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
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
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.
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
-- 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
-- Strategic planning does not sufficiently emphasize the
research mission of the University or the support and development of the
-- 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
-- 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.
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.
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.
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
-- 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
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
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:
- Library collections are fundamental to the University’s stated
strategic goal of excellence. Increase the budget for collections and
resources in order to reverse the dramatic slip in rankings and to restore
- Collections require access. Expand computer capabilities to provide
access to resources, including electronic publications, which are an
increasingly critical component of learning and
- Knowledgeable, professional librarians ensure that the libraries’
resources have the greatest possible impact in the academic programs.
Provide equitable compensation to recruit and retain
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
*According to comparative 2003 data compiled by the
Association of Research Libraries (ARL) examining numbers of journals and books,
staff and overall expenditures.