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   from the issue of November 15, 2007

Draft of UNL strategic plan available for online review


The UNL community has a chance to review and comment on the first public draft of the UNL Strategic Plan.

The document, "A Strategic Plan for UNL: Setting our Compass," is designed to describe a general direction for university efforts.

Two open forums are scheduled to allow for widespread discussion, comment and input. The first forum is 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Nebraska Union (room posted). The second is Jan. 24 in the East Union (room posted). Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Barbara Couture, senior vice chancellor, and John Owens, IANR vice chancellor, will host the forums. The forums will be similar to those that helped shape UNL's core values documents in 2005-06.

UNL has been engaged in academic strategic planning since 2004. The process involves departmental plans that inform plans drawn up by the colleges. Last fall's accreditation site team suggested, after conversations with many on campus, that a document that pulls together common threads from the various college plans would be helpful. At the same time, chairs, heads and deans were asking for a unified document that outlines the goals and planning priorities for the university.

The external review team also suggested it would be helpful to align academic strategic planning with planning in other units at UNL, such as Student Affairs, Business and Finance, and Research. The strategic plan aims to do all of that.

Perlman crafted the first draft of the plan, which was reviewed and revised by the senior vice chancellor and others on the Senior Administrative Team. That revised draft was reviewed in June by the deans. Their comments resulted in a subsequent draft that was reviewed in early fall and the Nov. 15 draft is the most current version. Perlman made reference to the plan in his August State of the University address, noting it was in progress and stating his intent to solicit campuswide input.

Some of the high points of the document are:

• The Strategic Plan aims to clarify our shared vision for the university, our mission, our core values, and our priorities, so that we can best assess the strategies to be employed by our units in pursuing excellence, our lead benchmark for success.

• Our vision is to place the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the forefront of public higher education-to excel at all of our missions of teaching, research, and engagement. We seek to harness the Power of Red for the benefit of all Nebraskans.

• UNL has two overarching priorities: undergraduate education and research. These priorities align with the two primary needs of the state of Nebraska, which are retaining or attracting talented individuals who contribute to our economy, and sustaining a research enterprise that allows Nebraska to compete in the global idea-based economy.

• Our overarching strategies to support those priorities are to Invest in Excellence and to Maximize Resources.

Compass Points

The draft of the "Strategic Plan for UNL: Setting our Compass" include the following tactics:

Help UNL Invest in Excellence

• Invest in competitive undergraduate program, with a broad mix of programs for undergraduate education, to attract and retain highly talented students from Nebraska, the region, nationally and internationally.

• Invest in focused programs that are or can become "spires of excellence" by achieving national or international recognition and thereby enhance the reputation of the entire university.

• Invest in programs of instruction or research and creative activity that serve the particular economic needs of Nebraska and contribute to our quality of life.

• Invest, where we have a comparative advantage, in programs that contribute to solving challenges that face Nebraska, the nation, and the world.

Help UNL "Maximize Resources

• Plan strategically to focus resources on excellent programs and provide mechanisms to direct existing resources toward our highest priorities.

• Demonstrate the importance of the university to the future success of our two most important funding sources: students and Nebraska taxpayers.

• Respond to federal research priorities and build collaborations and expertise necessary to compete successfully for federal research funding.

• Engage in public-private partnerships and create synergies where we and industry can marshal our independent talents and perspectives for mutual advantage.

• Advance entrepreneurship and embrace unanticipated opportunities to enhance the research and teaching of the university.

• Welcome persons of diverse backgrounds and perspectives who will keep us open to new ideas and emerging needs.

• Expand, through international work and study, our appreciation for the global environment and address the global interconnectedness of societal challenges.

• Support outreach as a mechanism for assuring that all Nebraskans benefit from the priority efforts of the university.



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