May 4, 2018
Memo from the Office of the Chancellor
Faculty and Staff:
As we approach our third year as a unified institution, we are poised to not only imagine what the Purdue University Northwest of the future will look like but also to strategically plan for its realization. To maximize the chances that our hopes for PNW will become reality, we must commit to a transparent and inclusive process that will help to ensure availability of necessary resources to implement a new strategic plan.
Today we start a comprehensive initiative – Imagine PNW – to chart our path forward and to decide how best to invest our resources to realize our plans. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, Ralph O. Mueller, and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, Stephen Turner, will undertake a two-phase initiative to help secure and chart our future, to Imagine PNW. During the first phase, Ralph and Steve will serve as champions of a process to examine each academic program and all support functions, to assess contributors to our overall success. Subsequently, they will oversee the initiative’s second phase, developing PNW’s new strategic plan. Thus, a two year process, these two overlapping phases will be ready for implementation during the 2020/2021 academic year.
Phase One will be a strategic resource allocation (SRA) project influenced by the model described in Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services (by Robert C. Dickeson) but adapted to meet PNW’s specific needs. The SRA is intended to redirect resources to programs and functions that are, or have the potential, to perform exceptionally well. Once SRA is completed, it will identify resources that we can deploy to implement our new strategic plan.
While the SRA and strategic planning efforts will be overseen by Provost Mueller and Vice Chancellor Turner, activities germane to Imagine PNW will be carried out by a broadly representative and diverse group of stakeholders from throughout PNW. This effort will begin when faculty members have returned for the fall semester. However, a team of administrators will commence work very soon to lay the foundation for two task forces that will be created through a nomination process. One task force will examine academic programs and another will examine support functions. The academic task force will be staffed by a majority of faculty members and a number of academic department chairs and academic administrators. The support task force will consist of mid-level managers as well as faculty and staff members.
Although we will seek to ensure that the task force participants bring perspectives from all sectors of PNW, it is important to recognize that they will not be representing any individual unit or constituency. Instead, they will be asked to adopt a rational model as they bring knowledge and experience shaped and informed by involvement in their unit or constituency, and must operate with an institutional perspective during these efforts.
The summer preparation effort will be completed by representatives from Institutional Effectiveness, Finance and Business Services, the Registrar, Communications, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Space and Facilities Planning. This data will be reviewed by Deans and department chars. They will rely on advice from Mr. Larry Goldstein, President of Campus Strategies, LLC, who will serve as a consultant and facilitator to assist with the SRA project and the strategic planning effort.
It is important to note that the task forces will be recommending rather than implementing entities. There will be a formal, transparent process for the review of the final SRA reports, which will be made publicly available upon their completion. It will be the responsibility of PNW’s Senior Leadership Team to decide which recommendations to accept and implement (with appropriate explanations for rejected recommendations), and with a timetable.
Although the specific assessment criteria and weighting will be developed by the respective task forces this fall, their charges will contain the following language:
The task forces are expected to adhere to two principles in carrying out their responsibility. First, the criteria must be holistic. That is, they must take into consideration the full gamut of assessment factors including both qualitative and quantitative, financial and nonfinancial, and any other relevant measures of performance.
The second principle is that the criteria must result in a fair assessment of all programs. Although the differences among programs and functions will result in some faring better on some criteria than others, the selection and weighting of criteria must ensure that no individual activities are treated unfairly in the process.
Both SRA and strategic planning are major undertakings and will not be one-time efforts. A tremendous amount of data will be collected during both processes. Comprehensive databases will be developed through these efforts and it is our intention to maintain them and update them annually.
Although this is the first official communication on this subject, it will not be the last. Provost Mueller and Vice Chancellor Turner will keep it in the forefront of our stakeholders’ minds via regular updates and periodic Q&A sessions. It is our expectation that this process be undertaken in the most transparent manner.
Now, let’s Imagine PNW!