Chancellor’s Forum, September 2010 – Strategic Planning

Chancellor’s Forum, September 2010 – Strategic Planning


Chancellor Forum Strategic Planning Welcome to the Chancellor’s Forum. I am
Randy Woodson, I’m your Chancellor. This is really an attempt on my part and others
to do a better job of keeping the line of communication open among all the constituent
groups here at NC State. Students, Faculty, staff and so it is a great opportunity for
us to keep each other informed. So I hope we have a number of these over the course
of the year and in the coming years. And today really there are a couple of goals. The first
is for me to spend a little time as your new Chancellor talking about some of my early
observations after being here for five months and I am excited to do that. And then to turn
the podium over to Provost Warrick Arden to talk about the strategic planning process
which is just getting launched. Before I get started, I want to say a few
kudos. You know being a father of three college, children that have gone to college, various
colleges and moved a number of students into colleges over the years, I want to say that
this university through Tom Stafford’s leadership and his colleagues in student affairs does
a great job to help our students get into the residence halls and get acclimated to
campus. I was actually blown away by the organization. As I walked around campus and watched this,
a parent would pull up in their SUV with all their kids stuff and as soon as they opened
the door they would just be swarmed by all of these students with red shirts to help
move them away. And they would unload the car and get it all up into the residence halls.
Then the parents were standing there like well what do I do, I mean I came here to be
with Johnny and you’ve taken him away. But it really is a testament to the way we feel
about our students. I was very, very impressed. Another big change that occurred over the
summer that I think you know about is we hired a new Athletic Director. Debbie Yow is doing
a fantastic job and I think she is solely responsible for an undefeated football team.
Okay I am sure that is not the case. But it is great to see our student athletes engage
both in the classroom and on the field. And I will talk a little bit more about it in
later meetings. But what I am so impressed by is Debbie’s commitment to help our student
athlete’s succeed here as student’s in addition to succeed as athletes. If you have
not gotten to a volleyball game our Women volleyball team is eight and one I think that
is sort of unheard of so it is a great testament to what that team is doing. Soccer is up and
running. Tennis had a great weekend. So athletics is in great shape and I am very excited about
that future. We’ve got a Provost search ongoing I think
all of you know about that. Marjorie Overton the chair of the faculty senate is leading
the search and I know they are getting very close to identifying candidates that would
be invited to campus for visits. So hopefully we would get that position resolved in the
coming weeks and months. But certainly this semester and keep moving forward. Early observations and other Kudos. You know
it was kind of hot this summer for a guy moving here from Indiana. But I did grow up in Arkansas
so I have experienced heat and humidity. But our grounds people and our physical plant
staff do a terrific job getting this place ready for all the students to return. Kevin
Macnaughton and his colleagues have a great organization and I am very proud of what they
have done. So the staff here are terrific. We’ve got a world class faculty I see evidence
of that every day and it’s a great testament to the quality of the programs here. Just
today the Wall Street Journal came out with a new ranking. You know I’ve always said
that universities like NC State are much more highly ranked by the recruiters than they
are by the academicians and that was true. If you look at the recruiters ranking of the
national universities and NC State was ranked today by the national recruiters as the nineteenth
best university in the country which is a great testament. And if you are wondering
Chapel Hill was tied for twenty fifth, just in case you are wondering. But what that says
to me is that we do a lot of things right at NC State and what we particularly do right
is we prepare students as career ready employees. The recruiters love our product. We’ve got
some challenges in terms of being able to continue that high quality educational experience
given the budget challenges and we will talk a little bit more about that. But I think
it is a great testament and I am glad it came out now because as we are out on the recruiting
trail one of the things I will tell you. When the N & O asked me how do you feel about the
eighteen percent cap on out of state enrollment and I said I’d love to be there. Because
we are at about nine percent maybe even less about seven percent of our undergraduate enrollment
is from out of state. Now our priority is North Carolina without
a doubt. I mean this state funds higher education at a very high rate to keep it affordable
for North Carolinians. We have great students and we’ve got a lot of them, but I do believe
the educational environment at this university is enhanced by having students from around
the country. And so as we get about the business of telling students from all over the US that
this is one of the best ranked universities in terms of what the employers say about us
and it is without a doubt one of the best buys. In fact of those top twenty five universities
Chapel Hill and NC State have the lowest out of state tuition. So we are an incredible
educational buy and we just need to keep telling that story. I’ve met a lot of over the course of the
summer we’ve had alumni events all over North Carolina. I’ve visited, I told the
staff I wanted to go to all one hundred counties and they said you know stop smoking because
you are not going to get there in the first year you’re here. And so the alternative
strategy was for us to visit the seven economic development regions in the state which represents
all one hundred counties. I met with the boards of all of those economic development regions
and learned first hand the importance of NC State throughout the state of North Carolina,
and particularly the importance to the economy of this state. Our alumni and in fact not
even our alumni, what amazes me, I had lunch last week with a couple of friends of NC State
they are friends because they are both Chapel Hill graduates but their kids came to NC State
and they are just absolutely smitten with this university because of the way we treat
students. And it again it is a testament to the faculty and staff that we care about the
success of our students, help advise them and nurture them along the way. So it’s
we got a lot of great things going. Now we do have some challenges not the least
of which is a budget. This is the third year we have not been in a position to raise salaries.
That’s a challenge for us and I can tell you other state universities and other private
universities are taking advantage of that and they are working hard to recruit our faculty
and staff. So we have got to be attentive to this. It is particularly a challenge in
the state of North Carolina because we are one of just a few states that still remain
largely state supported. And what I mean by that is the largest single portion of our
budget is from the state of North Carolina, not from the students that pay tuition and
fees. That’s a great asset for the state. It’s very affordable but the challenge going
forward is when you are the only university left in the country that is largely state
supported when the state budgets are challenged, we’re challenged. And that’s why you saw
when the state couldn’t fund us this year, the third or the second or third year in a
row we had had budget challenges they offered the opportunity for the universities to raise
tuition to offset that budget cut. We chose to do so knowing that that would be difficult
for our students and we’ve tried to engage in that conversation with our students as
much as we could. It’s done a lot to bolster the budget and to ensure that we can offer
the class sections that are critical to keep students on track to graduate. And Provost
Arden and Charlie Leffler are working hard to get those resources out into the colleges
so that we can keep the university moving forward. But long term we’ve got a challenge.
And I have no doubt North Carolina continues to want to funder higher education and wants
to be the primary source of funding of higher education. But we’ve got a year, an upcoming
year in the legislature that is really going to test the will of the general assembly and
our ability to be responsive, because frankly the removal of the stimulus funding is going
to create quite a gap in funding for the state. So stay tuned, but I give Charlie Leffler
and others a lot of credit for preparing, and the Deans frankly, who took a significant
budgetary hit last year that have prepared us to go into this budget in a little better
shape frankly than many of the universities within the UNC system and certainly a lot
of universities around the country. So I have a lot of confidence that we are going to get
through this but it is going to be another challenging year. You know one of the things that I said early
on and it was a real driver in my decision to come here is NC State nationally is viewed
as one of the most innovative universities in the country. And an embodiment of that
is Centennial Campus and the way we do business on Centennial Campus. We celebrated that this
morning an example of that this morning with the entrepreneurship initiative under the
leadership of Tom Miller and others. And we launched the first phase of the garage project.
Which is a physical space to bring students together to be entrepreneurs and to develop
their ideas, turn them into products, and figure out how to create jobs more than take
jobs. And I think that’s what NC State does exceptionally well. And I want to keep the
university innovative. I want us to be as administrative lean as possible. To empower
the faculty and staff to do their job and to put as much resources as we can into the
academy and we’ll keep working on that. Terri Lomax and her colleagues in the research
office and Billy Houghteling and others are working really hard to make sure we continue
to be seen as one of the most innovative partners for the private sector in the state of North
Carolina and in the country and that is definitely true. We have some areas I think we can invest a
bit more in. In particular I think the life sciences is a real opportunity for NC State.
And we clearly have a lot of strength in the life sciences. They are distributed across
the university. But when you look forward over the course of the next century or at
least the first half of the century there is no doubt that biology is going to drive
a lot of technology because of our increased understanding of the genome and the implications
of that understanding. So I am excited to work with the Provost and others to think
about the best strategy for NC State to continue to be seen as a major player in the life sciences.
We don’t have to have a medical school to be a major contributor to biological sciences
and we are in fact a major contributor so that’s an area that I think has a lot of
potential. When you look at the grand challenges that
we face as a society, I mean water, climate, feeding a growing population, delivery of
health services to a growing population. All of these are challenges that have technological
issues embedded in them that we are very good at and have social implications for those
technological solutions that we are also very good at. So NC State being a university that’s
history is in the more technical fields of science but its future has a lot of potential
to grow in the social and behavioral sciences and humanities, well letters and humanities.
I see us as having, this is our time and we ought to take advantage of it and continue
to see what this university can mean to the state and the nation. Engagement is something that NC State has
historically done extremely well. Our land grant university background, extension, industrial
extension, I mean we are among the best in the US. But our willingness to partner with
the private sector in ways that frankly other universities are a little afraid to do is
something that I think we have a real opportunity to capitalize on. One example of it I think
many of you may have seen this, a few weeks ago the Triangle Business Journal did a survey
of all of the industries in RTP and said what’s the university that’s the most important
to your success? And by a long shot NC State led that survey. So the employers in the Triangle,
I’ll give you one example and I won’t say who because this is kind of a public meeting,
but a large employer in the Triangle said Randy I love your graduates from the college
of management. It is one of the best colleges of management in the country. The students
hit the ground running, they are outstanding students. I said I know it the college is
young and it doesn’t have the national reputation it deserves but it will have soon. He said
please don’t do that. Don’t enhance the reputation of the college. And I thought okay
what is driving this? He said I don’t want competition for the product. Well I want him
to have competition and our students, it is a great college and it is one example of that
here at the university. So we have a long history of partnering with the private sector.
It informs the educational mission of the university. It helps us to prepare students
that are attractive to recruiters like we just saw today in Wall Street Journal. So
we are doing a lot of those things very well. A couple of issues that we are going to have
to work through: Our faculty is not big enough for the size of the enrollment of the university.
We have grown the enrollment. We have enjoyed growing the enrollment because we have been
paid to grow the enrollment at least some years we have been paid by the state. But
that has caused us to be a little stressed in terms of delivering on our educational
mission. Classes are too large. We don’t have enough small classes. It has affected
our reputational ranking in US News and World Report. I am not a guy that will manage towards
rankings but those rankings do reveal challenges. And they tell us that over the last five or
ten years as we have grown enrollment we have crept up in the size of our classes, we haven’t
been able to keep class sizes small enough and that does affect the educational delivery
here at NC State. So it is something we have to pay a bit of attention to. Our student to faculty ratio is not so out
of line with our peers but it is in certain areas, particularly the high growth areas.
And it is something that I know if Damian Shea were sitting here and he may be and he
is going to jump up I can’t believe the Chancellor said it. But you know biology;
we have twenty three hundred undergraduates studying biology at NC State. And we’ve
just got to pay attention to the distribution of our students, the distribution of the research
opportunities and where we have opportunities to grow our faculty. We have to figure out
how to pay for it. But I’m excited to think through those things. The other thing that I think is critical to
the success of NC State going forward is to grow the endowment. Now our endowment is one
of the smallest in our peer group. And at four hundred and fifty million dollars it
should be above a billion dollars. And it is something that, it’s tough for a Chancellor
to make it a priority because it is investing in our future. But it is important to this
institution that we invest in the future and twenty five years from now we need to have
one of the leading endowments in our peer group so that these budgetary waves that we
tend to ride will be a little more tempered. And so Nevin Kessler and the Deans and the
development officers in each of the colleges are working hard to develop a strategy to
grow our endowment with our future capital campaign. And we just need to keep telling
the story to get people to invest in the university. We have opportunities to grow our research
that comes with growth in faculty and staff but it is something that we’ve got to pay
attention to. I’ve touched on rankings a little bit. I’m
not going to harp on this but I don’t think any of us were excited to see NC State drop
out of the top one hundred in US News and World Report. It is not who we are. It doesn’t
reflect the quality of the institution. It doesn’t reflect the quality of the faculty
and the students and it is something that we have got to pay attention to. Now you can
ask why did that happen? There are a couple of reasons potentially. Actually our reputational
ranking didn’t change it hasn’t changed in fact in the last ten years. We have been
steady with regard to the way President’s, Chancellor’s, and Provosts and Deans of
Admission think of us. But they added a new one this year. They asked high school counselors
around the country what do you think of NC State? They don’t know us. They don’t
know us because we don’t enroll students from across the country. Now they need to
know us. Not because we need to grow our out of state enrollment necessarily but because
this is an incredible educational buy. Well I’ve beat that horse, it’s dead. Can I
say that in front of vet, oh I’m sorry. The other areas that we’ve been compromised
in relative to our peers is those that reflect the educational atmosphere and what I mean
by that is class size. The number of classes under twenty, the number of classes over fifty,
are going in the wrong direction for us and its something we have to pay a bit of attention
to. That’s money but we do have to think through it. Another area that Nevin’s on top of is we
slipped, although it is a small part of the ranking, but we slipped in terms of the percentage
of our alumni that give back to the university. We actually probably didn’t dramatically
slip we just are actually counting things a little more accurately right now, is that
fair to say Nevin? I come on we’ve got to be transparent here, yes sir. So we need to
work on this and convince our colleagues and people that love NC State and there are a
lot that do love us to help us build a world class university with their contributions.
Good news Bennie Suggs is here and he is on top of it. The alumni association membership
is up five percent, ten percent, what, five point five. I don’t know how you do the
point. Five point five. I guess that is Morse code. So alumni membership is up, we’ve
got people excited about NC State. Everywhere I go people are energized about the future
of this institution and we are going to keep working hard at it. Now we are going to do some strategic planning.
Okay, look I was as cynical as all of you as a faculty member about strategic planning,
but this is God’s work. I am a convert to believing that if you clearly articulate measurable
goals and you keep track of those goals year end and year out people will respond. So this
isn’t about creating a plan that sits on a shelf. This really is about creating a plan
that has measurable outcomes, sets lofty goals, holds people accountable for those goals across
the university and we set out to build on what is already a world class university.
It’s a big process and that’s because we have a lot of folks. And I’m not interested
in having a plan that’s created in the back room of Holiday Hall with a few of us. So
I am interested in having a process that engages the campus community and it’s going to do
that. And at the end of the day I hope you will all partake of and participate in some
of the sessions that are held by the various task forces, because at the end of this academic
year, before the end of this academic year, I expect us to really clearly be articulating
where NC State is headed and there won’t be huge surprises there except to say that
you can count on me working with the others in Holiday Hall to deliver the resources against
that plan. And to resource the plan in a way that allows the university to meet its targeted
goals. And there are some areas we’ve got to be stronger in. Graduate education is one.
This is a research intensive university in case you all hadn’t noticed. And one of
the ways that that benefits the country is that we are heavily engaged in training at
the highest level the workforce for the future. And NC State has the capacity and the intellectual
capacity to be one of the largest producers of PhD’s and other graduate degrees in the
country. And now that’s not to say, and we already are one of the best and largest
producers of baccalaureate degrees in the country. So with that you may have an ultimate, just
an overwhelming desire to ask your Chancellor something. And we can do a little bit of questions
now but I am going to stay here throughout and we will definitely have time at the end
to have overarching questions. So if it can wait we’ll do it at the end but if there
is some dying question now that I’ve said something that has stimulated your thought
process and you need to ask me something before Provost Arden comes up. Any questions for
me right now? Yes. Question from audience member:
Yes, a few weeks ago a fence was erected in the Lake Raleigh Woods Nature Preserve which
is protected by both student and faculty senate resolutions. This is surrounding your new
residence. Chancellor Woodson:
It’s not my new residence. Audience member:
Oh excuse me, the new Chancellor’s Residence. And it seems that they have a plan to destroy
this part of the nature preserve and put in a thing called the point. And I’m just quite
concerned about this as an alum. And I’d like to get your feelings on this and what
it makes NC State look like in the world and our dedication to sustainability that we are
destroying one of our greatest natural resources here. And that’s it. Chancellor:
Well I can tell you from my perspective the overarching theme for that project is to do
everything possible to preserve the natural resources. In fact the landscape will be entirely
sustainable and there is an effort to make it one of the most green facilities on this
campus. With regards to the fence I suspect that is more about the construction, but I’ll
ask Charlie if he knows. I don’t know about the fence. It is a fence that is intended to keep the
deer out frankly as well as construction protection. You may recall that the original map (unintelligible)…
we backed away from that with the exception of the residence site the residence site was
never part of the reserve. Audience member:
Right that was the compromise to get the resolutions passed was that the Chancellor’s Residence
would be able to be located there. That was the compromise. Chancellor:
I’m not aware of any change to the… Audience member:
Yeah I’m just asking about the point of the Point. Kind of. Chancellor:
The point of the Point? Why build it? Audience member:
If it is going to be sustainable, why are we taking out a nature preserve to prove our
sustainability? Chancellor:
Look I wasn’t here when this, I don’t know about the resolutions. I’m not sure
what the resolutions were that you are referring to. But apparently there was an agreement
that that track of land would be used for a new Chancellor’s Residence. Is that true? Audience member:
Yes that was the compromise to get the resolutions passed was that the Chancellor’s Residence
would be located there in an additional area. Chancellor:
Do you feel that we are going against that resolution now? Audience member:
This is, yes, yes I do. Yes very strongly I do. That this new area that is being usurped
or taken over is the nature preserve. This is so important. This is one of the most beautiful
habitats in all of the Piedmont. I have lived here my entire life. I went to pre-school
on Avent Ferry. I went to college here. I went to high school here. I have lived here
for all my life. This is the most beautiful land and nature preserve in the entire Piedmont.
We should be holding this up and showing everyone how great NC State is for preserving this,
not taking it piece by piece by piece and waiting for people to move on until we forget
about it and then eventually it will be gone. Chancellor:
Well my impression is that we are working hard to preserve a fair amount of that area
and I don’t know about the original agreements that led to the project except to say that
in the course of running this university and trying to build on the success of this university
Chancellor’s Residence is a big part of the fundraising activity of NC State. And
so I am sure that that was some of the decisions that went into building that. And apparently
there were resolutions that at least approved of that process. So I don’t see us backing
away. In fact one of the things that I have been amazed by is the willingness to put into
that project very expensive technologies and processes to insure that the habitat is least
impacted as possible. The parking areas for example will be entirely infiltrated, allow
infiltration of water. It is going to be one of the greenest buildings we have on campus
for sure with geothermal heating. So you know there’s a lot of attempts to put in place
technologies that will actually speak to the need to preserve our natural surroundings.
Audience member: Thank you I hope we can keep up those motives. Chancellor:
Okay. Provost Arden. Provost Arden:
Thanks folks. Good afternoon everyone. And thank you Chancellor. And just a quick comment,
to those of you who haven’t been to the renovated Thompson Hall before I strongly
encourage you to come and see one of our student performances in this or the other theaters
they’re truly remarkable as students who do a phenomenal job. So this is a great facility
and I really recommend that you take advantage of it. It’s my pleasure this afternoon to
talk briefly about strategic planning. And what I’m going to do is walk us through
very quickly the strategic planning process as it’s played out over the summer and then
talk a little bit about the task forces as they are just being formed now. And as you’ll
see it’s a fairly rigorous agenda to make sure that we get through everything that we
need to get through in the next year. But I personally consider it to be an extremely
important part of what we have to accomplish this year.
The Chancellor has said that he is a relatively recent convert to strategic planning. I’m
also a fairly recent convert for perhaps slightly different reasons. Having been on this campus
for about six years now, five years as a dean and about a year in this position, I can tell
you that I so frequently would like to have a more precise roadmap of where we’re going
as an institution and a way to guide some of the decisions that we have to make if we
go in terms of our investments and where we’re headed. And so I’m really excited about
this process. I think as the Chancellor has said that if we can develop a really good
strategic plan which is both a combination of being both aspirational on one side and
a clear roadmap with metrics on the other side then we’ll have accomplished something
very very significant for this university. So, I’m very excited about the process.
We began the process this summer back in June. And the Chancellor lost the strategic planning
initiative. He asked myself and Margery Overton, the chair of the faculty, to lead the process.
We’re very pleased to do so. We began by having a planning team. And on that team were,
in addition to Margery and myself, were Karen Helm, Marvin Malecha, Charlie Leffler, Terri
Lomax, Mark Hoyt, and Joe Hice. And the plan to plan team was designed to, was brought
together to look at the overall design of the process and make sure that we had a process
that was very inclusive process. This was always something the Chancellor really emphasized
to me very early on. In his own words you heard him say he “didn’t want this to
be a plan that was developed in the back rooms of Holladay Hall and dropped down on the university.”
This really had to be a plan that was our plan. NC State’s plan. A plan that was developed
with input from our faculty, from our staff, from our students, and really embodied where
we’re headed as a university. And so transparency opened us inclusion. We’re really trying
to build into the fundamental aspects of developing this plan.
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee was formed in July, and we began by having
a university council retreat. And at that retreat, it was a really interesting retreat,
because one thing we decided to do was rather than having everybody walk in cold, send out
a pre-retreat survey to begin stimulating people’s thoughts about what were really
the top things that were on their minds. Asking them to put down one, two, three, four. Here
are the top things on my mind. I’m giving issues. And then we had an outside contractor
come in assemble those things together and present those ideas that were emerging as
the most important things for us to wrestle with. Not necessarily a direction but simply
these are things we need to wrestle with as a community and make some progress on.
And so after the retreat the Steering Committee, and I’ll talk a little bit about the Steering
Committee in just a moment, finalized the strategic issues, tried to bring those common
themes that were brought together at the retreat together, define what the task forces were
going to be, identify members and the charges to the task forces, and review the communication
plan that we were going to build around the strategic planning process. Because this truly
is a process in making sure that it’s a two way communication plan, making sure that
this isn’t something that’s developed in by the committees that are formed, the
task forces that are formed, and then sent out to the campus community that would constantly
go back and forth as a itinerary process, receive input on the draft and incorporate
that input into the plan as we develop the plan was really important.
As we go into August and September we formed nine task forces, and the task forces are
listed there, and I’ll refer to them in a little bit more detail in just a moment.
Undergraduate Student Success, Graduate and Post-Doctoral Program Development, Faculty
Excellence, Research and Scholarship, Comprehensiveness and Interdisciplinarity, Global Engagement
and Competitiveness, Partnership Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Campus Culture and Community,
and Resource Strategies. And I think you can see that this is a little bit different to
some of the…some of the strategic plan topics that have emerged before. In a lot of ways
previously we’ve been very program oriented in our plans and said that we should be addressing
for example health and well-being, or educational innovation, or energy in the environment.
Those things are all very important and they have informed I think a lot of our programmatic
thinking as an institution. I think this time we’re starting to look at issues which are
cross-cutting across campus and will really help to a large degree inform us about how
we do our business as an academic community. So, perhaps a little more inwardly focused
in as much as yes we know we have to address the major issues of the day, but the question
really becomes “How do we do that as an academic community, most efficiently, most
effectively?” “How do we refine our processes and how do we make ends towards those strategic
goals?” We solicited input from the University Council
as to who could serve or should serve on those task forces. I was really pleased to see that
we had over four hundred names submitted to serve on those task forces. And then the Steering
Committee worked with those four hundred names trying to derive committees that were very
balanced. And we’ve just finalized those committees over the last couple of days. They’ll
be approximately, I think we’ve got out there a hundred and fifty, but a hundred and
sixty individuals will be serving on those committees with I feel very good representation
from across faculty, staff, and student bodies and from across each of the colleges.
Going forward, September, October, November, there’s going to be a lot of work in the
coming months. The task forces will be at work, working on each of their individual
issues. It is going to be incumbent on each of the task forces to do several things. It’s
not going to be a matter of working in isolation it is going to be incumbent on each of the
task forces to reach out to the campus community and continue to solicit input on what they
feel will be relevant to their particular task force issue. It will also be really important
for each task force to have a couple of things in mind as they move forward.
Number one is to go…is to have very firm metrics about how do we define success, not
only what are we defining for example if we deal with undergraduate student success, but
how do we measure it, what will we measure it, when are we going to measure, how we’re
going to measure our progress toward goals. I think define the metrics that surround each
of these task force issues is going to be very very important. We also have to think
in terms of each of these task forces although there is one task force called Resource Strategies
think each task force is going to have to think about where are the resources going
to come from to enable us to achieve these goals and how do we incorporate those resource
strategies into our particular task force plan to accomplish our goals.
The Task Force Planning Committee in the meantime during this period of time is hopefully not
going to be twiddling its thumbs. We found out at the retreat, oh and one thing that
really surprised me a little bit at the University Council Retreat is that I had thought that
most folks at the retreat would say that our mission statement was fine. Let’s not mess
with our mission statement too much. It’s okay. Let’s move on. What I found was that
most folks didn’t think that our mission statement was fine. In fact most folks thought
that our mission statement needed a lot of work. And so there was some discussion as
we would actually have a task force working specifically on the mission statement. Then
we realized probably the best way for that to occur would be if the Steering Committee
and the Full Strategic Planning Committee would work on that at the same time as the
task forces were working on their agendas. So, trying to bring those things together,
going back and forth to the campus community, really trying to refine our mission statement,
which says a lot about who we are as an academic community. And it is also the plan of the
Chancellor to have a forum associated with his installation on October 26th that town
hall style meeting to gain input not just on the strategic plan but on a number of issues
across campus, but certainly the strategic plan and strategic planning process will be
one of the issues that we’ll be talking about associated with the town hall installation.
In December we’re hoping to have the task force reports back to the Strategic Planning
Committee and begin to assemble those task force reports in January into a cohesive strategic
plan. One of the things that I think would be unfortunate would be if we simply took
nine task force reports and sort of stuck them together and said here’s our strategic
plan. There is absolutely no doubt that the nuts and bolts of this will be in the task
forces. But the task forces working to define their topic areas, gain input and write very
precise strategies. But then we have to in some way put an overarching document together
that really defines the commonalities of those task forces and the strategic thrusts over
the coming years. I see the task force reports as being addenda or important parts of the
final document, but this should be an overarching element to this that attempts to join the
key components out of the task force reports. And so December and January is going to be
a busy time I think for many of us. As we go forward January and early February once
again we want to come back to the campus community with this draft report. We don’t simply
want to send it through a series of reviews. We want to come back to the campus community.
I look at this period of January and early February as being what I call the open comment
period. This is a period where we’ll be going before the Faculty Senate, the Staff
Senate, the Student Senate. It’ll be out on our website. It’ll be discussed at a
number of different forums including the Chancellor’s forum on January 27th. This is our time to
gather input on that draft strategic plan and make fairly significant modifications
of the plan if necessary. By late February the Strategic Planning Committee
will consider the input, revise the draft, and hopefully present that to the Chancellor
toward the end of February or the beginning of March. During March, the Chancellor will
review the draft plan, provide further input and help make modifications. And then we’ll
review the strategic plan with the Board of Trustees in April. We’ll incorporate their
final recommendations and revisions and then hopefully have it in final format to the board
by June. Now that all seems a pretty rigorous agenda.
But I really think it is important to try to get this done and fairly well locked down
this academic year, so that we can go into the next academic year, the next budget year
really understanding where our priorities are going to be for the next three to five
years and how we’re going to expand our resources for the next several years.
The Strategic Planning Committee, I thought you’d want to know who was on the committee.
The full committee is going to include the members of the Steering Committee and one
or two others who I’ll mention in just a moment and then all nineteen chairs of the
task forces will be on the full Strategic Planning Committee. So this will be a large
committee that will be working together quite intensively over the next six, seven, eight
month period. So, in addition to Margery and myself, John Cavanagh from Biochemistry, Randy
Colby – Chair of the Staff Senate, Karen Helm – Director of Planning Analysis, Mark
Hoyt – Vice-Chancellor for IT, Kelly Hook our Student Body President serves on the Steering
Committee, Terri Lomax, Ben Jenkins who is Chair of the Audit Finance and Planning Committee
for our Board of Trustees will be on the full planning committee, Ali Kefeli who is President
of the Graduate Student Association, Marv Malecha – Dean of Design, Benny Suggs representing
our Alumni, Walt Wolfram from the Department of English, and then as I’ve said all nineteen
co-chairs of the task forces. Alright I’m going to spend a few minutes
on the task forces. I don’t want to go into detail on the task forces, just give a brief
overview. The first task force that we defined was Undergraduate Student Success. It was
really interesting at the retreat that of all of the things that we discussed this topic
came to the top every time in almost every discussion. There was almost no doubt that
this would be a task force. There was a feeling that while we do a great job in undergraduate
education right now, we’re still not where we need to be. There were many many issues
to consider both academic and non-academic student support issues. It is far more than
simply graduation retention rates. It is really all about how do we prepare a student body
that is really ready to enter the workforce and make significant contributions to our
society. And how do we do that in the most effective manner possible. There are many
many embedded issues here. And what I really need to emphasize is that you’ll see under
each of these, these task forces a number of bullet points. I want to emphasize that
the task forces will have the authority to change, modify, include more bullet points
here as sub-themes of the task forces. These are not meant to be limiting factors or sub-themes.
They are meant to be simply a starting point for each of the task forces. I want to thank
Maxine Atkinson, Jo-Ann Cohen, and Marycobb Randall is our student representative leading
this task force. We have three co-chairs of this particular task force. I think there’s
a tremendous amount that this task force can accomplish in the coming several months.
The second task force for consideration is Graduate and Postdoctoral Program Development.
Our co-chairs there are Audrey Jaeger and Barb Sherry. We know as an institution that
one of the directions that we need to take is to put a little more emphasis on growing
our graduate programs, growing the quality of our graduate programs, linking that to
the quality and scope of our research programs. I think this is going to be a very, very exciting
task force. One of the things that is going to be important I mentioned about making sure
that we include the financial component of each of these issues. One of the things that
we’re dealing with now as we plan tuition as we plan enrollment increase is how do we
fund and how do we most effectively utilize our graduate student support plan. If we’re
going to move in this direction we have to make sure that we have the facilities and
the ability to attract, retain, and enable the best graduate students in this country
to come to NC State and be successful. So, there’s a lot to consider here under Graduate
and Postdoctoral Program Development. The next task force will be Faculty Excellence.
The co-chairs there will be Trudy MacKay, and Dan Solomon. There is no doubt I think
that as an institution we could be doing more to grow the strength of our already excellent
faculty and enable faculty success. If we look over time we probably as the Chancellor
has said haven’t put enough resources into insuring this element of our academic core,
insuring we are recruiting and retaining the very best faculty to come to NC State, insuring
that we’re enabling the faculty that we have to be optimally successful, making sure
that we remove obstacles and barriers from the success and ensuring that we have a supportive
environment for our faculty to be effective in. So, I think this will be a really exciting
task force. The next task force is going to be Research
and Scholarship. That will be chaired by David Threadgill, Head of Genetics, and Greg Parsons
from the College of Engineering. Once again the issue is how do we grow our research programs.
How do we increase the scope of our research programs, the relevance of our research programs?
We’re doing extraordinarily well in some areas. We’re doing less well in other areas.
There are certainly programmatic areas that we need to emphasize that have not caught
us well over the last several years. And there are other areas that are doing extraordinarily
well. So, how do we spread that success across our whole research enterprise? I think this
is also going to be an interesting conversation. The next task force is Comprehensiveness and
Interdisciplinary. These are two large themes that I do think belong together to a certain
degree. How do we define what comprehensiveness is for this institution. People use the term
comprehensiveness a lot, but it has different meanings at every institution. What does it
mean for NC State? What is the role of the arts, designs, humanities, social sciences?
We have great traditional strengths in the stem disciplines. How do we utilize and leverage
those strengths and develop other strengths across campus. Interdisciplinary, we’ve
talked about as the campus community for some time. How do we ensure that we take what has
traditionally been a great strength of this university, which is our very very strong
college? and extend that into a domain where we really can develop programs, both academic
programs and research programs that reach across the traditional budgetary and college
domains. I think this is going to be one of the keys for our success in the future.
The next one that I want to talk about is Global Engagement and Competitiveness. This
is going to be co-chaired by Mike Giancola from CSLEPS, and Dan Robison from Natural
Resources. We know that as a university we have to be positioned to take advantage of
the changes that are occurring around the world, not only to be visible internationally
but most importantly to give our faculty and our students international skills global skills
and equip them for a place in the global workplace. This is going to remain incredibly important.
You know over the last fifteen months we undertook a study, a fairly extensive study which construed
a lot of time to look at establishing an international branch campus. One of the things that always
struck me about that project was that we really never had the discussion where does the branch
campus fit in terms of our strategic plan for globalization. What do we mean by globalization
and what are the most cost effective ways of achieving the end points of globalization?
And so where does a branch campus or any other model fit into that plan?
Next one is Partnerships, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship that’s going to be co-chaired
by Ted Baker and Blanton Godfrey. As the Chancellor has said Centennial Campus has become a national
hallmark for partnership and innovation. We want to make sure that that continues, but
we also want to make sure that essence of innovation something that NC State is known
for and should be continued to be known for is across the whole campus, not just across
Centennial Campus. And so we anticipate that that will be a very important task force.
Campus Community and Culture is going to be co-chaired by José Picart and Carolyn Argentati.
It’s going to be very, very important that we as a campus community communicate with
one another and recognize each other’s strengths towards working towards the strategic goals
that has to be an integral part of who we are as a campus that everybody who walks onto
this campus is embraced with the strengths that they bring to this campus. And I think
this is going to be an important task force. Lasting resource strategies at the end of
the day, we’ve got to figure out how to pay for all of this. Where is the money going
to come from? This is a changing budgetary environment. We know as the Chancellor has
said we have been the beneficiaries of a very generous system of state support. But during
difficult budgetary times that is challenged and our budgets are very, very uncertain at
the moment, depending on how state revenues are going. How do we diversify our resource
support portfolio? How do we add new elements to our resource support portfolio? And as
much as anything we have to be willing to reallocate the resources that we have versus
simply saying where do we get more new money to do the new things that we want to do. This
has to be an embedded part of each strategic plan that we felt it was important enough
that it should be its own strategic goal. That’s going to be co-chaired by David Bristol
and Roby Sawyers. Okay. So, there is full information on the
strategic plan and strategic planning process on our website at info.ncsu.edu/strategic-planning.
We hope to have the names of the , the full names of the task forces up within a day or
so. So, this really is going to be an open process that we need and want your input on.
So, to those of you who are on the task forces…thank you. To those of you who have agreed to chair
the task forces…double triple thank you. It’s going to be I think a fun six months
and really looking forward to the end results of it. With that I’ve left a few minutes
at the end, probably not enough, but a few minutes for either questions for the Chancellor
or I on strategic planning or other issues. Yes sir?
Provost – The question is do we do a peer assessment. Very early on in the plan to plan
committee we did do sort of a landscape scan and pulled several strategic plans and recent
strategic plans from other institutions. And all major institutions have done a strategic
plan within the last several years, but we looked at some of the most recent ones. And
the model of going out and developing task forces and trying to include broad representation
across the university is one that several other universities have utilized. Our Chancellor
has utilized this before in strategic planning at a previous institution. I think the advantage
is that it really gives us the broad representation that we need. So, yes there are other universities
using a very similar model of strategic planning. Come on. (Unintelligible background talk)
Provost – It’s a really good question and nearly all of the individuals are from the
university. Now there will be outside representation in terms of each task force will be asked
to reach out to its constituents including both its internal and external constituents.
We of course have representation from the Board of Trustees on the strategic planning
committee. But this is quite a point of discussion that we went through. We felt that with all
the work that had been done in the past for the UNC Tomorrow Study, which was very very
externally focused with development of the NC State response to the UNC Tomorrow Study,
we’ve really gone through a tremendous amount of external engagement and getting external
input. And we really wanted this plan to take that and build on that and focus a little
bit more on how do we do our business. How do we really become the great university that
we can become. And so this is a little bit more inwardly focused. And so we didn’t
put external members directly on those task forces.
(Unintelligible question) Chancellor – Very little. Don’t count on
my installation speech to be our strategic plan. That would be presumptuous. But to the
extent that, I mean I think that you will get a good sense of some of my thinking in
that installation, but it clearly we won’t have a full roadmap until this plan is completed.
Yes. (Non-intelligible question) Provost – Okay. So, all of the members of
the task forces have already been notified and have agreed to serve on those task forces.
We’ll be publishing those full task forces. Each task force is somewhere between fifteen
and twenty individuals. It will be largely up to the chairs and the task force members
to do their scheduling and be responsible for engagement of the stakeholders as well.
Now the Office of Planning and Analysis, Karen Helm, and my office will work closely with
each of the task forces, but there won’t be one central scheduling for each of the
task forces. We think there has to be enough flexibility left of the local level to ensure
that. Chancellor – I intend to interact with all
of the chairs as we launch it. And Rog to your question you know I would expect almost
all of these task forces to have some sort of open process where others that have an
interest in the area are invited to give comment and to have feedback. The partnership area
is one great example. You, we can’t do that without partners being engaged in that conversation.
You know the businesses we work with, economic development partners across the state so…but
that’s going to be each task force will have the opportunity to think about how they
do that. Provost – You know that’s a great question.
And I think the reason historically that some of us may be even many of us have been a little
bit (unintelligible) by strategic planning or any form of planning is we’ve seen some
beautiful documents sit on the shelf and collect dust over the years. And the reality is the
only way this will be…well I think a good start number one is the Chancellor’s vision
is that this is an inclusive document that represents broad input from the campus community.
It’s simply not an administratively conceived document dropped down on the campus community
I think makes a huge difference. Because that means there is a high level of ownership from
the campus community as a whole. So, I think that’s the step one. Step two quite frankly
is that I think that it has to be linked to resource allocation. We really have to, in
the past planning has been linked by the compact plan process. We haven’t devised exactly
now whether we will continue or change the compact planning process, but we do have to
link the resource allocation and reallocation to the strategic priorities that we list.
Absolutely. Chancellor – So, the only thing that I will
add to that is I fully expect this plan to have clear measurable outcomes and metrics
associated with it. So the way the plan continues to be a living document is we constantly talk
about where we are. If a plan is a roadmap you need to constantly measure how far you’re
getting towards that final destination. And that’s a data intensive process, in fact
we’ll continue to have conversations with all the deans, and department heads, and unit
leaders, and directors about where we are in the journey. And when you do that you’re
constantly referring to the plan. And a plan involve…that’s so data intensive can’t
sit on the shelf because you’re always pulling it off to refer to where you are in the journey.
So, we’re not just going to stand up and say that we’re going to be the best land-grant
university in the country. We’re going to say how to measure that. What are the numbers
associated with it. What is our goal for faculty to student ratio by discipline. I mean we’re
going to have data associated with this that…I’m a real anal retentive guy and I use…that’s
a Freudian term that’s okay. And I’d like to use real analytical tools to help us to
know where we are on the journey. Provost – And I recommend the first draft
of the task force members, we spend about another ten days going over that and modifying
it and insuring that we had really good representation. Representation from faculty, student, staff
administrators. Representation from all of the colleges. Very good diversity representation
across the task forces. We’ve tried really hard to make it a combination of those who
will bring experience and skill to each of those task forces that have really good representation
from across the various areas of campus. Now I won’t stand here and tell you it’s perfect,
but I will tell you that we’ve put a fair bit of work into trying to make sure that
this is truly a representative process. Provost – Yes sir? I should put that one right
to Kelly Hook, your Student Body President. So, Kelly the question was how are the students
going to be involved in the strategic planning process. You want to answer it or you want
me to answer that? (un-intelligible background talk)
Provost – The umm. Kelly and the umm Graduate Student President are on the Steering Committee.
There are students represented on each of these task forces and one of the students
is Marycobb Randall is co-chairing the Undergraduate Student Success Committee. So, this has been
very important to us to have significant involvement with the student body, and it will work back
through the Student Body President of the Student Center to engage the student body
as we move through the process. (Unintelligible talking) Provost- Okay.
Chancellor – I’m told…I don’t know the exact number, but there are over twenty
students that are members of the task…various task forces. So, student engagement is a very
big priority for me. Provost – Yes. (Unintelligible background
talking) Chancellor – No that’s very valid. I’m
(unintelligible background talking) Yeah. We’ve got enough of those. The executive
officers know how I feel about. So, one of the things is…I hope this isn’t out of
the realm of possibility, but I think one of the things that and I’m not sure how
much we’ve talked about this, but I think it would be important for every task force
to think about the resource implications for what they’re proposing. And they may not
be fully empowered to do that. There may need to be subsequent study. So, you know I’m
not…I’m not sure how much further we would go with implementation groups, but I don’t
expect any plan to come out of this that isn’t…hasn’t been thought about in terms of resources and
impediments. (unintelligible background talking)
Chancellor – No I…no you’ve. It’s already duly noted.
Provost – I think it’s too late. Well you’re from the middle point which is that
you can develop a great plan. You can even link it to resource allocation, but frequently
we don’t go back and check. Were those resources utilized appropriately and did they have the
desired result? Did they move us into the correct direction? I think the Chancellor’s
concept of having this very metrics run of each task force in the overall plan saying…this
is the end point. This is the goals. This is how we’re going to know whether we’re
getting there or not. And then it’s incumbent upon us. And whether that is an implementation
task force or whether it is a group of administrators and faculty is incumbent upon us to go and
look at those metrics. I think be very honest with ourselves. Is this driving things in
the direction that we anticipated and wanted at the rate that we wanted? Absolutely.
Chancellor – We’ve got to remain open to mid-course corrections too.
Provost – One in the back there Jim. (Unintelligible comment from audience) Those
are good points. Thanks Jim. I think we had one more over here.
(Unintelligible question from audience) So, the question is will we address immigrants.
I hope that’s addressed in multiple elements. It’s not drawn out in a specific task force
or a theme in its own right. But it’s as you’ll see a lot of these task forces are
very cross-cutting themes. And I think that there is room within many if not most to have
themes such as addressing the role of immigrants, the role of new citizens, the role of a number
of different issues. So, I would hope that that is addressed in multiple formats in several
task forces. Chancellor – Let’s hope there’s a successful
(unintelligible word). Oh. I guess I just exposed my policies. You know one of the things
that astounded me a bit was a conversation about charging international students for
being here and that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, because the federal government
doesn’t in fact subsidize higher education. So, your federal taxes don’t go to support
the university directly. They go to support Pell grants, and grants to students, which
international students are not eligible for. But I don’t view international students,
which is I know not where you were going, but it’s a piece of the overall diversity
on our campus. I just don’t view international students differently than I view a student
from Arkansas, which is like another country. (laughter) Oh, come on, I’m from Arkansas.
Thank you all. (applause)

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