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Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

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Pam Benoit

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Provost Matters: Strategic Planning

Provost shares the guiding principles for future


Over the course of the past academic quarter, University leaders have discussed how to revise our approach to strategic planning in light of the changing circumstances that face our institution and how to ensure that this new approach will inform the next stage of our multi-year budgeting process. We have devised a set of principles to guide our budgeting process that are based on a refined set of priorities that will drive our strategic planning over the next six years. 

As a result of work done across the University in AY 2009-2010, we now have devised a 4 x 4 approach to strategic planning that should allow us to make significant progress by 2016 on our overall university vision of becoming the nation’s best transformative learning community. 

The Four Fundamentals
At the heart of this new vision are core academic and co-curricular activities and programs that are essential to creating and sustaining an exceptional student experience. Those core activities and programs are encompassed in the Four Fundamentals. The Four Fundamentals, which individually and collectively enhance the student experience, are as follows:

  1. Inspired teaching and research dedicated to students’ academic success and focused on the connections between student learning and the advancement of knowledge and creative activity.
  2. Innovative academic programs that draw on the best traditions and practices in liberal arts, professional, and interdisciplinary education.
  3. Exemplary student support services committed to helping students fulfill their academic promise.
  4. Integrated co-curricular activities that foster a diverse environment of respect and inclusivity and facilitate students’ development as citizens and leaders.

Given that there are many potentially worthy activities and programs and a finite set of resources, it is our responsibility to select those activities and programs that best suit this institution’s distinguished history and our new vision. Whenever we invest time, talent, and treasure in a pursuit, it must be one that clearly contributes to our students’ intellectual growth and personal development.   

The Four Supporting Priorities
We have redefined our strategic priorities so that we can align our resources in ways that will facilitate progress on the Four Fundamentals. As we move forward with our strategic planning and budget process we must maintain our focus on the following four supporting priorities:

  1. Set and meet long-term and short-term enrollment goals.
  2. Improve our financial strength.
  3. Complete our capital campaign.
  4. Establish effective total compensation for faculty and staff.

The Four Fundamentals and the four supporting priorities are inextricably linked in that we can continue to make progress on the former only by making sure that we reach our enrollment goals, bolster our financial standing, succeed with our capital campaign, and retain our extraordinary faculty and staff by creating effective total compensation plans.

In conclusion, it is important to note that all of our efforts toward becoming the nation’s best transformative learning community are to a great degree bound up with Ohio University’s history of educational excellence.  At one of the open forums held in conjunction with the University Environmental Scan, the comment was made that it was important for us to “stick to our knitting.” The intellectual and personal development of our students is our knitting and we plan to cast on and stick to it.