Oregon State University's Strategic Plan for the 21st Century provides a long-term focus on building excellence in its programs and developing a quality learning environment for its students. Achieving these goals requires resources to build and sustain faculty capacity, enhance student experiences inside and outside of the classroom, and improve the teaching and research infrastructure.
President Ray, in his annual State of the University Address to the Faculty Senate, called upon the University community to develop a set of prioritized and significant investments with the goals of increasing academic program excellence and the impact of our programs in the five thematic areas. He challenged us to re-examine how we manage the business activities of the University to bring additional resources to bear on priority academic investments. He also indicated that faculty, staff, and students will participate fully in these processes.
The purpose of this document is to describe a process to be followed over the next three years in order to use our resources to most effectively implement the Strategic Plan and maximize our ability to:
OSU's Strategic Plan defines five multidisciplinary thematic areas that integrate the missions of teaching, research, and outreach; that respond to the unique challenges of Oregon's future; and that constitute signature academic priorities that define the University. The five thematic areas are:
The need for OSU to more strongly assert its institutional identity was a key driver for developing the five thematic areas. The State Board of Higher Education is evaluating how institutional identities within the Oregon University System (OUS) complement each other. Competition among universities nationally and internationally has intensified, and it is important to recognize that OSU competes with universities throughout the nation and around the world for students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty, and resources. As we look to the future, we want an institutional identity built upon distinctive programs in the five thematic areas to attract the most talented students and faculty possible.
Since the adoption of the Strategic Plan in February 2004, we have developed and implemented actions to advance the three over-arching goals that were stated in the Plan. However, with the exception of investments in six Strategic Initiatives, we have not attempted to operationalize the Strategic Plan with regard to the five thematic areas. The primary foci of this three-year process will be increasing the education, research and outreach capacity of the University in the five thematic areas; improving student engagement, retention, and graduation rates; and advancing a real, relevant, and respected identity for OSU throughout the country and internationally.
For each thematic area, teams consisting of faculty, administrators and other relevant constituents will help to identify focus areas and initiatives that we need to build or strengthen to meet our aspirations to be a premier land-grant university. While collaboration is already an area of strength for OSU, it is important to consider ways to improve it in an organic and systematic fashion.
The process will be broad, inclusive, and transparent. We will be informed by the considerable work done in the past, but those efforts will not in any way dictate the conclusions of this process. The OSU Strategic Plan will serve as our blueprint.
The overall charge to the five teams is to consider and identify areas that will create the best future for the involved units and for the University; expand the University's capacity to address global, social, and economic issues; advance education; and expand scholarship. Furthermore, the conversations should provide an opportunity to enhance community environment at OSU, one that values diversity in all its dimensions and enables individuals to achieve their potential.
Ideas and initiatives should integrate, complement and expand the capacity of existing colleges and units with respect to collaborative research, outreach, and education. The process should take into consideration the views of internal and external stakeholders, as well as the national and international trends and drivers.
While the design process will focus on the unique environment, strengths, and pressing issues in each of the five thematic areas, it will be guided by the following questions:
Ultimately, the final decisions for selected investment will be made by the President and the Provost after appropriate consultation with administrative and faculty leadership.
Investments in priorities will be staggered as resources become available. We plan to direct some of the projected increase in State funding over the next three years to fund priorities. Additional resources will become available as we phase out the institutional commitment to fund the six Strategic Initiatives and through the business center alignment process that we are initiating in parallel with this activity. We will also seek funding for the selected priorities through private fundraising.
Teams have already been established in each thematic area and have initiated the work outlined above, with the expectation that priorities will be submitted to the Provost by May 2008. The timeline for completing tasks will vary. In particular, the charge for the Arts and Science Team is very specific, focused on the organizational structure, and it will be completed by December 2007. The thematic teams have been charged to seek broad participation, and faculty are also encouraged to get involved and provide input.
To achieve the goal of academic excellence, the University needs to provide resources for building faculty capacity, enhancing student services, and improving its teaching and research infrastructure. The University is committed to increase its revenue stream through a multi-faceted set of activities, including private fund raising, nonresident enrollment growth, pricing professional programs to market, expanding programs through Extended Campus, increasing revenue from intellectual property and research partnerships with industry, and advocating for increased State support for higher education. Internally, we need to examine our operations and direct as many resources as we can to augment the University's capacity to meet its mission. Additionally, as we seek public and private support for our academic enterprise, it is important that we demonstrate to our partners that we are good stewards of the resources entrusted to us, maximizing resource allocation to achieve the core mission of the University.
Administrative services very broadly defined include all activities within the institution that support, though they are not directly involved in, teaching, research, outreach or service. Such activities include, but are not limited to, human resource services; accounting, purchasing and other business-related activities; marketing, event management, and communications; and provision of IS services.
Business functions will be consolidated into seven regional business centers. Five of them will serve clusters of colleges, centers, institutes, and programs. The other two will service central administrative divisions and units. The proposed timetable for accomplishing this is approximately three years, with the establishment of the first pilot center occurring within a year. The first pilot center will be centered on the life sciences theme, and will include the Colleges of Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, and Health and Human Sciences.
During the first year of implementation, the focus will be on business functions, principally those involving purchasing, payables, receivables, grants and contracts, and human resource functions. Additional functions will be added as we gain experience in establishing and operating business centers.
Development of business centers is a major step for the University. Successful implementation requires that the University follow a process that involves faculty, staff, students, and administrators, provides appropriate mechanisms to manage the change process, and communicates effectively within the University. We should also recognize that it is impossible to predict in advance the implications of all actions. Using pilot implementation will help us learn unintended consequences and adjust the process as we expand the implementation effort in subsequent years.
By mid-November we will establish a Business Center Steering Committee and an Implementation Team for the first business center. By the end of Fall Term 2007, we will define users' business requirements and a conceptual straw model for the pilot, define IT systems improvements required, develop a human resource management plan and begin the business process re-design. During Winter Term 2008, we will implement a hiring plan to minimize impact on staff, identify the business center location, and begin implementation of new processes. We expect the pilot business center to be on-line by August 2008. By the end of Spring Term 2008, we will also identify units for three business centers (two in thematic areas and one central) to implement in the second year.