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Why strategic planning now?

Some on campus have asked about the prospect of strategic planning in a year of uncertainty created by the global pandemic. The pandemic context has indeed increased the pressure on Boise State to deliver on its essential mission of teaching, research, and service to enhance student success. There is a lot, as everyone is aware, going on right now, both at the university, in the nation, and across the world. In our Boise State context, the value of a strategic planning process is that it allows the entire campus to participate in a conversation about how the university emerges from the immediate challenges of the pandemic while also planning for the longer-term direction of Boise State. 

How does the strategic planning process relate to other initiatives on campus as well as program prioritization?

Strategic planning can be thought about as a governance mechanism that encapsulates and coordinates various important initiatives on campus. The strategic planning process and accompanying goals provides the overarching strategic direction for the university. It guides how the university sets new activities and executes on pre-existing activities. For example, efforts toward the Grand Challenges in the research arena and the recently launched innovation website support the respective goals Advance Research and Creative Activity and Pursue Innovation. Once the university plan is finalized, other plans or initiatives at the unit level, department level, college or division level will have an opportunity to align with the university’s strategic direction.

Program prioritization is a compulsory process of the State Board of Education for all Idaho universities. Universities are required to complete a program prioritization process by June 30, 2021 and repeat this process at least every five years with regular annual updates to the Board. The Board also explicitly requires universities to “integrate program prioritization into their respective strategic planning, programming (academic and nonacademic) and budgeting processes.” Program prioritization is designed to increase alignment of resources with mission and the strategic plan and priorities of an institution, and help make informed decisions through conducting a careful evaluation of programs and services.

Do we have the budget resources to meet the strategic plan? 

Boise State experienced budget cuts from the state and has done contingency exercises in the event of more cuts. Leaner times do not stop the need for direction and priorities to advance the university. The strategic plan will provide a transparent, shared set of criteria against which units and divisions can prioritize their budgets and activities. The alternative is ad hoc budget decisions without clear direction or prioritization.

How did the strategic planning framework emerge? 

The vision and goals derive from six goalposts that President Tromp formed as a reflection of what she learned and heard about Boise State during her time as a presidential candidate and during her months-long listening tours with both the Boise State community and external stakeholders. The original goalposts circulated on campus in early 2020, and Dr. Tromp formally articulated them in a letter to campus on May 1, 2020. During the summer, the goals also inspired the draft mission and vision statements. These statements emerged from conversations among the strategic planning steering committee, and in the coming months the campus has opportunity for feedback on the strategic planning framework through forums, focus groups, and an all-campus survey.

What is the timeline for strategic planning?

The timeline remains flexible and is subject to change. 

  • September 2020: strategic planning framework released to campus
  • October 2020: the campus community reviews and provides feedback on the strategic planning framework via focus groups, open forums, town halls. 
  • November 2020: a campus-wide survey on the strategic planning framework is released to campus and remains open for two weeks.
  • December 2020: focus groups, open forums and survey results and feedback analyzed. By late December, the strategic planning steering committee drafts a report summarizing feedback and strategy ideas.