Affirming Our Promises — Campus-Wide Strategic Planning Process


At its regular meeting on Oct. 9, 2019, The University of Akron Board of Trustees passed a resolution directing us to work together to prepare an institutional strategic plan for the next three to five years for presentation to the Board in June 2020. With this action, the Board is expressing its deep optimism and confidence in the future of the University along with its determination to work with us to chart an exciting path to the future.

Related: Affirming Our Promises – Strategic Planning Process

This action by the Board presents us with an important opportunity to build on what we have learned from the three-year planning process, the Administrative Activities Review and other initiatives and reports to embrace a vision for the University, clarify our mission, and focus our attention on initiatives and priorities that move the University forward over the next three to five years.

As I outlined in comments to the Faculty Senate and the University Council, our plan must include the following features:

  • Reinforce and support our mission as an urban research university;
  • Hold true to our commitment to the success of all students (undergraduate, graduate and all others);
  • Emphasize our academic strengths and establish a select number of prioritized goals linked to the financial model;
  • Include a holistic enrollment strategy to encompass all types of students throughout the University;
  • Focus and expand university engagement activities;
  • Be grounded in data and predictive analytics;
  • Link to a time horizon commensurate with our financial realities;
  • Adopt needed efficiencies and reductions, particularly in the short term; and,
  • Be implemented in fall 2020.

In order to meet the aggressive time-line we must begin immediately to implement an inclusive, transparent and efficient planning process. We have erected the Affirming Our Promises website, where you will find a description of the planning process and its relationship to the three-year planning exercise.  The process is designed to afford broad participation while moving efficiently to a conclusion. 

Success will require creative leadership at many levels. I am pleased to announce that Dr. Steve Ash, professor and chair of the Department of Management in the College of Business Administration and Bill Kraus, associate vice president, enrollment management, have accepted key leadership roles. Steve will chair the Strategic Work Group (SWG) and Bill will chair the Enrollment Work Group (EWG) (The work groups are explained in the process document). I am working closely with Steve and Bill to recruit colleagues to these groups.

Please mark the afternoon of Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. to join us in the Jean Hower Taber Student Union for the kick-off of the Affirming Our Promises campus-wide planning process. An invitation will be sent later today. 

The University of Akron is a widely admired urban research university that has made and kept promises to its students, this community and the American Academy for 150 years. The leadership opportunity for all of us now is to work together to plan an exciting future. I very much look forward to the work ahead.

Gary L. Miller
The University of Akron

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