October Update on Strategic Planning Process

October 18, 2013

Members of the Rutgers Community:

As we enter the final phase of our University-wide strategic planning process, I would like to update you on our overall progress and review the process to date.  I am also attaching a brief presentation that outlines the planning process, presents key initial findings, and gives an overview of how we will use the collective input from the Rutgers community to chart our path forward (the presentation is also available online here).  During the next month, we will also hold information sessions on each of the campuses, where your Chancellor will provide a detailed briefing on the first three stages of the planning process and outline our next steps, which will include preparing for campus-level strategic planning next spring.  I encourage you to attend these information sessions and to continue to participate in the planning process through the many avenues available, the details of which can be found on the strategic planning website.  The plan that we submit to the Boards at the end of this semester should represent the collective voice of our entire University community, and we want to ensure that everyone has ample opportunity to contribute.

The strategic planning process proceeded in four stages, all of which are designed around extensive participation of our students, faculty, and staff on all three campuses, and our alumni: gathering facts and information; developing and testing the initial strategy; refining the framework; and finalizing the strategic plan.  This process is summarized in the first section of the attached presentation, along with summaries of our first two external scans and our surveys, and we have provided URLs that link to the full archived material for those who wish to dig deeper.  The presentation also includes a brief chronicle of how the plan has evolved in response to your input and your collective efforts.  Following this overview is a critical section that reviews new data on external academic demand and Rutgers’ ranking among our peers.  Here again, a link to the detailed data archive is provided.  This material was discussed in depth at our third Steering Committee Retreat in September.  Finally, the presentation outlines how the overall plan will come together, and it includes the guiding principles that underlie the plan. 

Our strategic planning website provides a portal for up-to-date feedback from the University community, and the site has had thousands of unique visitors since December.  Most importantly, responses from Rutgers stakeholders on this site and through other avenues have helped us refine the plan on an ongoing basis.  Though some members of our community have expressed reservations about the extensiveness of the process, we are a University of nearly 100,000 people on three campuses—and over 400,000 alumni worldwide—and the extent of participation by you and your colleagues has exceeded expectations. 

This fall, we began the final stage of the planning process by forming 13 committees—totaling more than 400 faculty, students, and staff—to discuss in detail the specific pillars, foundational elements, and themes for academic distinction that are central to our plan.  The committees started meeting in September, and they will complete their reports by the end of October.  To facilitate participation on all three campuses, we have provided high-definition video conferencing sites at each campus.  The sessions are also being recorded online, so any member of the committee unable to attend a specific meeting can view the session later.  Groups of deans, faculty, staff, and students are providing ongoing feedback on the work of the committees.  We held our third Steering Committee Retreat on September 25, during which the school deans and over 150 faculty, students, and staff provided final feedback on our mission, vision, and values; discussed an extensive report on Rutgers’ academic ranking; and provided input on “Envisioning tomorrow’s university,” a pillar in the strategic framework that had been substantially redefined as the result of collective feedback.

We will hold our fourth and final Steering Committee Retreat on October 30 to review the input from our 13 committees and from other open sessions.  Following the retreat, we will begin compiling the final strategic plan documents for submission to the Boards in December.  As always, I encourage you to remain engaged as we work together to finalize the plan.  Please visit the strategic planning website regularly for updates and to provide ongoing feedback, and, again, I encourage you to attend the information sessions being held on all three campuses during the next month.

Once this plan is submitted to the Boards, the respective Chancellors will oversee the detailed campus, division, and school planning beginning next spring.  To aid the efforts on your respective campuses, we will provide you with the reports we have been generating during the University-wide planning process, detailed analysis of the internal and external data we have been collecting, and the suggestions for related initiatives that have been generated by our committees and working groups.

I believe this is perhaps the most exciting time to be at Rutgers University, and I look forward to working together as we finalize our University-wide strategic plan this fall and to beginning the planning process for the individual campuses, divisions, and schools in the New Year.


Bob Barchi