Report from Strategic Planning Exploratory Group, Karin Wittenborg
- Who we are: Hal Burbach, Laura Hawthorne, Jim Kennan, Dennis
Kernahan, Hal Kolb, Loren Pitt, Nancy Rivers, Ken Schwartz, Karin
Wittenborg. Clo Phillips has just joined us.
- Group met several times over the summer and also worked by email.
Individual sub-committee members met with members of the Provosts
Council, deans, etc. to gather information and hear opinions.
- Group's top priority was to draft some preliminary recommendations
to bring to Commission.
- Assumptions we made:
a) Public service and outreach must relate to existing strengths in
teaching and research. PS & O will only become integral to
university life if it relates to other University priorities.
b) We need to target our PS & O activities or at least have
them "fit" in categories. We propose four very broad
categories: health; economic well-being/workforce training; education
(especially K-12); and environment and urban planning. Within those
areas we should specify where we have strong programs/activities or
could have based on work already being done. The group chose these
categories from its collective sense of what the citizens and
legislators think are most important. Do commission members think
these are the right categories?
Discussion of Strategic Planning Group's Report:
Public service as part of the University's mission has to be
articulated, broadcast, and broadly accepted throughout the University
community before these other things fall into place.
Relating to recommendation 6: Educating ourselves internally about
what public service is and what is already being done publicly is
essential. One commission member observed that among many faculty,
there's little awareness or understanding of either.
Looking at the state, nation, world--how do we prioritize? Difficult
decision but needs to be discussed and we need to reach some consensus.
One possible solution would be to make the state our primary focus while
taking care not to neglect the national/international picture.
Concerning hosting series of conversation with faculty about support
individual service initiatives (second action item under recommendation
3), someone suggested we include faculty who have NOT demonstrated a
commitment to public service since we could learn as much from them as
from those faculty who have demonstrated a commitment.
Someone suggested changing the language of "economic well-being
and workforce training" to "economic development" to be
more inclusive of different kinds of economically related activities.
Some commission members wondered how much the "high
priority" areas should be shaped in tandem with the other three
commissions. Should arts be one of the high priority areas for public
service? International activities? Someone else observed that it was
likewise relevant for us to know how much public service is being
included in the discussions of the other three commissions.