Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Strategic planning

Below you'll find a link to the draft strategic planning document that is making its way around the Faculty Senate (which will discuss it today) and other campus groups. The plan was, I think, required by our accreditors, who found Southern at 150 in need of revision. I made some sage remarks on strategic planning in an earlier post; this plan and process do not fall into the worst excesses of the strategic planning racket, but the resulting draft plan is rather disappointing.

I'm just working through the plan myself. While my faith in the efficacy of such plans is limited, my initial reaction is that this is a strategic plan lacking a strategy. Love it or hate it, Southern at 150, Walter Wendler's import from Texas A & M, did promote a specific vision for this university; it was probably an impracticable one, and it certainly slighted undergraduate education in the service of high-profile research (at least in my opinion), but it did outline a strategy, with goals clear enough that they required specific means to reach them, and our success or failure in reaching those goals could be clearly measured.

This plan offers a number of ideas, many banal, some smart, some troubling. But there is, as far as I can tell, no attempt here to clearly articulate any overarching goal, new direction, change in emphasis or reordering of priorities. Other than a shockingly frank criticism of the SIUC foundation (more interested in controlling money than raising it), there is no effort at diagnosing our problems and planning to overcome them. If one believes that strategic planning is a real opportunity for an institution in crisis, as this one is, to turn things around, then this is a missed opportunity.
A Strategic Plan Feb 15 2012


  1. The values aren't values (except for the first, which is disgracefully prideful - we value our image?). The mission statement is not a mission statement, but rather a poor hodgepodge of the prior statements of "values." The specific points are grossly irreconcilable notions (ie, and are in direct opposition to each other). The very idea of putting online departmental graduation rates and success/learning outcomes matrices is what proprietary (for profit) institutions do, not national research universities. Another rousing success, "proud"ly presented by hand-picked participants.

  2. This is why Cheng was picked by Poshard. And we have no protest by Senate and the Graduate Council over this hideous state of affairs!

  3. Ha! Now people long for the days of Wendler and his plan. Like him or not (personally), Wendler was a strong personality and I believe that might be why Poshard felt threatened. How dare a Chancellor of the SIU-C campus run it as if it were his to run!

  4. My Grad Council rep told me tonight that at GC meeting, she raised these concerns to the chancellor, the provost, and the other GC reps. She said in the silence that followed you could have heard a pin drop; no one else spoke of it at all....

  5. "The plan was, I think, required by our accreditors, who found Southern at 150 in need of revision."

    Absolutely! Some of the pieces of the new plan are sound like the authors took pages 20 and 21 of the accreditation report as a checklist. On the other hand, unlike the accreditation report, the plan offers no background as to why one path was chosen rather than another.

  6. I'm sure that Dave will raise all of these concerns with the Faculty Senate. Right, Dave?


I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.