To members of the OU community,
Apologies for being slow in updating you on the progress of the strategic planning process, but October was a little crazy with my first Board of Trustees meeting, homecoming in Kansas, and the inauguration.
The strategic planning steering committee met for a full-day retreat on Saturday, September 25th with almost all its members in person on the Ottawa campus. Our time together was intense and productive, as we discussed the landscape of American higher education, the problems facing OU, and the hard choices we will need to make in the coming years. We also undertook a classic SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis in small groups.
Immediately following the retreat, the homework for each member of the steering committee was to identify six key themes or issues that needed to drive our planning process going forward. The group submitted 100+ ideas (available on the MyOttawa portal under “Working Groups” in the file “Draft Strategic Planning Themes October 4”) which I subsequently categorized and distilled down into six broad topics: Academic Futures, Affordability and Accessibility, Building Inward, Engaging Outward, One University, and The Student Experience. These topics will drive the activities of the working groups, which will dive more deeply into them and will (over the coming months) solicit broad, grassroots engagement through focus groups, open meetings, listening sessions, surveys, workshops, and other creative means.
The six working groups will include all the members of the steering committee as well as almost 30 additional folks from our campuses (selected based on recommendations from the steering committee). Each working group will be led by two co-facilitators, one from the steering committee and one not; a member of the Cabinet is assigned to each of the working groups, primarily in a support function. Today I am meeting with all the co-facilitators to discuss goals and procedures, and to launch this next, grassroots phase of the strategic planning process. A full listing of the membership of the working groups is available through the portal.
In addition, I led a special strategic planning session of the Board of Trustees on the afternoon of our regular October meeting, leading them through a condensed version of what the steering committee had undertaken in our retreat. It was an engaged and substantive conversation, and (happily) the Board focused in on many of the same issues that the steering committee had.
Please keep watch over the coming weeks for opportunities to participate directly in the strategic planning process through the activities of the working groups. This will be the time for all members of the community to bring their voices, bright ideas, concerns, questions, experience, hopes, and dreams to the making of our five-year roadmap for Ottawa University. The plan will only be strong and successful if everyone contributes now to a collective vision for what this institution can (and will) be.
Thank you all in advance for being an active part of our strategic plan.
Previous Letter from the CEO
Letter - 9/9/21