Outlook: Ohio University News and Information
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
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Background: Past, present and future

Where we've been

The Presidential Task Force on the Future of Ohio University began laying the groundwork for the university?s academic plan in November 2004. The 46-person group, led by Provost Kathy Krendl, drafted the university?s mission statement, its aspirations for the future and guiding principles.

After presenting the draft of those elements to the university and Athens communities in public forums, the task force created a full draft of an academic planning document in spring 2005. Titled Vision OHIO, it described goals such as enhancing Ohio University?s ability to engage students in interdisciplinary activities and promoting diversity, partnerships and research. The draft also described how a new budget process would align Ohio University?s resources with institutional goals set forth by the new academic plan.

Between June and October 2005, the Presidential Task Force invited feedback on the draft. It used an online message board and scheduled public forums in the summer to address questions and discuss the plan. Krendl met in the fall with academic schools and departments; the Classified, Administrative and Student senates; campus organizations; classes; and regional campus faculty and staff. During this period, she met with more than 600 people.

Discussions held during those months focused on ways in which each academic program and planning unit would contribute to the goals of Vision OHIO. Krendl also used the meetings to respond to questions about the planning document and to identify strategies for realizing goals and addressing challenges.

As the draft of Vision OHIO neared completion, colleges and departments began work on their own academic plans, which were to align with the goals of university?s academic plan and were due in May.

Based on feedback from the university community, the task force incorporated changes into the Vision OHIO document, and in January 2006, the current academic planning document was posted on the Provost?s Web site. (Vision OHIO is a living document - which means the university will come back to the plan over the next five years and modify it based on changing goals and needs - which is why the completed version is referred to as ?current? rather than ?final.?)

Momentum was provided in December when Krendl released $1.5 million in one-time funds to jump-start programs that meet the goals of Vision OHIO. Examples include funding to increase minority recruitment by the Russ College of Engineering (to help meet diversity goals) and an allocation for an interdisciplinary stream restoration project (to enhance collaboration among departments and extend the university?s reach in the region). Specific measures of success will be used to assess all such initiatives, Krendl said.

The university formally rolled out its strategic plan at the first Vision OHIO Convocation in January 2006. The convocation will become an annual event that serves to remind the university community of its core values, report on assessment of progress to date, reaffirm ambitions for the future and celebrate academic excellence.

Where we are now

As work on the goals of the Vision OHIO document wrapped up, Krendl initiated the implementation phase of the academic planning process. Working with the leadership of constituent groups and planning units, she appointed 10 teams that were charged with creating action plans. These teams prioritized initiatives they thought were necessary to help meet the university?s goals. The implementation teams also developed methods to be used in measuring progress toward goals that have been set (known as accountability measures, colleges and departments also developed them). The teams included about 250 university representatives.

The implementation teams ? each of which was assigned a topic, such as graduate priorities or research and creative activity ? received feedback on their emerging action plans in May 2006, when more than 130 participants from across the university gathered for the Vision OHIO Action Symposium. Event participants worked in small groups to assess each plan?s potential, and their feedback was discussed during the symposium and distributed in writing to the teams.

In June, the implementation teams turned in their action plans to  the executive implementation team composed of the chairs and co-chairs of all 10 teams. This group reviewed and consolidated the recommendations. From a list of about 80 proposals, the group identified three top priorities: investing in undergraduate education, investing in graduate education and research, and investing in the faculty, with specific plans for diversity and interdisciplinary initiatives integrated into these priority areas.

The executive implementation team will finish its work in September by identifying additional priority initiatives that require further consideration for possible reinvestment funding. Those items will be forwarded to the deans and the Budget Planning Council for consideration.

Where we?re headed

The provost plans to call the campus together for a Vision OHIO Convocation in February to review progress and look at next steps.

Vision OHIO is a living document and for that reason the academic planning process will not cease. After the plan is put into effect, Krendl will announce details about periodic formal reviews of progress toward goals based on analyses of the quality measures set forth during the planning process.

Look for more updates on Outlook as the academic planning process continues. Visit the Vision OHIO Web site at ohio.edu/vision for more information, including the master planning document and details about action steps.
Published: Sep 5, 2006 5:15:50 PM
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