Bell charges committee with strategic planning priorities

By July 1, TTU and the Tennessee Board of Regents will enter a new strategic planning period for 2010-2015.

That requires an updated strategic plan — the document that will help define policy, set directions, and establish priorities for our campus.

A large committee was assembled last fall to begin the strategic planning process while at the same time providing input on the more immediate issues of budget planning. That has been a difficult task considering the momentous changes affecting the state’s higher education systems in the past several months, said TTU President Bob Bell.

“We are facing the most drastic budget reductions in our university’s history while at the same time adjusting to recent changes in state law that will affect funding and outcomes for higher education,” Bell said. “That makes developing a planning document for the next five years an interesting challenge to say the least.”

Bell charged Claire Stinson, vice president for Business and Planning, to lead the planning effort. In doing so, he emphasized the importance of a strong strategic plan that will ultimately guide the university’s actions related to budget decisions, capital space allocation, and setting priorities for the academic master plan and the upcoming capital campaign, among others.

“Developing a well-thought-out and comprehensive strategic plan is one of the most important things our university can do,” Bell stressed. “It is not easy. Difficult decisions must be made. While the plan we develop is designed for the next five years, the strategic decisions we make must go far beyond then. They will have a dramatic impact on our university.”

Bell provided the committee with planning assumptions and identified topics he would like to see addressed in the plan.

Along with maintaining the university’s commitment to the life-long success of its students, TTU must also protect its core processes in teaching and learning. And while budgets can be expected to remain austere, the university must move forward with innovative new programs and initiatives, Bell said.

An increased emphasis on graduation and retention rates must frame much of the planning, he stressed, along with continued enrollment growth and a commitment to maintaining academic quality.

In a memo to the committee, Bell urged the committee to plan for new initiatives related to

“These are just some initial ideas for helping us move forward in our discussions,” Bell stressed. “I know others—especially the academic units—will propose other exciting initiatives, and I look forward to working with everyone to develop this new comprehensive plan.”