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Report from Strategic Planning Exploratory Group, Karin Wittenborg

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Group's top priority was to draft some preliminary recommendations to bring to Commission.
  4. 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.



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