Strategic Planning Committee Meeting
Ockinga Conference Room
February 14, 2001 - 3 p.m.
James Roark, Barbara Audley, Gordon Bennett, Charles Bicak, Mike Bohnhoff, Elsie Cafferty, David Clark, Bruce Elder, Ben Homan, Roger Jones, Larry Kuskie, Kathy Livingston, Peter Longo, Debbie Schroeder, Jim Scott, Michael Sumpter, and Annabell Zikmund
Betty Jo Armagost, Paul Bishop, Roger Davis, Kent Estes, Randy Haack, Marilyn Hadley, William Lewis, John Oseth, James Rundstrom, and Ryan Samuelson
James Roark called the meeting to order.
He reported to the Committee that all campuses of the University of Nebraska have been working diligently to compile a list of priority programs that will be presented to President Smith and the Regents. UNL has already released their list. UNK deans are to have their recommendations for prioritization of programs to Roark today. The next step will be to synthesize the recommendations of the deans and draft a list of UNK priorities. The Strategic Planning Committee and other campus groups will have a chance for input prior to the proposed list going to Chancellor Johnston.
Roark then asked James Scott, Political Science Chair, how the prioritization process was handled in his department and asked for recommendations for making the process easier.
Scott thought the data provided by Bohnhoff and Livingston was easily accessible and understood, extremely helpful, and easy to relate to an indicator. Last fall, Political Science started collecting budget material. They strove to have something specific to report for every indicator. The top priorities included centrality to mission, need and demand, and quality of teaching. Scholarship and research were next in importance. At least half of the report was devoted to first three criteria. Scott felt there was value to the department by collating this data. He questioned the accuracy of the mailing list -- 300 were sent, 150 were returned. Scott informed the committee that 26 of 26 Political Science graduates have been accepted to graduate or law schools.
Jones said the UN Foundation phone-a-thon lists are divided by College. That data on alums, etc., is available to that College.
Format of the reports were discussed. Roark has heard that UNL were told to submit one paragraph on the highlights of programs and UNO has asked for more than 10 pages to make program cases for priority. Livingston said she could have supplied a format, but felt that by not supplying one, the departments were given more flexibility and would use more space on their respective highlights.
Scott stated that In the Political Science department, he authored the first draft of the report. Then all faculty members were engaged by reviewing the draft. Faculty members were given tasks related to the report: one member did senior surveys; another did alumni surveys, etc. Then, everyone edited and commented on the final draft.
Charles Bicak, Chair of the Department of Biology commended Jim Rundstrom for his tremendous help with alumni. Bicak felt that one of the strongest challenges was to compress the information into the allotted 10-page format. He agreed that the report is best written by one person and shared with colleagues for input. His opinion was that there was tremendous in-house usefulness to the department. The data would provide an annual update and will make 5-years APR will be much easier.
Elder asked if departments participated on a voluntary basis? He also wondered if Central Administration was viewing this year as a trial run.
Roark said departments were given the choice of whether or not to prepare the report. Roark sees this exercise as a "report card" opportunity for departments, showing programmatic or behavioral changes needed within the departments. Information will probably be used for the North Central* reaccreditation visit. The core of priority programs will be in place for a long time. However, there must be room for programs not on a list at this time. There is really no clear signal on the process, although prioritization will be around for a while.
Bennett, Chair of the Council of Chairs reported that the Council would be meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss this topic.
Zikmund asked if all the deans would use the same format for their reports. Zikmund was concerned that the dean wrote the report before the received input from the chairs. She hoped the process could be made more uniform with more input from departments.
Roark left the format of the report and the collection of the data to the deans. He asked Dean Harrold to describe his procedure for compiling the report.
Livingston sent data first to the deans, then to department chairs. Her goal for next time is to put the information on the Web.
NSS Chairs supplied information to Dean Harrold, and he kept departments apprised of what he needed throughout the semester. Seven NSS departments decided to participate in the process. Harrold had several short meetings after NSS Council of Chairs meetings where the chairs supplied input and helped him obtain or clarify needed information.
Kuskie felt the exercise was a good learning process. In their department, faculty had to pick one of three programs. Each faculty had to write a 3-page case; then they voted on one program (not their own). Kuskie felt it would have been better to present the entire Industrial Technology Department as the program.
Livingston suggested that we might need to review our indicators to see if they stand the test.
Roark plans to review and refine the process to make it easier and better.
Roark asked the committee if they had seen the UNL List of Priorities. It included 102 programs. Audley noted they did not include solely academic programs, and even included some programs that don't exist. Jones wondered if the general public views the list that reflects an institution that doesn't have a clear concept of their direction. Homan asked why UNL released their list prior to the other campus. Scott advised that President Smith had asked that the list be directed to him. Smith and Lee Jones would then review the reports. He also notices some of the UNL "programs" were in essence projects. Clark added that the campuses were asked for their top 20-25% of programs. It was Bicak's opinion that the early release of the list ruined President Smith's opportunity to show the University could monitor itself with CCEPE intervention. Elder noticed that graduate programs were stressed in the UNL list.
Sumpter related that Athletics is going through a prioritization process also. Consultants have stressed they have outside customers, some of whom are part of a very emotional constituency, and cutting programs may bring varied repercussions. They listed 6-7 themes to describe how Athletics was to be known, in essence prioritizing our programs. They are checking commitments to student athletes, a financial-driven assessment. UNK has a greater percent of student athletes than any other UN campus. Sumpter says that if students were not getting financial aid, the programs would be in the black. To comply with Title IX, UNK has self-constrained male rosters. There seems to be increased interest in women's soccer, and this is an addition UNK is seriously considering.
Bicak advised that in these days of budget cuts, in order to keep internships available for Biology students, they are considering seeking corporate sponsorships.
The next meeting will be held in the Warner conference on Monday, March 19, at 3 p.m. Meeting was adjourned.
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