A Shared Vision for Methodist

This past week, I convened the first meeting of the 39-member Strategic Planning Committee. Comprised of representatives from the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, the group is charged with developing a bold new Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval in February 2015.

 As early as the last academic year, we began campus-wide discussions about the future of the University. These roundtable meetings and other exchanges were designed to stimulate dialogue about the future of our University in anticipation of the completion of the current 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. These year-long discussions culminated with a special session held during the May 2014 Trustee Retreat, briefing the Trustees on key elements of the next strategic plan that had been identified by members of the University community, and asking Trustees for input in preparation for a year of planning for the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

In seeking suggestions from every constituency over the past year, a number of key principles began to emerge that will help guide us through the strategic planning process: 

  • Representation on the Strategic Planning Committee from across the University
  • Transparency in the planning process
  • Multiple opportunities for University community input through roundtable discussions, town hall meetings, interaction through social media, outreach to alumni, parents, and friends, and a request for vision statements from all members of the Community
  • Maintain our emphasis on a “culture of excellence” and stay the course with current Strategic Plan goals that are still relevant, while adding new quantifiable targets
  • In an environment of “continuous planning,” ensure a seamless as possible transition from the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan to the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan
  • Align plans with the strategic objectives of Board of Trustees
  • The new Strategic Plan should take advantage of various planning initiatives already under way
  • The goal should be to produce a succinct and relatively short document
  • The Strategic Plan and process should be aligned with the SACSCOC (our accreditation body) timetable for the upcoming 5th Year Review in 2015 and 10-Year Accreditation in 2020


“My Methodist”

 Given the fact that one of the guiding principles of the strategic planning process is to maximize participation by members of the University community, I would like to extend an invitation to every member of the community to submit a statement of 500 words or less, summarizing what you believe are the most important elements that we should incorporate into the next Strategic Plan. In essence, this invitation is intended to provide a statement of what Methodist means to each member of the community – now and as we move forward.

 Submitted statements will be shared with the members of the Strategic Planning Committee early in the process. Therefore, the deadline for statements to be submitted is Nov. 3. Those interested in participating, are encouraged to send them to me at bhancock@methodist.edu as soon as possible to ensure full consideration by the Committee. I ask that you please include your name with your statement in order for it to be shared with the Committee.

 “We Want to Hear from You”

 Ever member of the Strategic Planning Committee shares my commitment to the strategic planning process being as open and participatory as possible. While we believe that we have many outstanding initiatives underway that should be continued in the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, we must remain open to new ideas and perspectives in shaping a bold vision that will ensure the University’s long-term viability and relevancy, while staying true to our mission.

 Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions – now and throughout the strategic planning process. I look forward to hearing from you and, together, making Methodist University the best University it can be. Through this process and with your help, the best is yet to be.

 I will continue to share updates on this new exciting Strategic Plan as it evolves in the coming weeks.

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