Strategic Planning Committee Meeting Minutes September 25, 2008

Strategic Planning Committee
Meeting Minutes
September 25, 2008
Members Present:
David DeGroote, Sara Grachek, Ken Miller, Diana Lawson, Mahmoud Saffari, Geoffrey
Tabakin, David DiMaria, Kim Oren, Debbie Bechtold, Jim Sherohman, Mitch Rubenstein, John
Eggers, Dan Gregory, Lisa Foss, John Palmer, Monica Devers, David Sikes, Judy Kilborn, Sue
Massmann, Kay Worner, Stephen Hornstein, Robin Ewing
President Potter
President Potter began the meeting by thanking the committee for the work that was done last
year. This year is continuation of last year. The form is somewhat different and poses challenges
for us in working together, but it is critically important that we do this work together.
Contextually, we do our work in a changing system and its attention to planning. We have to
align and be responsive to the work that the system is doing as we do our work. More often than
not we are ahead of the system in our thinking. We have good voices and good influence. It is
better that we know where we are going and then struggle with meeting the objections of the
We have made a commitment that budgeting and planning will be more transparent and we have
made a commitment to do that. We are approaching the process in a different way this year.
One of the consequences is that as we consider our committee structure we need to review
whether it makes sense to have separate budget and planning committees or should have one
integrated committee?
Nature of planning that will happen this year: We are doing facilities planning and finalizing our
updates to the plan. We are paying attention to the interface of the university with the
community. We have a good academic plan but needs further development. The facilities plan
needs to be driven by the academic plan. Foundations of Excellence work will help focus on the
areas of undergraduate studies. What kind of learning spaces do we need? We need to get high
quality thinking and participation from the faculty in regards to learning spaces and driving the
plan. We also need to think beyond traditional boundaries and think about interdisciplinary
programs and work. A number of things in the facilities plan will be placeholders as we go
forward, but the plan needs to include the character of the spaces and what they need to include,
including technology. Faculty needs to be involved in a deep and meaningful way. The planning
committee needs to help identify a process for bringing out the pedagogical needs in the
academic buildings.
The scale of the plan is of a different order. It has been hard for us to pull out of the plans that
were developed last year ideas for space needs. People who plan buildings will not get it right
without the voice of the faculty. One of the problems is that they were built inexpensive to begin
with and it is difficult to upgrade them as they are now. We need to direct resources to doing the
best we can with what we have in place. Going in to the next biennium it is going to be difficult
to put the money into the things we want to do. The answer should never be no but let’s develop
a plan on how we can work these things into our plan. The residence hall study consultants will
come back with a plan and the Strategic Planning Committee will need to review it and
provide feedback. Also, we are working with a consultant on student health. The Strategic
Planning Committee will need to review the report and recommendations from the consultant,
including whether we need an integrated facility for health and wellness.
We also need to look beyond the boundaries of campus in our comprehensive facilities plan. The
plan is intended to look forward two decades so this will be important. Our facilities plan must
pay a lot of attention to how the campus flows and connects and maximize the value of our
location on the Mississippi. It is important that Strategic Planning Committee be engaged in this
facilities planning process. Lisa was asked to provide the facilities detail from the department
planning documents and provide it to the committee for review and consideration.
Last year we did not have clear vision and charge for a few of the work groups in the Academic
Planning Process. The Leadership Team has continued work on those pieces from the Academic
Action Planning process that needed further development. That work will continue this year. The
Leadership Team and the Strategic Planning Committee will need to work together on these
planning activities. Lisa has prepared a timeline for how this work will come together this year.
These things are all tied into the work plan that has been developed for the University and
integrated with the MnSCU system work plan. We need to get into the habit of planning our
work and working within our plan.
Do you see a faculty participating through the individual department plans? Potter: Ideally, yes.
Departments need to start thinking about what they want to be, but there will be an absence of
data. Departments have come forward and have said they do not feel comfortable with what they
put forward last year. There is now a better framework so that improvements to department plans
can be made. Departments should be provided with specific instructions about what they
should be doing next in the planning process.
Potter: The process for review of proposals that require investments that was put together last
year was one that has not been fully formed and needs additional work. The Strategic
Planning Committee needs to engage in the work of further developing that process.
A concern was raised about the space allocation for Admissions in the AS redesign plan. Potter:
The AS building could not contain all of the services if each area got what they needed. I
encourage you to participate actively in the process and work hard to get the best balance we can.
A concern was raised about the timeline and consideration of religious holidays. Potter: Dates
are brackets and are calendar markers and can be changed to consider important holidays and
How will we develop plans for new initiatives and what do you do with cross disciplines and
inter disciplinary programs to achieve sustainability? Potter: Processes and structures that we
offer need to clearly be available to these areas. The initiative process is included in the budget
process needs to include inter disciplinary and cross disciplines.
There is a gap in knowledge when it comes to planning. Our campus may have a bit of trained
helplessness in this work. The overwhelming effort that some departments face in responding the
changing demands of the state makes it difficult to vision. We need a new level of sophistication
in the departments when it comes to planning. How can we help departments do this work? It
would be useful for a unified message about the second year so that a message come from one
source. Potter: I agree and would welcome concrete ideas on how we do that. We need to
improve our understanding of how we do this type of planning, and we need to be sensitive to
the different environments of each of us to do this type of work. How do we create the space to
have these conversations? This work is exciting, challenging and it represents a significant
change. We need to be reminded on how we have done things in the past and recognize our
mistakes and move forward from that point.
Committee discussion:
We need a statement to the entire community as to the role the planning committee will play.
This will hold us accountable. One of our jobs needs to be to figure out what people need to
continue the planning process. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. Need a
unified message on what we need to do.
A concern is the use of interims and momentarily filling of positions without any conversation.
What is the process that ensures the continuation of conversations from one person to another?
We need clarification of processes and procedures and how things go forward. It is one thing to
keep the momentum going but it may be that we be sensitive to the ideas that someone might be
hired to achieve a specific goal.
The planning process was seen as a hoop to jump through in Education because there is so much
assessment already. Programs that have outside accreditation it seems redundant but maybe not
for groups that do not have accreditation.
What can we do to help guide the activities of each college? It is overwhelming.
1. We are still learning this process as an institution.
2. We have to get to implementation on some of the pieces.
3. How do we engage students and other on campus and do meaningful education and
communication with these groups.