Approved by the: University Senate - April 28, 2005
Administration - *See comment
Board of Regents - no action required
* I appreciate your input and participation in the strategic planning process and the depth and breadth of your thoughtful resolution. I have taken into account the ideas contained in the resolution as the implementation phase is being planned, and will continue to work in partnership with both faculty and student leaders on strategic positioning implementation.

Resolution on Strategic Planning

1. The University Senate strongly endorses the goal of systematically reviewing and improving the University and the necessity for strategic planning. The increasingly rapid change in the structure of knowledge and the pressures on the University arising from decreasing state funding and resulting increases in tuition all mandate an ongoing effort to ensure congruence between the University’s structure and its goals.

2. The University Senate calls on the President to increase University community participation as the strategic planning process continues. Whatever recommendations the President and the Regents endorse, the implementation will only be effective with faculty leadership and participation as well as active involvement by staff members and students. Because of the importance of faculty in implementing academic change, a majority of each task force should be faculty members, and the task forces should be chaired or co-chaired by a faculty member. Student membership should be strongly encouraged but not required on each task force. The task force members should be chosen from both inside and outside the specific affected areas based on their relevant knowledge, skill, and commitment to the process. Deans and chairs should not control the selection. Task force members should be expected to bring their special expertise to the planning process, but should represent the interests of the University, not those of any particular college, department, dean or chair.

3. The University Senate asks the President and Provost to continue to meet and consult with concerned individuals and groups on and off campus regarding the Strategic Planning process, goals, and implementation. Achievement of the strategic planning goals requires that the administration understand and respond to the concerns of those most directly affected.

4. The University Senate suggests that future strategic planning should consider even more ambitious plans than those that have been presented so far and that current and future efforts should address resource and budget factors. The Senate is concerned that the steps outlined in the Academic Task Force Report may not be sufficient to achieve the University’s goals. Moreover, the University’s achievements are currently limited by a lack of money, reflected in problems such as low ranking on faculty compensation, small numbers of faculty in key departments, and uneven distribution of resources to support research and creative activity. These problems must be addressed if the University is to achieve its goal of being among the top three public research universities in the world, as it will be difficult to compete successfully with institutions whose resources are much greater than those available to us.

5. The University Senate recognizes that reconfiguration of academic units may be necessary to achieve the University's strategic goals. In the process of such reconfiguration:

-- The University Senate strongly supports a continued emphasis on the University's commitment to access and diversity and to its land-grant mission. The commitment to access and diversity requires outreach, recruitment, retention, and graduation of a diverse student body. The University Senate believes that geographic diversity and the University’s land-grant mission require that urban and rural students in Minnesota have access to the University. The University Senate recognizes that diversity includes race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, geographic area, educational attainment level of family members, primary language, gender, sexual orientation, and ability/disability. The Senate intends, by careful monitoring, to help ensure the commitment to access and diversity is fulfilled, whatever recommendations are adopted.

-- The University Senate re-emphasizes the importance of participation of all faculty, in the units to be reconfigured, in the development of mission, goals, and organization of the reconfigured units. Students should also have a voice in the development and implementation of this process, with contributions not limited to membership on specific task forces and including student government leaders, as students often have unique insight on the effects of proposed changes. Structural change will succeed only if affected faculty and students are active contributors to the implementation process and if the values and objectives of each affected unit are reflected in the final outcomes.

-- All proposed task forces should give special priority to planning that incorporates these commitments.

6. The University Senate supports initiatives to improve and enhance honors education and writing education at the University of Minnesota, and the Senate supports the creation of task forces to consider and evaluate a range of recommendations on how best to achieve these goals, including the proposals to create an honors college and a baccalaureate writing initiative. The Senate emphasizes that in the implementation of those proposals, there must be consultation with those currently involved with honors programs and writing programs across the University, and the implementation must ensure the examination and sharing of existing best practices in University programs and in similar programs at peer universities. The Senate expects that additional resources will be necessary to achieve these goals.

7. The University Senate welcomes establishment of a task force to determine the appropriate configuration of the pure and applied sciences and recommends that the basic science units of the Academic Health Center be considered as part of the study.

8. The University Senate is concerned that:
-- Strategic planning for the Academic Health Center does not appear to be as fully developed as planning in other areas, or to be integrated with that planning.

-- Strategic planning for the coordinate campuses does not appear to be as fully developed as the Twin Cities campus planning, or to be integrated with that planning into an overall vision for the University system.

-- Strategic planning does not sufficiently emphasize the research mission of the University or the support and development of the research infrastructure.

-- Strategic planning does not sufficiently emphasize the teaching mission of the University or the support and development of the teaching and learning infrastructure.

-- There is a perception that units have not been treated equally in the recommendations, with some units given more latitude in planning their futures while others are constrained by mandated choices.

-- Strategic planning does not sufficiently address areas of student life outside the classroom, including issues of transportation, housing, and safety.

9. The University Senate recommends:
-- That each freshman admitting college, along with each graduate program, ensure the admission of a diverse student body. Diversity includes access for: urban and rural students, low-income students, first-generation students, underrepresented students of color, English not first language students, and gender diversity, especially in fields traditionally male or female oriented. Each admitting college and graduate program should use individualized review to ensure a diverse student body. In order to admit a critical mass of students of color, each admitting college and graduate program should give a “plus factor” for diversity in the individualized review process.

-- A task force to monitor and ensure that a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students are admitted and succeed at the University. The task force will monitor admissions in order to ensure that all students at the University receive the substantial benefits of a diverse student body.

-- More coordination between the proposed academic and administrative task forces and the development of the new budget model. Good planning requires a better understanding of financial factors than has been achieved so far.

-- The task forces gather additional data regarding various alternatives in support of the academic planning recommendations.

-- The task forces gather comparative data regarding practices at other "top" universities and discuss what can be learned by observing what has been done elsewhere.

-- Resources be allocated to permit faculty on 9-month appointments to participate in the strategic planning implementation task forces, and that steps be taken to ensure students can participate effectively despite the summer schedule for the launch of the task forces.
 
10. The University Senate believes that many valuable suggestions have been made in the course of the consideration of the recommendations of the academic task force. The Senate urges the President, in his formulation of a recommendation to the Board of Regents, to take seriously the views of members of the University community that have been expressed. It is not sufficient merely to provide concerned individuals the opportunity to comment.

11. The University Senate instructs Senate committees to continue to review detailed plans as they evolve and make recommendations to the Senate for appropriate action.


*The Senate endorsed the following resolution from the Senate Library Committee as part of the strategic planning resolution it adopted.

Resolution on Library Funding

The Senate Library Committee has reviewed the data on the status of the University Libraries. The Committee has grave concerns about the continuing erosion of the Libraries’ resources. Funding decreases have led to a significant drop in the University Libraries’ North American ranking from its previously stable position of 14th to 19th in the last five years alone, and to only sixth among Big Ten Universities* We endorse the following urgent resolutions:


The University’s strategic goals cannot be realized without increased funding for Library collections, technology and human capital. The University’s excellence is linked to the Libraries.

*According to comparative 2003 data compiled by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) examining numbers of journals and books, staff and overall expenditures.

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