Update on the Strategic Planning Process

May 16, 2013

Members of the Rutgers Community:

With Commencement approaching, I am writing to update you on the universitywide strategic planning process and to announce that we will be taking a pause from this process over the summer.  

As I will state in my informal interim report to the Boards of Governors and Trustees in June, we have made excellent progress, thanks to the strong participation of literally thousands of you in our strategic planning surveys, meetings, interviews, and retreats. From these conversations, as well as our research on trends in higher education and on Rutgers’ strengths and gaps relative to our peers and aspirant universities, the rough outlines of a strategy are beginning to take shape. 

With your input, we have articulated an overarching aspiration for Rutgers – “to be broadly recognized as among the best public universities: preeminent in research, excellent in teaching, and committed to community.” In support of this aspiration, we have developed a framework, depicted as a Greek temple, with both broad goals and foundational elements that must be in place to support our quest for institutional excellence. 

We are now forming approximately 15 committees composed of faculty, students, staff, and alumni to discuss in greater depth each of the goals, foundational elements, and themes for academic distinction that have been identified thus far. The committees will also recommend priorities among the 28 proposed goals and 172 proposed initiatives that have been suggested during the past six months of information gathering. 

Rather than rush these discussions, we will break for the summer and prepare to engage in intensive strategic planning in September and October so that we can present a plan for Board approval in December. In addition to the committees’ work, we will hold town hall meetings, focus groups, and departmental discussions in the fall to provide opportunities for you to voice your thoughts and concerns. Our adjusted timing will also provide greater opportunities for input from colleagues joining us from UMDNJ on July 1.

Interest in the plan is palpable across all of our campuses. We have received more than 14,000 survey responses, conducted more than 135 one-on-one interviews, and interacted with thousands of others through town hall meetings, advisory and focus groups, faculty forums, departmental and University Senate discussions, and the website. We also brought together approximately 200 leaders in two strategic retreats to wrestle with some of the core issues that the plan will address. This profoundly collaborative and inclusive effort has generated critical insights and productive dialogue about the issues most important to the community. 

Several common themes have emerged from these conversations, and we will soon post a synthesis of these themes on the strategic planning website. The website already contains a wealth of important information, including the strategic planning framework, summaries of the survey results and departmental discussions, and the proposed goals and initiatives, as well as our research on higher education trends and background materials prepared for our retreats. 

As always, your continued involvement is critical. Please take advantage of the numerous occasions this fall to play a role in shaping our university’s future. Have a safe and enjoyable summer, and I look forward to picking up our work again in September. 


Bob Barchi