Sept. 10, 2009

Share your thoughts: Second strategic plan forum is Sept. 10

by Anne Krapfl

About 60 people attended the first campus forum Sept. 3 to share ideas on what ought to be included in Iowa State's next strategic plan, which will guide university decisions during the 2010-15 timeframe.

A second forum, with the same open format, will be held Sept. 10 (noon-1 p.m., Cardinal Room, Memorial Union).

2010-15 Strategic Plan
Open forum
Sept. 10, noon-1 p.m.
MU Cardinal Room

The suggestions made by forum participants included:

  • Maintain a sense of place and community in the face of the "grab-your-credits-and-go" option offered by schools such as the University of Phoenix.
  • Continue to emphasize collaboration, even when the new budget model might appear to throw roadblocks in front of it.
  • Encourage and promote the whole student experience, including extracurricular organizations and leadership opportunities. "That's why students come here."
  • Any discussion about excellence ought to go beyond just academic excellence to look at the excellent person (including moral excellence, leadership excellence).
  • In the face of evolving industries and shifting job markets, consider doing more in the areas of retraining for second or third careers and lifelong learning.
  • Bring the city of Ames on board with the university's strategic planning process.
  • Decide who, what we are, so we know how to market Iowa State. The peer group used for employment and academic comparisons is not the group of schools we compete against to recruit students.
  • The Ames-Des Moines corridor is merging. Promote the benefits of being in the larger Des Moines area.
  • Use technology to add value to education and improve the human experience, not just to promote technology.

The assignment

Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman, who chairs the strategic plan steering committee, reminded forum participants of four primary goals president Gregory Geoffroy identified for the university in the year 2050 as a means to set a direction for the strategic plan. Those four are:

  • Be a magnet for attracting truly outstanding students
  • Be a magnet for attracting world-class faculty supported by staff that are among the best in their areas of expertise
  • Be internationally known for addressing major problems of our planet, especially food, energy, infrastructure, water, health and sustainability
  • Be a treasured resource for Iowa, the United States and the world

Hoffman also shared a short but evolving list of values identified by the strategic plan steering committee to keep at the forefront during the planning process. They are:

  • Diversity
  • Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration
  • Internationalism
  • Protection of academic freedom


Task forces organized around the four 2050 goals will meet regularly this fall and submit their reports to the steering committee by Jan. 29, 2010. The oversight group will draft the next strategic plan, which will go to Geoffroy by June 30. Finally, it will be submitted to the state Board of Regents for approval.

Other ways to participate

Members of the university community also may share their suggestions for the next strategic plan by

  • Sending an e-mail to
  • Using the online feedback form, with the option to remain anonymous, on the strategic plan web site
  • Contacting your representative organization (Faculty Senate, P&S Council, S&C Council)