The Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) is working hard to evaluate the many impact proposals (76 by my count) that came to us through Blackboard, the suggestion box, emails directly to me, or brainstorming by the DAC. Every suggestion is being considered and some of the proposals require a fair amount of discussion by DAC members as we seek to understand them and develop our priority recommendations.
Here is where things stand at the moment. First, we developed a set of preliminary criteria for this round of planning—2009-2010—to guide our recommendations. The criteria are drawn from three sources: (1) the areas of work that we developed as priorities through our roundtable meetings, (2) a set of criteria that the former Strategic Management Committee used in allocating faculty positions, and (3) ideas from the DAC. These criteria will evolve over time as everyone gets more experience in analyzing and explaining why some proposals should be a higher priority than others.
Next, I asked the DAC members to consider all of the proposals in light of the criteria and vote for their top priorities. The voting was used only to get a sense of those proposals that had the greatest support within the DAC, which has allowed us to allocate our time for more careful consideration of those proposals. The votes do not constitute final decisions. We are now in the process of discussing those impact proposals that had the greatest support within the DAC in order to make recommendations to the entire organization as soon as possible.
We do not have the capacity as an organization to work on every good idea that was sent forward—we need to set some priorities. A major question is how many impact proposals we can work on productively at one time? The DAC is continuing to focus on impact in developing its recommendations.
The DAC’s work so far falls roughly into the following categories. New Initiatives. We have spent most of our time identifying and discussing those new initiatives that should be implemented now. In thinking about new initiatives, we are trying to consolidate related proposals that might be implemented as part of a more comprehensive initiative. Existing Initiatives. We worked with the management team to identify impact proposals that already are being addressed through existing initiatives. We will recommend their continued implementation. Further Study. There may be impact proposals that require slightly more study by the DAC before it can make an informed recommendation to the School. Defer. The DAC will recommend that we defer consideration of many proposals. Proposals in this category may be good ideas, but the DAC will recommend that they be treated as lower priorities at this time—they may be considered and move forward in the next round of planning. The DAC will recommend that we give no further consideration to a small number of impact proposals.
Next Steps. The DAC has met three times since the deadline for submitting proposals on June 30, and we meet again next week. It is unlikely that we will finalize our recommendations in one more meeting, but we will do our best and finish as soon as possible. As you know, I am moving forward on some of the most time-sensitive (and resource-sensitive) impact proposals. I have heard no objection to eliminating Popular Government and that almost certainly will happen—the opportunity to comment ends tomorrow. I also am looking hard at North Carolina Legislation and will make a decision soon about whether to continue it as a print publication. You have had the opportunity to offer feedback on both of those impact proposals. The DAC’s recommendations about the other proposals will carry significant weight with me, but I need your feedback and will not make any other final decisions until after I have heard from you. Good ideas always are welcome and will carry the day whenever they emerge in this process.
One question the DAC will consider at its next meeting is the most effective way to get feedback about its recommendations from everyone in the School. I have my doubts about the effectiveness of a single, School-wide meeting. Please let me know if you have thoughts about how you would like to offer your reactions and ideas about the DAC’s recommendations. For example, is electronic feedback adequate or do you want the opportunity to give face-to-face feedback?
Everything is taking longer than I would have liked during this cycle of strategic planning—mostly because we spent a lot of time developing a planning model that makes sense for the School. Future cycles of planning, and there will be future cycles, will be faster and better. I appreciate everyone’s patience as we have developed our strategic planning process and then actually implemented that process for the first time. I am excited about the proposals and look forward to implementing those that can have the greatest impact. Thanks so much for all of your hard work.