Dean’s Advisory Council: Strategic Planning Implementation (Part 2)

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This continues my series on the role of the Dean’s Advisory Council in implementing our strategic planning priorities and evaluating other resource needs.  My first post addressed the DAC’s role in advising me on the availability of permanent and one-time funding for strategic investments.  This post addresses the next step in the DAC’s work, which is to identify and analyze those investments—the specific programs, activities, and positions (staff and faculty) that should be funded to implement our strategic planning priorities.

What investments are needed to implement our strategic priorities, as well as to support existing or other new activities?

The DAC developed our  strategic priorities based on your recommendations, and we agreed to go forward with them after positive feedback during the final information sessions.  I appointed implementation committees to refine the ideas and figure out how to make them happen.  The DAC’s role now is to help me implement those priorities, including the identification of any money that may be needed.  It is not to decide whether to implement the School’s stated priorities—we have made that decision.  The DAC may suggest ways to strengthen any plan that it receives from one of the strategic planning implementation committees, but that is not its primary purpose at this stage of the process.  We do not need to repeat the work of the implementation committees.

Some of the strategic planning implementation committees will bring proposals to the DAC because (1) they have a School-wide impact that requires broad support and participation and/or (2) they need funding.  This will include the public policy initiative, the information resources project, grant and contract infrastructure, and possibly communication and collaboration.  Strategic public leadership may request some one-time funding.  Other strategic priorities are being implemented without the need for more input from the DAC or from the rest of the School (strategic public leadership and the streamlined finance curriculum are examples).

The DAC will help me analyze each strategic planning implementation committee proposal to determine the need for resources and the most appropriate way to provide them.  The DAC will do the following:

  • Determine specific funding and staffing needs.
  • Consider whether resources may be combined to satisfy the needs of multiple projects and initiatives.
  • Consider whether a proposal should receive (1) permanent state funding, (2) start-up funding with an expectation that is will generate revenue to sustain itself, (3) grant support, or (4) some combination of these and other funding strategies.
  • Consider whether a proposal may be implemented gradually with staged funding.

For the 2010-2011 fiscal year, I expect the DAC to review and analyze at least the following proposals and/or requests for funding.  I also will seek their counsel in managing our budget to minimize the negative impact of future state budget cuts.

  • Public policy initiative
  • Vacant faculty position (John Saxon)
  • Contracts and grants infrastructure support
  • Strategic public leadership initiative (possible one-time funding request)
  • Information resources project (to be determined).

I have asked the chairs of the strategic planning implementation committees to give me their best guesses about their funding needs by October 1.  They may not be in a position to know their exact budget needs, but I have asked for an estimate so that we can begin to understand the likely range of possible funding requests for this fiscal year.

I have focused the DAC’s role in determining how much money is available and the specific investments required to implement all of our priorities.  My final post in the series will address the hardest question: In allocating scarce resources, how do we balance our strategic priorities against each other and against other new and existing positions and activities.  I am interested in your thoughts about any of these issues.

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