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May 2013: Strategic Planning Update

E. Bruce Pitman PhotoDuring the past year, some 65 faculty and staff members participated in the College’s strategic planning, CAS@20. Earlier in the year a draft plan was released to the College faculty, and feedback was received at an open forum and through electronic and written comments. Feedback was also received from a subset of the Dean’s Advisory Council and from a set of College undergraduates. All these responses were brought together into the final version of CAS@20, released now.

As identified in CAS@20, the fundamental goals for the College over the next several years are to improve our rankings among AAU institutions, enhance the UB experience of all our students, engage our community, and build an ongoing relationship with alumni and friends. We will accomplish these goals by increasing the size of our faculty and staff, by providing improved support for research and scholarship, by improving curricular and co-curricular offerings for students, by supporting initiatives to engage our neighbors in Western New York, and by enhancing our interactions with students, alumni, and friends.

Our plans are consistent with the efforts of the President and Provost, as articulated in Realizing UB2020.  Both plans seek to strengthen UB’s reputation in research, as we continue to offer an excellent educational experience for our students. The College will continue to advocate for our faculty, staff and students, as we promote CAS@20 through the implementation of Realizing UB2020.

Some of the recommendations made in CAS@20 are clear and direct, and can be implemented quickly. Others will require further deliberation, to understand how those recommendations might be enacted; implementation teams will be formed to tackle these more complex recommendations.

As we proceed, two issues are worth remembering. First, we must agree on standards for measuring whether our efforts are being successful – for each of the specific initiatives we will undertake, we need to know why we are acting, what we are hoping to accomplish, and how we will measure success.  Although such an assessment sounds straightforward, all too often institutions act with good intentions but without clearly articulated objectives.

The second issue is of a more fundamental nature. As a university, as a College, and as a department, we must all become better at thinking strategically – whether we are addressing tactical decisions or analyzing issues of policy and practice. In this time when budgets are under pressure (though looking better for UB), and when external forces are examining higher education in detail, it is important to be deliberate in our decisions, with our long-term goals always in mind.

CAS@20 is the product of hard work on the part of many people. This is a plan for the College, a roadmap for all of us to make substantive improvements to this campus and our departments. On behalf of the College, I want to thank all who contributed to the planning process.  Let us all work to make sure those efforts are productively spent!