilt is proven. I try to assume benign intent upon the part of Joe Shapiro. To not impute to that tiny bit of tardiness a desire to be disrespectful or to derogate or whatever. Right? I try everyday to, when Morissett does something that seems to me to be inexplicable [audience laughs] to say, “gee, there must be a reason he's doing that. There must be a benign reason, a good reason.” And maybe it is that I don't know that, what the reasoning is. And not to impute at the outset or presume at the outset malignant intent, but to presume at the outset benign intent, is an important habit pattern, is an important life-posture, I believe, for all of us to cultivate. But whether you believe that or not is not the point. I charge you, the Strategic Planning Committee, to assume, please, a posture of presumption of benign intent during this debate and during the disagreements that will almost certainly follow whatever we do. In the strategic planning business, whatever you do, there's going to be disagreement. There are going to be those good people who say, “no, that's not what I think,” and that's alright. There's nothing wrong with that. But let us, please, assume a presupposition, if you will, of benign intent as we work together through this process. So these are my four sort of expansions, if you will, upon the charge. Let me run through them again. Number one, is an expansion that’s already in the original charge: make sure you hear from many different voices. Two, avoid premature closure. Three, do not fear disagreement. Cultivate it and try to corral the strength that may be derivative from it. And four, attempt to cultivate a position, a presupposition of benign intent. Now let me, in a few minutes I'm going to give you a brief overview of what it is that I wrote down as the straw-person, the straw-man document, that you requested. And then, when, after I do that, I’ll make some comments on some of the content of it. And this I thought was kind of a nice first page [referring to a PowerPoint slide], let’s sail through this really pretty briefly, because I really want to verbalize a couple of more comments at the end. Penny, do you want to hit the button there? We already have agreed upon a mission statement. This mission statement is an amalgam of the mission statement that formerly was the mission statement of the University of Toledo and the mission statement of what was formerly the Medical University of Ohio. I like this mission statement. I'm very proud of it. I'd like to underscore the word diverse. I'd like to underscore the word student-centered and I'd like to underscore the phrase research university. And several other phrases in that mission statement deserve emphasis and we've pretty well agreed that this, not pretty well, I think we have closed the issue, that this is in fact, our new mission statement. Next, Penny. And we have also closed on a set of core values for the institution. And I think that we have spoken to some of them this morning: professionalism; respect, I certainly believe are entirely consistent with some of my earlier comments; diversity, in all of its aspects, but diversity in terms of thoughts; and integrity, again speak to, or are aligned with, I believe, some of my earlier comments. Then I want to call to your attention particularly the word “engagement.” We need to engage this process of thinking our future. If we ignore it or skulk in the bushes and throw things from the sidelines, we are not engaging. We are not living out the values to which we have committed one another. So if you have an opinion, call your representative on the Strategic Planning Committee, call your dean, call me. Get your voice heard. Become a part of this process as opposed to a bystander to this process, please. Next one, Penny. And then we've spoken a fair amount of these principles and I actually spoke to one of them. I believe, I believe to my core, that we have to focus more sharply. An institution like ours will not be successful in striving for excellence if we don't think very carefully about what it is we need to focus on, recognize that we cannot be all things to all people, and don't spread ourselves too, thin. Institutions like ours are frequently, flounder on the attempt to or the temptation to spread ourselves too, thin. It's about people and, then, we belong to this community. We are here for this community. We exist in it and we are of it and I want to be certain that we keep that in mind as we go through this process. So, the, we need to choose, I believe, we choose, together we choose a direction. We choose a vision of that which we would like to see enacted, that which we would like to see actualized in the future. This is a matter of conscious choice. And I think that as a straw . . . I'll turn around so you can get it [a picture]. I'm teasing you [laughs]. I'm going to stand this way for a minute. I think that we should consider a vision of the University of Toledo to become a science and technology oriented undergraduate professional university with multiple, well articulated ranked professional colleges in a university noted for research excellence. Now the truth of the matter is I don't think we are very far from that at all. We currently have multiple professional colleges. Indeed, we have more, greater breadth of professional colleges than all but about sixteen or so in the country. We currently have a body of undergraduates, well over half of whom are interested in ultimate career of matriculation in a professional college. This vision is not foreign to us. It is fairly reflective of what we already are. Better rankings, more ranked professional colleges and so forth, those are goals, stretch goals, but in terms of what we currently are, this is fairly close. But as I say, and I've just underscored multiple times and I'll stop harping on it, this is a response to your request for a straw-man document and I'm interested in your reacting to this and I am, will insist that all of us, all of the various constituencies engage in this discussion. Penny. And then in this document there are five statements about what we might want to be by the year 2016. In other words, ten years from now. What should be a ten year set of goals for this institution? Now those of you who had the opportunity to look at this document will note that there are a bunch underneath each one of these, a bunch of interval, five-year goals. But here are some ten year goals. And I'll take a minute to go through them if you don't mind. By 2016 our academic programs and outcomes will be regionally and nationally recognized for excellence, consumer driven, science and technology based. You catch the phrase, "and science and technology based." We'll be recognized, regionally, nationally and locally as a career- focused, science, technology professionally based university. Number two, three. A positive force and resource in the revolution of our country's health care system. And those of you who have heard me on other occasions recognize that I believe that the country's health care system is going to undergo a meltdown in the next four, five, or six years. And I want for us to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem in that regard. We'll be recognized as a moving force in the rejuvenation of the economy of northwest Ohio. I think that our being in the community, of the community, for the community here is best carried out by our connecting with and attempting to work for a rejuvenation of the economy of northwest Ohio. And then finally, we'll be recognized as a leader in a few, I say three, thematic areas of relevant research and some of you know what they might be. Here you may wish, members of the Strategic Planning Committee, to consult Frank Calzonetti or the Research Council. But in general, the environment, its impact on health and wellbeing; two, alternative energy sources and its impact on transportation; and three, cell signaling and its impact on human health, I believe, are areas that we already have significant strength currently, areas upon which we can build, areas where most people will see the future as being under rapid development and serving important needs of our society. And so whatever we choose as research themes, I believe we need to focus very sharply and not sort of be all over the place, which at least MUO had a sort of tendency to be in the past. We need to focus very sharply and develop, if we can, programs that will receive and deserve to receive national recognition in these areas. Now why don't you shut that off, would you Penny? And I won't be very much longer. This proposal, this straw-man that I have, by their request, delivered now to the Strategic Planning Committee has obviously got a heavier emphasis on science and technology than what our history could be described as. This is a choice of moving in a particular direction of emphasis, namely towards science and technology. There’s a number of reasons for that. I believe we already are there. I believe that connects most clearly to the, our, my belief that we need to be involved in economic growth, and so forth. And I want to talk just a little bit about that balance between science and technology and broader, the university that attempts to focus, perhaps, on the arts, the humanities, and political science or history, and so on. I want to just talk about that briefly. There is federal legislation underway or under consideration for dollars, federal dollars to be focused, or an increased focus on what people have come to call "STEM disciplines." S-T-E-M, and in some parlances, "S-T-E-M squared", S-T-E-M for science, technology, engineering, and math. S-T-E-M squared for science engineering, science technology, engineering, math and medicine; medicine in its broadest context. Federal legislation, there is tremendous activity at the state level in support of movement in this direction, a call for the need for movement in this direction. The Governor's Commission on Higher Education and the Economy calls for emphasis in those disciplines although it doesn't use the acronym STEM. The Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy, currently meeting regularly in Columbus, has a strong commitment to and a strong call for strengthening these disciplines in the state of Ohio. Currently, the Regents of the state of Ohio as well as the legislature of the state of Ohio is contemplating a, attempting to formulate a contract with higher education to focus on STEM disciplines. The state of Ohio purposes to move as much as 15% of the current budget into the STEM disciplines over the next couple of years. And we need to react to this. We cannot say with any reason and be reasonable people, “gee, we don't want to do that. We don't want to consider that. We don't want to think about it.” If this is not our future, fine, let's have that dialogue, let's get there. But to propose that we emphasize science and technology and professional schools as a central area of emphasis in our great university is entirely consistent with a movement that is, as I say, happening in Washington, happening in Columbus, happening in other state capitals, and is widely believed to be the most important direction, the most important corrective to the current economic woes of Ohio and some of the other states. We must engage this discussion in a responsible way, not a reactive way, but in a responsible way. And again, Strategic Planning Committee members I implore that you engage this discussion in a responsible way. What then about the role of the arts, and literature, and humanities, and even political science in an institution or a culture that chooses to emphasize science and technology, engineering and medicine squared, if you will. What then is the meaning of what happens to the arts and the humanities and literature? Well in the first place, there is no suggestion or no necessity, there may be a suggestion, we may choose, but I don't think it's necessary, that those disciplines be delegated in any way or that they be closed up or shipped out. Indeed, I think the contrary is true. And if you step back and think for a few minutes about whether the role of the teaching of those disciplines in a great university, first, there is the teaching and training of the teachers of those disciplines. We need to continue that, obviously. We cannot lose these tremendously important pieces of human culture. Secondly, there is the need to produce a reasonable number of artists and symphony musicians and so forth and I think we need, just as we talk about market driven class sizing in the College of Pharmacy, we need to think about what the market is for these particular careers and how we should size toward that market. Thirdly, the function of a great university's programs in these areas provide a sort of a re-creation a recreation, if you will, and that's important and we have to think about the degree to which we can serve that particular role. And then finally, finally, there's a function for those disciplines, the arts and literature, and humanities, and political science, and so forth, a role that I have been particularly interested in and have been thinking about a fair amount and that’s this, that they contextualize human life. They are foundational or can be foundational for our culture. I said to the Law School at the outset of their hundredth year a few days ago, a couple of weeks ago, that the creation of laws is foundational; it creates society. It's no accident that some of the world's oldest writings are laws. It's no accident that some of the world's oldest writings say do justice, do justice. And that’s not an accident because laws create society. Art creates a context for scientists to live in. Medicine has figured this out over the last several years, to their detriment, and pain, frankly, for when I was in medical school it was science, science, science and scientific medicine and now, to our shame, those of us with medical backgrounds have come to realize that we have not done enough in the humanities and we have produced a group of physicians who have lost sight of the human contact and the human condition. And we are now engaged, Jeff Gold and others, are engaged, and Joe Shapiro are engaged in sort of a corrective to that swinging of the pendulum. So our need to think about this, now I've phrased this in this straw-man strategic plan, I've phrased it that we need to figure out how to use the arts and literature as the context for what it is to be a human being. A scientist is a human being. And the scientist needs to connect to the foundational elements in our culture just as certainly as does an artist or a musician. And we need to think, if we want to be great in science, how we will teach the context of what it is to be a human being. The context of what it is to be a scientist like Teller, or Einstein who worries about the human implications of what their science tells them. And if we can't engage that discussion in a respectful way that strengthens this university then we have failed and we must do that. And Strategic Planning Committee members, that's your charge. To begin that discussion, that debate, in a way that strengthens this university. So I appreciate your coming here so early. I want to go back and once again to the Strategic Planning Committee members say thank you for your time, for your effort, for your intellect, and particularly my thanks to folks from the community who don't have to this, I suppose none of you have to do this, but some of you, in fact, are being paid to do it. Lillian Walsh is not being paid to do it, and John Szuch is not being paid to do it and so I particularly, and others, Steve Weathers . . . If you start down this road of picking out names, you get in trouble every time. I would like particularly to thank those of you who are here to carry out an altruistic community commitment to this institution by serving on this committee. So what I've tried to do is meet your challenge to say, okay, here's a straw-person, debate it, think about. I've wanted to expand the charge to the Strategic Planning Committee a little bit by speaking of the need to assume the position, the presupposition of benign intent; to avoid premature closure; to get adequate stakeholder input; and ultimately to state what I believe is a reasonable direction. It would be disingenuous of me if I said I worked on this document for roughly ten or twelve hours but I don't believe in it. It's just a straw-person. I do believe in it, okay? But just because I believe in it, doesn't bring it to closure. You now need to take it and decide whether this is the direction for this university and so advise me. So, thanks for your time, thanks for your being here. Visitors, thanks for listening and Tom, I will turn it back over to you as chairperson of this committee.