Trustees approve strategic plan through 2013

The board of trustees has approved a strategic plan to guide the university in dealing with various programs from 2007 to 2013.

The plan, "Achieving the Vision," was approved Wednesday by the board and announced in the University News Briefs e-mail Thursday. The plan lists seven strategic goals, ranging from enhancing undergraduate and graduate programs to ensuring financial stability for the university.

It defines "transformational education" over two pages — a term which University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild and Provost Madeline Wake had spoken of as a guiding principle for their work on the plan.

The plan, Wake said, serves as a "road map to the future" and was created based on the feedback and ideas of faculty, alumni, students, outside academics and members of the community, as well as priorities listed by Wild in a speech in early February.

The goals of the plan will help the university align its activities and resources, she said.

The last strategic plan, created in the late 1990s, ended in 2005 because its goals were accomplished well before the estimated date of 2010, Wake said.

But those achievements led to more challenging goals, which will be addressed in the new plan, she said.

Besides creating more financial stability and enhancing academic programs, the goals include increasing research and scholarship and their funding, increasing diversity and enhancing the infrastructure of the school.

Faculty contributed to the effort to create the plan, according to Tom Eddinger, a professor of biological sciences who served as the chair of the Committee on Faculty from 2003 to the end of last school year.

"How well or whether the university heeded what initially came from the faculty is another question, but there were numerous opportunities to be involved at all levels of what happened," Eddinger said in a voicemail.

Discussions on the plan occurred on the department, college and university levels, he said.

According to Wake, each college submitted its plans to the university's strategic planning committee, and many departments in each college had sent their own plans to the college.

In addition, faculty could discuss the plan at town hall meetings and the Academic Senate. A draft of the plan had also been posted on the provost's Web site, and faculty could review the plan and send feedback.

The strategic planning committee, which drafted the goals, also had four faculty members, giving the committee a "full spectrum of opinions and ideas," according to Special Assistant to the Provost Dale Kaser, the chair of the committee.

Students also had a role in the creation of the plan.

Students took part in a "World CafAc" in January 2004, in which more than 200 students, faculty, staff and community members were asked where they wanted to see the university.

"We tried to figure out what is it Marquette could offer to the world," Wake said.

Students were also included in focus groups and surveys — for example, students said they liked the caring environment of the school but were frustrated that they never saw professors outside of class, Wake said.

However, Wake said she did not remember "having (the plan) on the agenda of student government."

Alex Hermanny, last year's Marquette Student Government president and former MUSG parliamentarian Jason Rae, a College of Arts & Sciences sophomore, served on the Academic Senate last school year and had the opportunity to evaluate portions of the plan.

The plan was also submitted to the university's national alumni board for review, and several accrediting bodies and professional association were consulted, especially for college-specific plans, Wake said.

The university's goals are challenging, Wake said, but certainly can be accomplished.

"We expect Marquette to be the shining example of Catholic, Jesuit (higher) education," she said.