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Office of the Provost and
M E M O R A N D U M
Thank you for agreeing to serve on the UNM Strategic Planning Task Force. There is no more important service you could perform for the University at this time. We hope that it will be possible for the Task Force to meet before the summer begins in order to set some basic directions for the planning process and to set in motion some background work by administrators and staff over the summer. Below is the charge to the Task Force, including general guidelines for both the process and the form of the plan; attached are more detailed notes on how we envision the form the plan should take.
The Task Force is responsible for developing the 2001 version of the UNM Strategic Plan. The group is composed of select members from diverse areas of the University. The group's membership does not "cover" the institution, however, and, in fact, members were chosen not to "represent" units or constituencies, rather to bring diverse perspectives to the planning process. A membership list is attached to this letter.
Most generally, the Task Force is charged to engage the campus community and diverse stakeholders in a thoughtful discussion of where the University is, where it should go, and how it should get there. It should work closely with the President, vice
presidents, deans, and faculty, students, and staff to design the planning process, to rest commission and coordinate the work of various committees, and to craft a coherent, forward looking, and realistic plan. Within one year, the plan should be submitted to the President, who will then initiate an appropriate process for final approval and implementation. We urge the Task Force to work with the President to develop a timeline for the process as soon as possible.
We ask the Task Force to design a planning process with reference to the following set of general guidelines. There are two broad general principles that must be kept in mind at all times:
The process must be maximally Inc lusive, involving the University community (faculty, staff, and students at Albuquerque and the Branches and Centers) as fully as possible, as well as a wide variety of stakeholders, including donors, employers of our graduates, parents, government agencies, political leaders, regents, CHE, professional associations, and others with an interest in the University of New Mexico.
The plan should build on a broad range of previous strategic effortsthough they may not have been called "planning"-that have given rise to many and considerable successes at UNM. Major centers, strong academic programs, research collections, and other accomplishments form the foundation for future success. We urge the Task Force to collect the results of such planning activities early in its process and to build explicitly on these successes while carefully folding them into a coherent institutional plan.
Much of the work for the planning process will be done by committees that will be established and charged by the Task Force, working closely with the President. These committees will be an important mechanism for broadly engaging the university committee and other stakeholders. Early in the process, the Task Force should form committees to do an environmental scan, an analysis of the University's major strengths and limitations, and a statement of the University's core values. These committees' reports will provide the basis for assessing where the University is now and how it is positioned for the future.
As mentioned above, early in the process the Task Force also should inventory and evaluate the many products of planning and strategic thinking done at UNM over at least the past five years. Such products will include major center grant proposals, campus budget proposals, the Master Plan, UNM 2000, the work of the Undergraduate Task Force, the paper on Graduate Enrollments by the Senate Graduate Committee, and so on. It is critical that the strategic plan build on these thoughtful planning efforts.
The Task Force should
consider UNM's vision and mission statements in the light of these early
committees' reports, working with the president and vice presidents to
propose modifications as appropriate.
Very broadly, the plan should be resource neutral for the institution as a whole except where clear and credible potential exists to expand the resource base.
Although the campus community and the University's many stakeholders w be engaged throughout the process, it is important that a near-final version of the plan be circulated broadly for comment, that the comments be considered carefully, and that the draft be modified accordingly before the final version is published.
Finally, it is important that the plan be completed as expeditiously as possible-no more than one year from the appointment of the Task Force. There is broad agreement on campus that a serious and realistic plan is necessary if we are to move forward in the way that we all wish.
The plan should be "layered" in the sense that its main parts are identified with a small number of (perhaps half a dozen) "strategic directions;" each of these strategic directions should be more concretely defined by several 44 objectives." Each objective, in turn, should be made operational through several "tactics." Together the objectives and tactics provide (a) a blueprintfor moving the University in the various strategic directions, and (b) a basis for measuring progress in implementing our plan. (See the attached "Notes" for more on the notions of "strategic directions," 14 objectives," and "tactics.")
The Plan itself should
be based on the revised vision and mission statements and a statement
of the University's core values. The University's strategic directions
should flow naturally from these
The Plan should encompass
all major elements of the University of New Mexico-e.g., instructional,
research, institutional advancement, outreach and service functions; the
main campus, Health Sciences, and the branches and centers; business,
student, and academic affairs; campus-based activity and the Extended
The plan arises from a rich social, economic, cultural, and institutional context outside of which the plan itself is not very meaningful. The plan should be published together with a set of essays that articulate this context-e.g., essays addressing such topics as the University's core values, what UNM stands for in undergraduate education, and on the University's role in the Albuquerque community and the state.
The Task Force will be supported by senior staff from several areas, including Business Affairs and Institutional Research. This staff support will be coordinated by Mark Chisolm and Max Kerlin.
Again, thank you for agreeing to serve on this important committee. We look forward to working with you over the next year.
2000 The University of New Mexico.