Principles for Planning11/07/2019
Principles for Planning
We are off to a fine start for our planning process to construct a University strategic plan: Affirming Our Promises. The enthusiasm and optimism expressed by so many at the Nov. 5 public launch of this work reveals a strong desire to move forward with confidence and energy.
The goal of this process is to collectively affirm an exciting and important vision of The University of Akron as: a vital urban research university inspired by its people, its promise and its place; a university firmly anchored in a great American city; and a university driven by collaboration, partnership and a steadfast determination to provide opportunity and success to all learners.
Between now and June 2020 we will answer the most important questions before us and make very difficult choices. During this process we can sustain that initial enthusiasm and optimism by dedicating ourselves to common principles to guide our work and, importantly, to imagine the outcome of our collaboration.
I ask us all to embrace four important principles:
First, as we consider the choices before us, let us resolve to maintain and strengthen the collaborative and collegial spirit that nurtures our experiences as scholars, researchers and professionals. Surely, passion will fuel our points of view; but if we are to succeed, we must emerge from this process even more strongly united as colleagues.
Second, while our strategic actions will of necessity focus on some areas more than others, we cannot forget that the power of the University to provide opportunities and create knowledge lies in the great complexity and integration of its programs and people. All programs are essential, even as we focus on the growth of a few in order to set our University on a trajectory of prosperity.
Third, we must promote certain emergent properties found among all complex organizations that successfully navigate difficult times. These properties include: a deeper appreciation for alternative points of view; the realization that heretofore unknown paths forward may appear and merit consideration, and; the merging of disparate imperatives toward the common good.
Most importantly, we must acknowledge that the path we ultimately choose together will disappoint some and encourage others. Our responsibility to the community and our students is to choose a path forward that achieves the greatest overall good.
What, then, might we expect from our work together guided by these principles?
We must imagine a focused plan of strategic activities giving us the best chance for growth and prosperity. A plan with clear goals and measurable results. A plan with shared accountability as well as rewards. A plan that strongly affirms our roots in the City of Akron. A plan that affirms the important promises The University of Akron has made and kept for 150 years.
I am excited to join you in the work ahead of us.
Gary L. Miller
The University of Akron