Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
November 5, 1999

Proposed strategic plan "creative, futuristic"

by Linda Charles
Learning, scholarship and engagement are the three themes of a proposed university strategic plan for 2000 to 2005.

The draft of the plan was created by a committee of faculty, staff, administrators and students. The committee was co-chaired by Rabindra Mukerjea, assistant to the president for budget planning and analysis, and Faculty Senate president Dean Ulrichson.

"If you're expecting a cosmetic makeover of the current strategic plan, don't," President Martin Jischke said. "The committee has done just what I had hoped it would do, and that's to think broadly, creatively and futuristically."

Under the plan, ISU would commit to learning through learner-centered teaching, services and enrichment opportunities, with attention to lifelong learning needs. Scholarship would encompass research, creative activities, teaching and extension/professional practice.

The final theme, engagement, would involve using the university's knowledge and expertise to improve Iowa communities and society, both at home and abroad.

While the current strategic plan has six goals, the proposed strategic plan has three. These goals are to:

The plan calls for Iowa State to pay particular attention (across all goals) to:

The three strategic planning themes of learning, scholarship and engagement overlap in several areas of the proposed plan. For example, common to the goals to enhance learning and promote preeminent scholarship would be an emphasis on preparing students through learning experiences that incorporate discovery and innovation, and developing curricula that keep pace with the changing world marketplace.

Learning and engagement overlap with emphases on providing students hands-on community service opportunities and internships, and expanded distance education opportunities.

And common to scholarship and engagement would be initiatives that stimulate economic development, with an emphasis on environmental stewardship and enhanced human resources; and increased quality of life in Iowa.

"I rather like what the committee has done," Jischke said. "I think it is imaginative. It still remains true to some of our most basic ideas about being a land-grant, about wanting to be the very best of that kind of university, but it's a little more modern conception of that.

"We're beginning to talk less about teaching and more about learning, less about research and more about scholarship, less about outreach and more about engagement. So, the terminology is shifting a bit to reflect what I think is an evolving conception of what kind of institution we are," he said.

Jischke said the strategic plan is important to the ISU community because it lays out for the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, where the university is heading. The regents have given the state universities "lots of latitude" in developing these plans, but "once we decide on that direction, they expect us to stay with it," he said.

The strategic plan also is used on campus for budgetary allocations, shaping fund-raising strategies and "telling people who we are and what we intend to do."

A copy of the proposed strategic plan is available on the Web at Jischke has scheduled three open forums on the proposed plan, to be held in the Memorial Union:

Jischke has asked for comments on the proposed plan by Nov. 30. Comments may be sent through campus mail to President Jischke, 117 Beardshear; or by email to or

The final plan is expected to be submitted to the regents for approval next spring.

"Please take the opportunity to participate in the discussion," Jischke said. "There's lots of time for discussion and I would urge you to join that discussion."

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