Road Map Steering Committee gets progress report
December 23, 2013Tweet
The Road Map Steering Committee met the third week in December to review the progress of 46 proposals that were selected earlier this year to move the campus forward. Each Road Map proposal is sponsored by a vice president, and the committee, which is meeting quarterly, was hearing updates for the first time.
The Steering Committee is divided into five subcommittees, each focusing on one of the Road Map’s five strategic priorities: creative activities, learning community, inclusive campus, global impact and strategic investments.
“This is really our public face that will keep people understanding that we’re making progress,” President Harvey Stenger told the committee. The Road Map website has summaries of each of the 46 projects. (Click on the Strategic Priorities in the horizontal navigation.) The site indicates the status of each project with a green, yellow or red line. Green projects are on schedule, yellow may be behind schedule and red are not being pursued.
Strategic Priority 1 (SP1): “…engage in path-breaking graduate education, research, scholarship and creative activities that shape the world.”
Vice President for Research Bahgat Sammakia spoke of the “broad, high-level and exciting mission that we can’t accomplish on our own. We need everyone’s help.”
All 11 projects under strategic priority one have made progress, Sammakia said. “The PhD (SP1.8: Raise the majority of PhD programs to the 50th percentile or above) is yellow, not because we’re behind, but because it’s very important that activities will be across all of the strategic priority targets and we need to spend more time on it.”
Harpur College Dean Anne McCall reviewed many of the projects under SP1, also commenting on the recruitment of PhD students. “These are not short-term goals,” she said. “We’ve been told we have more applicants than last fall and consider it a great preliminary response.”
McCall noted that joining the Association of American Universities “is our biggest stretch goal, but it’s green because we are where we thought we would be at this time.
“We need to see if it’s realistic for us, but we’re working to figure out exactly what it will take. All of our work to support PhD students, programs and faculty research will some day make it so we can be a serious AAU candidate.”
Strategic Priority 2 (SP2): “…provide a transformative learning community that prepares students for advanced education, careers and purposeful living.”
“It takes a large village to build a road map,” said S.G. Grant, “and Strategic Priority 2 includes quite an array of projects … everything from in-class to out-of-class experiences, academic advising, technology. It’s all about teaching and learning.”
All 11 of the SP2 projects are on schedule, he noted, and include critical staff support for AV and the Center for Learning and Teaching.
“Graduate student success – the notion of metrics and figuring out ways to know if something is actually changing is critical to this,” Grant said. “Great strides have been taken, there’s more to come…we’ll be back.”
Strategic Priority 3 (SP3): “…unite to foster a diverse and inclusive campus culture.”
“With four projects, this priority may appear a little easier on the face of it, but the complications come underneath,” said Valerie Hampton, chief diversity officer. “We’re moving along.
“We’ve made progress in adaptive technology, the kinds of things that have to go into making sure the education we provide is completely accessible,” she said. “And we’re looking at what diversity and inclusion looks like and working to develop a campus climate survey.
“The one thing we don’t have is data about what our campus is experiencing. We first need to assess who we are,” she said. “Getting that information will allow us to design programs that are effective for us.”
To gather that information, Hampton and her team have been developing a campus climate survey, which will be distributed in the spring. “That will help us determine where we are and what initiatives we will be putting into place.”
Susan Strehle, dean of the Graduate School, spoke about the one SP3 project in yellow (SP3.4: Explore increasing scholarships to aid recruiting diverse students, undergrad and graduate). “We need more money for scholarships for minority students,” she said. “There is a lot of interest in Binghamton at conferences and we’re currently 52 percent ahead in applications from where were last year, with most of them in engineering, but we’re seeing increases in every school.
“To recruit more diverse students, we need more Clark Fellowships to support more graduate students,” she said. “We’re bringing in more applicants and need a little more money.”
Strategic Priority 4 (SP4): “…enhance the University’s economic, social and cultural impact through engagement from the local to the global level.”
Much has been accomplished for the eight projects under SP4, though one project is not being pursued, said Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing Greg Delviscio. “We’ve enhanced the economic, social and cultural impact and done it in a variety of ways so far,” he said. “Web content diversification, international recruitment, consistency of brand. These are all on track except creation of the global center is in its discussion phases and the Bearcat Dens are not started. After an initial study, for sheer lack of funding they are in a stalled phase. No funding or staffing would make them difficult to achieve.”
However, strides have been made. A number of initiatives have begun to enhance brand visibility in a consistent and clear manner, said Delviscio. “Over the fall, we convened five task forces working across campus, divisions and departments to develop integrated strategies,” he said.”We’ve run a series of promotional ads in the Chronicle of Higher Education and a series of postcards to provosts and presidents specifically about the Obama visit, our TAE (Transdiscipinary Areas of Excellence) structure, smart energy and one soon on the research happening on our campus.”
On the international front, a recruiter has been hired to better connect with China. “He’s a social media whiz and he is adept at using Chinese social media,” said Delviscio. “He spent most of the fall in China and admissions is also partnering with other offices to hire in-country representatives in India and China.”
“We’re strengthening study abroad opportunities and in terms of looking at the infrastructure to support it and need a more sophisticated structure for enrollment management,” said Katharine Krebs, vice provost for international affairs. “We’re working with ITS to get international enrollment management software and will be implementing that soon.
“We also need a study-abroad coordinator, and are first strengthening our faculty-led program,” she said, mentioning a recent successful grant from the German government to take STEM students with group of faculty to Germany.
“The Global Center, when it moves forward, will be in what is currently the computing center,” said Krebs, “so space needs refurbishing and the ITS staff needs to be relocated. Preliminary planning is under way and we’re at a point where Physical Facilities will look at offices and units that might move there and begin more specific planning for the units themselves and the concept of a global center.”
Strategic Priority 5 (SP5): “…optimize the acquisition of human, technological, financial and physical resources.”
“This is where all the yellow ink went,” joked Vice President for Administration James Van Voorst. “Our overall goal is to optimize resources, and when think about that broad goal, you’re never going to be green,” he said. “You don’t do that overnight. It takes time.
“We need to know what people want to do, and have to have the answer before we can move forward,” he added. “Are we behind? No. We’re just not running down the road. You want to do it right, it takes time. So these projects are all being worked on. There’s activity on every one of the items. It’s just a matter of are we ready to say here’s our next step, here’s our timeframe. Not yet.”
One big success for SP5 is getting creating two classrooms in time for the fall 2013 semester in the old Dickinson Community. Van Voorst said there are a number of additional on-track construction projects to increase and improve instructional space on campus. “There are a host of opportunities,” he said. “We just need some funds to do them.”
Another initiative has been supporting for diversity, Van Voorst said. “We’ve given them $20,000 for a fellowship program to identify an individual to come onto campus for two years and learn how higher education operates and they’ll be guaranteed a job. We’re also doing more outreach for Physical Facilities positions, reaching out more to be more diverse.”
Broadband and increased bandwith is done, Van Voorst said, and we’re moving ahead with the search for a vice president for advancement, so there’s lots happening.
“Our overall status shows movement on all the projects and overall we’re really looking good,” Van Voorst said. “The success of many of our projects depends upon how things come through for other projects. Dollars and space and technological support have to be there. Outside factors will impact activity.”
The Steering Committee will continue to receive quarterly reports, said Stenger, who expects metrics for measuring success to be set by the March 2014 meeting. “Before then, we’ll have 10-15 key metrics − graduation rate is the biggest number everyone is looking at right now, but 10-15 others are just as important and I have to take time to decide what those are,” he said. “We also need to feel comfortable to say what’s next? We have lots of cylinders firing, 46 projects, plus the TAEs and all the budgeting behind it.
“Are we getting confident? Does this process help us or is there another way? If we’re so good and we’re doing this, why can’t we go higher faster? he asked. “We’ll need another round of projects. In 15-16, if we’re on our current plan and tuition schedule, we’ll have one more additional round of Road Map funding of $1.7 million continuous dollars.”
That next round of funding would span July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, with project selection by the June 2014 meeting, Stenger said.
“So what’s the take-away from all of this?” asked Stenger. “That we’re making good progress. It’s working!”