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Eye on the Future

The strategic planning process takes a big step forward this week as Chancellor Randy Woodson convenes a campus forum on Thursday to review reports from nine task forces recommending far-reaching changes that could affect virtually every aspect of life at NC State, from the courses freshmen are required to take to the way money is allocated across campus.

But these changes aren’t written in stone. In fact, the chancellor has a homework assignment for you: Read the white papers and share your feedback, online or at Thursday’s 2 p.m. meeting in the Talley Student Center ballroom. Woodson’s goal is to present a draft of the strategic plan to the Board of Trustees in April.

What About the Budget?

Provost Warwick Arden, who’s leading the strategic planning effort with Faculty Chair Margery Overton, says it’s the perfect time to consider structural changes to the way NC State does business, especially in light of anticipated cuts in state funding.

“Quite frankly, it’s all the more important that we emphasize strategic planning during a time of budget challenges,” Arden says. “It allows us to express our fundamental identity: who we are, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. Strategic planning is all about setting priorities.”

Three-Part Process

Arden says three related processes are at work simultaneously this spring. Deans and vice chancellors are submitting budget plans, due at the end of the month, to cope with possible cuts of up to 15 percent in state funding for 2011-13. The strategic planning work will move ahead. And Arden and Vice Chancellor Charles Leffler are overseeing a review of business and academic units.

Everything’s on the table, he added, including the elimination of under-subscribed majors and—possibly—the merger of departments and colleges.

“The only thing I would ask is that folks step back a little and recognize that we may have done something a certain way for 10, 20 or 30 years, but we have to ask ourselves if that’s the most effective way of doing business,” he said. “That’s what we have to do going forward. We owe it to the state to operate in an efficient manner.”

Meanwhile, Tom Ross, the new president of the University of North Carolina system, visited campus this week and has asked Dr. Jim Woodward, former interim chancellor, to look for “unnecessary duplication” in programs across the system.

Responses (2 Comments)

  • Although the OTT operates as a somewhat free standing unit, paying their way with generated revenues, this is not exactly the full story. OTT operates under the state personnel policy, within the structure of state government policy. This means hundreds of decisions are made concerning university assets that may or may not be fundamentally the best from a revenue generation viewpoint. Many universities have gone to a Research Foundation Model, taking these decisions out of the state political scene. In these cases agents are far more motivated to yield much higher returns. A close look at this operation relative to university cash ROI might very well yield some startling findings.

  • Nancy Evans

    I have noticed that most committees on this campus that make policies that affect all of us don’t have many SPA employees on it. We will eventually be responsible for handling many of the changes.

    Let’s have more representation, please!

    Nancy Evans

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