Faculty Update and Clarification on Strategic Planning

December 21, 2012

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

As you finish up the work of the fall semester and get ready for the winter break, I am writing to give a brief recap of where we are in the strategic planning process. First, however, I want to clarify the role of our faculty and the role of the consulting firm the university has hired. 

Some colleagues have expressed their concern that faculty would not have a central role in the formation of our universitywide strategy, and nothing could be further from the truth. I want to make clear that you are absolutely essential to the process. Further, I want you to know that we have engaged the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to help gather information, organize the logistics of the town meetings, forums, and other consultative events that are part of the process, and manage data flow. However, BCG is not here to provide our vision for the future—that is our job, and I need your active involvement.

As you know, the announcement I sent earlier this month began the strategic planning process. Since then, surveys have been sent to our governing board members, and we have set up a dedicated website to gather input from the university community. The heavy lifting will happen after you return for the new semester. At that point, we will be working closely with you to develop the strategic plan, which will chart a course for the university for the next 10-15 years.

Starting as soon as the spring semester begins, we will be gathering your feedback in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Departmental faculty meetings: We will ask each department to think about Rutgers' current state and future aspirations in a structured manner. You will have a few weeks to meet with your departmental colleagues and discuss these crucial topics. We will provide further information before the meetings are to take place in order to encourage very effective and focused discussions.
  • Surveys: We will distribute faculty-specific surveys to every member of the faculty to gain a holistic and deep view of your perspective.
  • Advisory groups: We will create an advisory group of faculty from all three campuses, along with similar groups of deans, staff, and students. These advisory groups will engage in ongoing communication with the strategic planning steering committee.
  • Focus groups: We will conduct focus groups to generate ideas, raise concerns, and contribute to the university's strategic vision.

While these efforts will not commence until late January, it’s not too soon to ask for your help. During the winter break, I hope you will spend some time thinking about the universitywide strategy for Rutgers, our starting position, and our aspirations for the future.

The strategic plan will incorporate the thoughts of people across Rutgers, but the faculty voice—from the arts and humanities to the sciences to the professional schools—is particularly critical because the work you do is at the heart of everything we are all about. The faculty are the core of the university, and generating the vision for the university’s academic future is, in turn, a core responsibility of the faculty. We cannot be effective as a university without your active and thoughtful involvement in shaping our vision and strategy.

Francis and I wish you a happy holiday season, and I look forward to working with you on this important project in the New Year.


Bob Barchi