"Saint Mary s University of Minnesota Strategic Planning Status Report"
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Strategic Planning Status Report to the Board of Trustees May 2007 Reporting on Academic Year 2006-2007 Academic year 2006-2007 is the fifth year of implementation of the Strategic Plan, Teaching Minds, Touching Hearts, approved by the Board of Trustees in May 2002. Each May, the Plan requires an update on its implementation for the Board, documenting progress on the strategic themes of the Plan. The Strategic Plan identified six strategic themes which set the context for university operations. These themes, and the fourteen directional strategies which emerged from the themes, guided the development of operational plans. The first Operational Plan 2002-2006 was archived in May 2006. The new Operational Plan 2006-2009 is in its first year of implementation. As mandated in the Strategic Plan, the Cabinet has continued to lead the planning agenda for the university. At its annual retreat on May 24 & 25, 2006, the vice presidents reviewed each of the six strategic themes of the Plan, examined briefly the implementation of the 2002-2006 Operational Plan, and affirmed both the Strategic Plan and the operational planning process as valuable in establishing and implementing university agenda. The Cabinet affirmed the Top 20 by 2012 challenge put forth by Br. Craig as the primary goal around which to build much of the next operational plan. It also decided to revise the planning template to include measures and identification of resources to accomplish initiatives, in order to connect planning and budgeting processes in a more meaningful way. For its own use, the Cabinet also identified several broad “tactical” initiatives under each strategic theme, to provide guidance for its own consideration of priorities for university operations. These included the Top 20 by 2012 agenda; development of a plan to address compensation issues; attention to improved internal communication strategies and enhanced functionality and capability of the university website; alignment of planning, budgeting, and evaluation processes and practices; cultivation of international partnerships; increased enrollment in all university programs; and attention to the proposed capital campaign, among others. These initiatives have found their way into the Operational Plan 2006-2009. Constituencies at the university began developing content of the new operational plan during academic year 2005-2006, in conversations organized by area vice presidents. These conversations continued over the summer of 2006, and the plan was completed in the fall. The plan is posted on the Institutional Evaluation and Planning website, accessible on-line through the “institutional planning” link on the Provost’s webpage. During academic year 2006-2007, implementation of the Operational Plan 2006-2009 has occurred under the direction of area vice presidents. The plans have been updated as necessary, and in May 2007, each vice president will formally review his/her portion of the Operational Plan 2006-2009 to make appropriate revisions based on evolving circumstances and to indicate those activities that are already complete. Institutional planning has been impacted this year by the processes involving the Institutional Self-Study for Reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. The Self-Study document and the Report of a Comprehensive Visit, written by the team of consultant/evaluators which visited the university in October 2006, affirmed both the Strategic Plan and the operational planning process undertaken by the staff and faculty in recent years, but also offered areas for focused improvement. These recommendations for improvement either have already been included in the Operational Plan 2006-2009 or will be considered for inclusion. In its Report of a Comprehensive Visit, the team of consultant/evaluators from the Higher Learning Commission recognized the efforts which have gone into planning at the university under the current Strategic Plan. The Team wrote: “Strategic planning at the university is evident and is tied to its vision of being recognized as one of the top 20 teaching institutions of higher education in the country by the year of the University’s centennial, 2012. This vision, referred to as the Top 20 by 2012 Initiative, focuses on strategic planning themes and the operational planning efforts and clearly drives discussion regarding the institution’s preparation for the future.” “The strategic initiatives and formal strategic plan, Teaching Minds, Touching Hearts, is largely centered on six themes while the operational planning process provides specific goals and objectives for the university. The planning documents available and reviewed on the campus support the Self Study’s contention that the university “practices adaptive planning in which it pursues pragmatic growth and expansion in areas in which it has expertise and where new opportunities exist for fulfillment of its mission”.” At the same time, the Evaluation Team pointed out areas in planning which need organizational attention. These included continued refinement of and more formal linkages between planning and budgeting processes, increased attention to use of data in decision-making, and a need for greater internal awareness of university-wide operational planning. The Self-Study Oversight Committee, composed of five members of the professional staff who were engaged in the self-study process, was created to help prioritize the recommendations from the Self-Study and the Review Team. In March 2007, they identified and prioritized five of what they considered the most immediate concerns of the SMU community and the HLC Evaluation Team: increasing linkages among budgeting, planning, and decision-making; reorganization and improvement of the human resources function at the university; continuing attention to compensation issues; development of an overall vision for the library of the future; and attention to the website. These concerns have been communicated to the Cabinet, which will include them in its discussion and review of the Operational Plan 2006-2009 at its May 2007 planning retreat. Operational planning has also been impacted this year by the unexpected transition in presidential leadership. Br. Louis, who assumed the duties of president in February 2007, affirmed the continued relevance of the Strategic Plan, Teaching Minds, Touching Hearts, which was originally developed under his leadership in 2002. As the Operational Plan 2006-2009 is reviewed and updated by area vice presidents, the new and/or reaffirmed operational initiatives of Br. Louis will be placed appropriately in the plan.