I would like to update you regarding the progress being made in strategic planning. The unit-based phase of strategic planning began in November as members of every department and unit throughout the university participated in strategic planning workshops. This semester, many departments have begun environmental scanning and SWOT analyses. All departments now are using the revised “Annual Review and Planning Report,” that replaces previous annual report formats. I am grateful for your efforts with this process and I encourage you to contact Rosemary Miklitsch should you need any assistance with this.

Strategic Planning Implementation Funds

In March, the vice presidents and I made available a limited pool of funds to assist with the beginning stages of planning. The following departments, schools and divisions applied for and were awarded grants of up to $2,000 per project:

Computing and Communication Services

  1. SWOT analysis of the UST Web site.
  2. Identify best practices to support faculty integration of technology in teaching.

School of Education
Identify areas to develop, refine or eliminate through the use of focus groups.

Engineering and Technology Management

  1. Identify best practices in structuring systems for improving organizational performance.
  2. Scanning of the partnership between industry leaders and UST.

Instructional Support Services

  1. Identify best practices in serving all users of Center for Multimedia Development.
  2. Scanning to identify best practices to offer fully online accredited courses and programs.
  3. Scanning of best practices in online course design and delivery methodologies.

Journalism and Mass Communication
PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) analysis to study the feasibility of a School of Communication Studies.

Scanning of best practices in curriculum, outreach/service learning and faculty support within the discipline.

Scanning including demographic analysis and best practices in the discipline.

School of Social Work
Scanning of best practices in the discipline through benchmarking.

Student Affairs
Identify best practices in student affairs assessment through benchmarking.

University Relations

  1. Identify desires and expectations of the St. Thomas magazine readership.
  2. Training in cataloguing and distribution of university digital assets.
  3. Best practices of online/Web-based/electronic services for alumni.

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee

With unit-based planning well underway, I am pleased to report that the Strategic Planning Steering Committee has completed its mission. The steering committee began meeting March 1, 1999, with the charge to develop a planning process. This has been accomplished. The steering committee worked intensively throughout the past two years. On behalf of the university, I would like to thank these students, faculty and staff for their work and the valuable contribution they have made to St. Thomas:

Jerry Anderley, Ron Bennett, Linda Halverson, John Kemper, Nancy McGrath, Jon Merchant, Rosemary Miklitsch, Peter Parilla, Kris Ragozzino, Alan Sickbert, Colleen Striegel, Miriam Williams, Nancy Zingale and Nicole Zweig.

The steering committee received feedback and advice from a group of internal consultants and I would also like to thank them for sharing their expertise:

Randy Carlock, Michael Evers, Tom Holloran, Mitch Kusy, Richard Rexeisen and Fred Zimmerman.

Unit-based planning

I have recently completed meetings with each vice president regarding unit-based planning and activities within his or her division that are in support of the strategic directions. Unit-based strategic planning for this academic year will culminate with the submission of the Annual Review and Planning Report from every department. Along with the report, departments have the option of submitting Strategic Initiative Proposals (SIPs). The vice presidents and I will review these Annual Reports and SIPs at our summer retreat in mid-August. A goal of this retreat is to prioritize the SIPs and move as many as possible forward to the “Action Plan” development stage, based on university priorities and budget parameters. (For detailed information about this phase of the planning process, please visit the strategic planning Web site.

Looking ahead to next fall

Work will continue during the summer months, particularly regarding the Strategic Directions. By the beginning of the fall semester, I anticipate that significant steps will be completed or well underway toward the implementation of the eight strategic directions and I will have a full report for the community at that time. An update on unit-based planning, strategic directions and the full strategic planning process will be presented to the board of trustees at its annual planning meeting on Sept. 20.

In early September the formation of committees for the purpose of undertaking a university wide self-study will begin. The self-study is a two-year process of review, assessment and planning in preparation for seeking continuing accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The University of St. Thomas is scheduled for an evaluation visit during the 2003-04 academic year. One goal of both the self-study and ongoing strategic planning is that these two efforts be part of the same process. As the Strategic Planning Steering Committee developed the planning process, the self-study was anticipated. I am confident that strategic planning and the self-study will complement each other.

Ongoing strategic planning during the fall semester will include a second phase of unit-based planning workshops. These workshops will focus on incorporating evaluation and assessment into ongoing strategic planning. Additionally, my o
ffice and the office of Institutional Research and Planning will invite your feedback on the first year of unit-based planning for the purpose of refining and improving the planning process.

Once again, I would like to thank you for your participation and planning efforts. I look forward to our continued progress.

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