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Henry C. Foley
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
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Columbia, MO 65211
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(Updated February 2013)

Contents:

  1. Why are we engaged in this strategic planning process?
  2. What is the goal of this process?
  3. How will this process impact existing strategic plans or ones being developed at the campus level? 
  4. When did the University of Missouri System strategic planning process start?
  5. What was accomplished at the June 2012 workshop?
  6. What is a strategy statement and how does it differ from a mission statement?
  7. How will the strategy statement relate to the campus plan?
  8. Won’t a focused strategy detract from supporting the broader campus mission?
  9. What happened at the October 2012 workshop?
  10. On what basis were the October 2012 workshop participants selected?
  11. Who on my campus do I contact if I have questions about the planning process?
  12. Why is this process important?
  13. What about system administration; will it have a strategy statement?
  14. What process was used to develop the system administration strategy statement?
  15. How does this strategic planning process differ from other planning processes in the past? 
  16. Why does this planning process use business language like "customers"? 
  17. If the strategy for my campus is narrowly focused and doesn't include me or my program, how do I participate? 
  18. What opportunities will there be for campuses to collaborate and cooperate across the system? 
  19. How will the President decide on the distribution of resources to implement the strategic plans? 
  20. I heard that the President was going to fund the plans in part by reallocating state support. When does the reallocation start?


1. Why are we engaged in this strategic planning process?

The Board of Curators has charged the president with working with the four campuses in preparing for the future through the development of a clear, compelling and achievable strategy and supporting financial plan that would attract the necessary resources for execution.  This planning process is one of President Wolfe’s strategic goals for this year and has become a goal for each of the chancellors and vice presidents. 

Each campus varies in progress with regard to developing a campus specific strategic plan.  Some campuses have been through an extensive process and have a plan in place that they have been working on.  Others are in the process of developing a new strategic plan as part of this process or updating an existing plan. After reviewing the existing plans, the president identified a need for each campus to sharpen its focus on where it is going over the next five years. 

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2. What is the goal of this process?

The goal of this process is for each campus to answer the following key questions:

  • Who are we?
  • Where are we going?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • What do we look like when we get there?
  • How do we measure progress?

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3. How will this process impact existing strategic plans or ones being developed at the campus level?

This planning process is focused on sharpening the campus strategic plan (either the one that has been created already or the one in process of being formulated) by bringing clarity to the campus strategy, defined as the campus competitive game plan and how the campus will seek to differentiate itself over the next five years.  The strategy should drive the tradeoffs that have to be made.

The president has asked each chancellor to integrate this process into the campus process.

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4. When did the University of Missouri System strategic planning process start?

President Tim Wolfe kicked off the University of Missouri System strategic planning process in June, 2012.  Each campus brought a small team of faculty and administrators to a day and a half workshop.

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5. What was accomplished at the June 2012 workshop?

Each campus began the process of sharpening its focus by drafting a concise strategy statement for the next five years that: clearly articulates the campus’ objective, scope and advantage; has related metrics; drives the campus strategic goals and action plans; and is supported by a viable financial plan.  The strategy statement will provide clear guidance in making choices about the future investment of resources. The work at the June workshop was a first step in this direction. The campuses have continued to work to refine their strategy statements since June.

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6. What is a strategy statement and how does it differ from a mission statement?

Each campus has a mission that states why it exists.  A strategy is the campus competitive game plan that provides guidance about what the institution is going to do but also, just as importantly, what it is not going to do. A strategy statement has three parts: 

OBJECTIVE:  The single precise objective that will drive the organization for the next five years; it is specific, measurable and time bound

SCOPE: Scope is a description of the customer or offering, geographic location 

ADVANTAGE:  Advantage is the customer value proposition and the unique activities that allow the organization alone to deliver it

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7. How will the strategy statement relate to the campus plan?

The challenge for those campuses with a plan in place, after there is agreement on the strategy, is looking at the campus strategic plan that has been developed and ensuring that the activities in the plan are aligned with the strategy.  For example, if each campus is challenged to be “best-in-class” in certain areas that it identifies, it must evaluate what actions it must take to get there, what financial resources are required and how success will be measured.

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8. Won’t a focused strategy detract from supporting the broader campus mission?

This strategic planning process is not focused on changing the mission that each campus executes day in and day out. Strategy, however, is meant to define what our competitive game plan will be and how we will seek to differentiate ourselves over the next five years. Resource allocation to support the mission will need to continue. However, trade-offs will need to be made as we implement the strategy.

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9. What happened at the October 2012 workshop?

A second workshop was held in October to move the project forward. Each campus identified faculty and staff to participate on a team that will provide leadership as each campus refines its strategy and develops its plan or aligns an existing plan.  The participants are responsible for building a case for change at their campus and for refining their campus strategy statement, developing themes and levers for change as part of the strategic plan, and ultimately helping craft a strategic plan that includes an analysis of the plan’s projected impact.

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10. On what basis were the October 2012 workshop participants selected?

The participants are individuals that each campus identified who have the ability to drive groups to a consensus, are open to new approaches (in strategic planning and in higher education broadly), are able to devote a few hours each week to this effort for the next 6-7 months and represent a diverse range of departments and backgrounds. This is the guiding coalition that will lead each campus to define its strategy and also lead in the implementation in obtaining the goals defined in the strategy. The role of the guiding coalition will involve building consensus, but also balancing the need for consensus with the need to make difficult decisions.  

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11. Who on my campus do I contact if I have questions about the planning process?

MU: Brian Foster, Tom Phillips, Pat Okker
UMKC: Gail Hackett, Sabina Madison-Cannon
S&T: Kent Wray, Jim Dahlmeier
UMSL: Glen Cope, Judith Walker-de Felix, Pat Dolan
UM System: Nikki Krawitz

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    12. Why is this process important?

    This planning process is being driven by the challenges that higher education in general, and the University of Missouri in particular, face including but not limited to reduced state funding, limits on tuition increases, reduced Federal funding, changes in student demographics, the impact of technology on teaching and learning, public accountability, the global economic crisis, the demand for greater higher education access and increased number of degrees conferred, and skilled workforce demands. 

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    13. What about system administration; will they have a strategy statement?

    Yes, system administration will have a strategy statement.  UM System Administration Draft Strategy Statement (Revised January 2013):

    The System will collaborate with the campuses in achieving, by 2018, mutually agreed upon, best-in-class performance by leveraging our unique campus strengths and resources through applying leading practices and advocating for higher education and the University.

    UM System Administration Draft Strategy Statement Detail:

    The System will collaborate with the campuses…

    System Administration will work with the campuses to ensure the campuses achieve their strategies, recognizing that System Administration’s success is dependent on the success of the campuses.  System Administration will both lead and provide support to the campuses.

    …in achieving, by 2018, best-in-class performance

    The campuses, in collaboration with System Administration, will identify specific, strategic areas of opportunity where the campuses can become the very best among their comparator group. These areas of opportunity may be related to the core mission of the campuses (i.e. education, research, economic development) or operational (e.g. leader in cost efficiency). These strategic areas of opportunity will be described in the campus strategic plans, and System Administration and campus leaders will be accountable for the achievement of the targeted outcomes.

    System Administration will work with the campuses to identify appropriate targets: best in class performance will be defined together by the campuses and System Administration.

    …by leveraging the unique strengths and resources of our campuses 

    The University of Missouri System is different from other systems because of the unique nature of each of its campuses.    System Administration will deploy System resources (financial, human, or other) in support of this uniqueness while also fostering collaboration where indicated in order to efficiently and effectively use resources.  Resources will be focused on where they are likely to have the greatest impact in the least amount of time weighing long term sustainability against short-term impact. System Administration will encourage campuses to do the same with campus resources, and will advise campuses on effective resource use.

     …through applying leading   practices…

    System Administration, in collaboration with the campuses, will identify, develop and diffuse best practices across the campuses.  System Administration will monitor the campuses’ progress toward strategic objectives and hold campus leaders accountable for performance. In addition, System Administration will identify new activities it can take on to gain economies of scale or scope across campuses and improve quality or efficiency.

     and advocating for higher education and the University.

    System Administration will actively advocate, within the state and globally, for higher education generally and the University specifically. When the System advocates successfully for higher education, the campuses are more likely to achieve their strategic objectives, through enhanced reputation and increased access to resources.

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    14. What process was used to develop the system administration strategy statement?

    Information was gathered from curators, chancellors, and senior administrators on each campus about system administration’s role and where the system administration adds value. In response to questions about what the system currently does and should continue to do, key customers stated that system administration should:

    • Develop innovative funding sources
    • Leverage skills that campuses don’t have e.g. management of debt
    • Find ways to help campuses achieve their goals
    • Support campus initiatives that further the mission of the system
    • Coordinate, communicate and collaborate with campus leadership
    • Work with the governor, legislature, Federal government to communicate value of university and secure funding
    • Establish policies, procedures and regulations that advance the mission and are streamlined as possible and recognize campus differences
    • Involve campuses with setting the direction and focus of the system support
    • Look for cost savings

    In response to questions about the primary role of the system, respondents stated that system administration should:

    • Support campuses in achieving their missions
    • Leverage the scale of the system to achieve administrative and infrastructure efficiencies
    • Provide operational support through shared/centralized services
    • Identify opportunities for consolidation, collaboration and reduced duplication
    • Assure appropriate allocation of scarce resources across academic and administrative lines

    In response to questions about how the system can increase value (or save costs) for end “customers,” respondents stated:

    • By effectively administrating central functions
    • By harnessing economies of scale both administratively and academically
    • By identifying and communicating best practices to campuses
    • Communicating the value of higher education and the university to external constituencies
    • Through shared services where there are economy of scale savings without eliminating operating unit agility and innovation
    • Fiscal oversight to ensure effective and efficient use of resources

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    15. How does this strategic planning process differ from other planning processes in the past?

    The goal of this planning process is for the campuses and the system each to develop a clear, focused strategy that articulates how it will use its unique strengths to overcome barriers in achieving its vision and delivering on its mission. Each strategy will be expressed within a well defined strategy statement that includes the objective or driving goal of the organization. The objective will be both measurable and time bound. The strategy will also articulate a scope which defines the boundaries within which the campus/system will operate and, the unique advantages or means that will be used to implement the strategy. Each strategy will be supported by an action plan. The campuses and the system will also develop detailed financial plans to support implementation that will have priority over the five-year period.

    Through the process of developing a strategy statement we are explicitly saying what our priorities will be and where we will make investments. The strategy statement will drive the choices that we must make.

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    16. Why does this planning process use business language like "customers"?

    This planning process is structured to be responsive to what our major stakeholders want and need from us and shifts the paradigm of strategic planning. In order to understand what our stakeholders want, it may be helpful to think of them as "customers." The challenge will be to balance what we believe is right and good for our stakeholders, especially our student and parent stakeholders, with what they believe they need from us and have a right to expect. By marrying the two perspectives, we are likely to be more successful. For example, what would we have to change to attract students who we would like to have and who might otherwise not chose our campus? What actions could we take that would be both highly attractive and feasible. Similar questions might be asked about retaining students, securing external grant funding, and engaging alums and donors.

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    17. If the strategy for my campus is narrowly focused and doesn't include me or my program, how do I participate?

    Each of our campuses has a broad mission. The expectation is that each campus will continue to deliver on its mission. Each campus needs to decide where the opportunities exist for strategic investments to leverage existing strengths and to develop new areas of innovation and excellence. This is also true at the school/college/department level. This shouldn't undermine the work that everyone does to keep the institution as a whole operating at a high level. Tradeoffs will have to be made. Most people understand that across the board reductions in budget are not strategic and weaken everyone equally. It’s equally important to understand that across the board investment with limited resources undermines a campus’s ability to build best in class excellence in some things.

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    18. What opportunities will there be for campuses to collaborate and cooperate across the system?

    At the October Strategic Planning workshop that included faculty and staff from each campus, a preliminary list of ways the campuses could collaborate and cooperate across the system as well as ways that the system administration could support such initiatives was developed. The campuses have been asked to add to the list and to prioritize the suggestions based on attractiveness and feasibility. Attractiveness is determined by answering the questions: How well does it align with the strategy? What is the potential impact? How well does it address our stakeholder needs? Feasibility is determined by answering the questions: How difficult will it be to accomplish? What is the likelihood of success? In addition, during the planning process over the next several months, the campus planning groups will be soliciting ideas for intercampus collaboration and cooperation to add to the list and incorporate into the final strategic plans.

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    19. How will the President decide on the distribution of resources to implement the strategic plans?

    The resources that are not generated directly by a campus, such as state support, will be strategically distributed based on a set of 3 to 5 criteria. The President is in the process of gathering input on the criteria. Once the criteria are agreed to by the President and the Chancellors a process for applying the criteria will be developed. Each campus will also need to develop financial plans to support its strategic plan. In addition to resources distributed by the President, resources to support the plan can be generated by, but are not limited to, the following: reallocation of existing resources, cost reductions, fund raising, entrepreneurial activity, and increases in enrollment.

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    20. I heard that the President was going to fund the plans in part by reallocating state support. When does the reallocation start?

    Early in his Presidency, the President Wolfe received feedback from the Chancellors and Board questioning whether the historic allocation of state support to each campus was the best way to distribute state resources. They suggested that the distribution be more strategic. Therefore, the President announced early last fall that beginning with the FY 2014 budget, 5 to 10% of state appropriations would be reallocated for strategic initiatives that come out of the strategic planning process. Subsequent to this announcement, he received feedback from faculty and others that pointed out that this would require the campuses to make reductions before strategic plans were finalized and thus the reductions would likely not be strategic in nature. Therefore, he announced to the Chancellors that for FY 2014, he would not reallocate 5 to 10% of the base appropriation for strategic investment. However, he also indicated that if the University got any new funding from the state above the FY 2013 base that this would be distributed based on criteria established for strategic investment (see FAQ #19 above).

    Since that time the President has indicated that campus co-investment would be one of the 3 to 5 criteria. He has also recommended to the Chancellors that in campus budget planning for FY2014 that they might want to identify 1 to 2% of the general operating budget for strategic reallocation in the event we do get NEW state dollars, above the base. This would ensure that a campus has the resources to co-invest in strategic initiatives (levers) for which they might request some of the new funding. If a campus has another source of funds that doesn’t require reallocation they would certainly be able to use that for the co-investment. The point is that in order for campuses and the system to be successful in executing the strategy, they will need to identify not only new state resource but campus resources for investment. FY 2015 would be the earliest that there would be any reallocation of the existing base for this purpose.

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    Reviewed 2013-08-12.