Augusta University

Provost Perspective: Education Mission Strategic Plan

As many of you know, we’ve reached the comment and discussion phase of the Education Mission Strategic Plan, the document that will serve to map our educational priorities for the next four years.

For some, this won’t be the first time you’ve brushed up against the plan. After a comprehensive data-gathering period where we combed through our library of resources and amassed a considerable amount of homegrown material to which we later added additional strategic planning information from other institutions and scholarly publications, we assembled a series of focus groups. Over the past nine months, these groups, which included the Deans Council, the Provost Cabinet, as well as more than 100 individual faculty and staff members, worked to produce the draft plan which is currently posted on the Provost’s website for review and comment.

Link to plan here.

Now, it’s time to hear from you.

Though I have emailed most of the faculty and staff, I encourage everyone who is aligned with the academic affairs of this institution, including all the service units, to give it a serious look and let us know what you think.

We will be taking comments through April 23 and hope to have a final version by May 30, though it could possibly drift into June, given the large number of moving parts.

This education mission plan, combined with forthcoming research and clinical mission plans, will form the tripartite missions of the institution, and while they may be independent plans, they are by no means intended to stand alone. They are very interrelated, and together, these plans will flesh out in more detail what has already been heralded at a higher level in the university’s strategic plan, “Transition Forward.”

“Transition Forward” was formulated following a similar process to the one used in the development of this education mission plan and was completed in rapid fashion as part of the work leading up to consolidation. With “Transition Forward” solidly in place, we’re ready to build on it with these mission plans and then with unit and college-level plans.

Is the timeline flowing as orderly as we’d like it to, with “Transition Forward” cascading to the mission plans and then to the unit and college-level plans? The short answer is no. Modern life is a moving target, and rarely do things run in the perfectly orderly fashion we’d like them to, especially when it comes to planning. Because of accreditation reasons, for example, some of the colleges have already created relatively up-to-date strategic plans of their own. The mission plan will in no way conflict with these. In fact, we’re actually taking advantage of them to help inform the mission planning.

Eventually, however, the plans will fall into a cycle where everything is synchronized in the right order. The four-year mission plans will dovetail with the longer-range goals of the strategic plan, with the unit and college-level plans changing more frequently to reflect the real-time campus realities.

What you’ll find when you click on the draft plan is a list of the assumptions we began with – that we will have targeted and limited new resources during this time, that student enrollment will increase incrementally, that we are in a state of transitioning to more selective undergraduate admission standards – followed by the four strategic focus areas: student success, curriculum and pedagogy, academic programs and reputation, and culture and engagement. Click on any one of those and start or join the discussion. Because your input is an important part of this process.

Admittedly, one of the challenges for strategic planning is determining the scope. No matter who you talk with or who you get perspectives from, everyone has a little different feel for what it should include. That’s why we want to get as much input as we can – so we can accurately understand the common themes that are resonating with our academic community and then synthesize those messages into a final document.

While some might look at this plan and conclude it’s not granular enough, I want to stress that it’s important to remember that the goal of the mission plan is to broadly state the goals and objectives, not get lost in the weeds with too many details.

Remember, it’s a strategy, not a catalog of every single tactic we plan to use.

Lastly, I’d like to express my appreciation to everyone who brought us to this point and to all those who will move us on from here. Our progress as an institution is directly proportional to our commitment as individuals, and everywhere I look, I see people rolling up their sleeves and joining together to make GRU the very best it can be.

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