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DeFleur reconvenes strategic planning council

By : Katie Ellis

Whether you are an individual or an organization, to get to where you want to be in life requires setting goals and formulating a plan to reach them.

Binghamton University has had such a plan in place for more than a decade now, and it hasn’t remained static. In fact, the University’s Plan for the Future has gone through formal updates and is currently undergoing another one.

President Lois B. DeFleur has reconvened the Strategic Planning Council to spearhead the update process. “This effort will allow the University to strategize and plan our future direction in a number of areas,” DeFleur said. “We must look at our resources and what we want to accomplish so we can continue to provide a high-quality educational experience and meet the expectations of our students.

“We’re also preparing for SUNY’s 2004 Mission Review process and the work done by the council is vital to that process,” DeFleur said.

“We’re not changing our underlying goals,” said Mary Ann Swain, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who is chairing the council. “We’re still focused on how to grow, how to advance graduate education and research and how to maintain excellence in undergraduate education but we’re looking at how to flavor the emphases within those goals.”

The council has been broken into subcommittees to target six key areas: University size and mix, extending research and scholarship, the mix of traditional and distributed, public service and outreach, resources (entrepreneurship) and campus work environment. “Each subcommittee is currently figuring out the best way to gather information for their particular issue,” Swain said. “And at the same time, we want to gather input through our Web site ( We encourage everyone to provide comments and suggestions.”

Each subcommittee is addressing three general questions: what should we be in this strategic plan in five years; what do we preserve from the present plan; and what are our new goals and directions? The council is comprised of a mix of longtime and newer employees, as well as a graduate and an undergraduate student. Laura Bronstein, assistant professor in the School of Education and Human Development, is one newer member to campus. She was involved in a similar planning group for a school of social work at University at Albany but never for an entire university.

“We need to develop our plan from input from the community and the campus,” Bronstein said. “It’s a huge undertaking and we’re trying to be as strategic and thoughtful as we can.”

Swain said the timeline for completion of the plan update is to be determined, but the group is attempting to advance it thoughtfully and expeditiously.

When ready, “major ideas will go to the entire University community for response, as will a draft of the text,” Swain said. “We’ll also put it on the web and notify everyone that they can review it. We also typically send it to the Faculty Senate and the Professional Employees Council.”

Once the update is complete, Swain said it would continue to be an overall blueprint for assisting the University to advance in its most broad-reaching goals. “Our Plan for the Future helps us focus the attention of the entire campus on what we think will work, it helps in decision making about whether we should pursue certain opportunities, and it will help support decision making about how we use our resources.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08