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University Unveils First Draft Of Strategic Plan, Seeks Feedback

Since arriving in 2013, Provost Nick Jones has been working to develop a Strategic Plan for the university. He cited a “strong desire across the community for impact” and the fact “Penn Staters want their work and contributions to make a difference” as the fundamental reasons for the updated plan.

The first draft of the Strategic Plan was unveiled last week with the goal of ultimately guiding the university’s endeavor’s for the next five to 10 years.

“During the past year, the University Strategic Planning Council has been working diligently to identify and articulate the university’s priorities and goals for 2016-20,” Jones said on the Council’s website. “After considerable research and collegial debate, the Council has developed a draft plan and would like your input.”

The full 19-page document, complete with the new logo, is embedded below.

The current draft of the plan includes feedback from a “number of stakeholders,” including trustees, faculty members, undergraduate and graduate students, staff members, academic and administrative leaders, and alumni. That feedback was given to the planning council, which is chaired by Jones and includes 31 other members.

The plan is centered around five thematic priorities: transform education, enhance health, manage resources, elevate the impact of the arts and humanities, and leverage digital innovation. The five thematic priorities are supplemented by three supporting elements: organization processes, infrastructure and support, and constituent outreach and support.

Jones presented an update on the Council’s work to the Committee on Governance and Long Range Planning at last November’s Board meeting. The five thematic priorities are essentially the same as they were a year ago, the only exception being the addition of elevating the impact of the arts and humanities and the removal of exploring and promoting our cultures. It’s certainly concerning it’s now taken a year to write a few paragraphs on each of those initiatives, which for the most part are no brainer things we should be doing if we want to remain a top university.

“Penn State is at an exciting crossroads,” the draft reads. “It is well situated to advance its position among the world’s top research universities. This plan lays out in broad strokes the basis for action toward that end from 2016 through 2020.” This is the thesis of the section titled ‘From Plan to Action to Impact.’

Granted, this is only the first draft. Assuming the next draft gives a concrete outline on how to implement the five priorities, which ideally will help to further explain why each is necessary, the Strategic Plan will not be completely useless.

Jones reiterated that before the council moves forward, it needs to community’s feedback. You can submit feedback here until Monday, Nov. 9.

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