The University of Idaho formally unveiled its nine-year strategic plan Tuesday at a staff meeting led by UI President Chuck Staben and Provost and Executive Vice President John Wiencek.
Wiencek said the strategic plan aims to map out the goals of the university as the institution looks toward the future – specifically the year 2025.
Wiencek said Staben is committed to staying with the university through 2025 to see the plan through.
“I think the importance of a good strategic plan is that it can guide your priorities, your investments, and what really needs to happen at the university, to do what it is that”s most important to you, and therefore a good strategic plan is a good guide to the future,” Staben said.
Wiencek said the university has four main goals it hopes to meet by 2025. The first is increasing graduation rates, as well as helping those graduates to get started on their next step in life, whether that”s finding a job after graduation or continuing on to graduate school, medical school or law school.
Wiencek said the second goal is to continue to increase the amount of research being done at the university. UI is presently classified as an R2 institution, the middle category in the Carnegie Foundation”s university classification system. The university”s goal is to increase research activity enough to become an R1 institution, the highest ranking.
Wiencek said the third goal is statewide outreach. UI has extensions throughout the state and now hopes to focus on tailoring the services those extensions provide to the communities they serve. The goal of this statewide outreach is to get more Idaho students to go on from high school to college, Wiencek said. The university aims to figure out what people in different areas across the state want from a university and try to provide for those needs to convince more Idaho students to attend college.
Wiencek said the final goal is maintaining good morale among UI faculty staff. This will be accomplished through surveys of university staff so they can give their input and make suggestions on improvements to make during the nine-year process.
“The strategic plan itself is a great activity to improve morale because people can see themselves in the future and they get an opportunity to map out a plan that”s going to work for them,” Wiencek said.
Wiencek said the plan will be presented to the State Board of Education for approval in April. If the board approves it, the various departments will begin assembling detailed lists of things they want to accomplish and plans how they”re going to measure their progress.
Wiencek said some of these plans are already being drafted. He said the strategic plan should be underway no later than the end of the fall 2016 semester. Because the overarching plan is over such a long period, the nine-year plan will be broken up into three three-year sections, the first running from 2016 to 2019, the second from 2019 to 2022 and the third from 2022 to 2025. At the end of the sections will be “waypoints,” when smaller goals should be accomplished, ultimately building to the achievement of the final goals by 2025.
Wiencek said the university has also worked to allow student input into the strategic plan. He said there are students on the development committee, and as with staff, students will be surveyed to identify areas that can be improved and to compile suggestions.
“I think that I would encourage them to look at the strategic plan and see how it can serve students and how we as a university can serve students,” Staben said. “I would encourage all students to take a serious look at that.”
Ryan Locke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org