President Harker announces Strategic Planning Committee

10:21 p.m., Sept. 10, 2007--A committee of University of Delaware faculty and administrators has been appointed by President Patrick Harker to examine the current capabilities of the University and define its priorities for the future, Harker announced at the Sept. 10 meeting of the Faculty Senate.

"The goal is to have an ongoing conversation that engages the University's different stakeholders, including faculty, students, staff, alumni, community members and state leadership, in where UD needs to be headed," Harker said.

Currently, the University is on the cusp of true national and international prominence, he said, with excellent faculty, staff and students and a top-notch campus. "I think we're an undervalued asset," he said. "We don't brag enough about what we're accomplishing."

Calling this project the "most important project of the year ahead," Harker said the committee has been asked to consider any and all ideas about what the University could become. "The committee will then narrow them down to the handful of things that will allow UD to move rapidly ahead," he said.

The Strategic Planning Committee, which began meeting in July, is co-chaired by Mark Barteau, Robert L. Pigford Chair of Chemical Engineering and former chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering; and Debra Hess Norris, Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts, chairperson of the Department of Art Conservation and associate dean for social sciences and history of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The committee has been asked to look at all recommendations in relation to the University's core mission areas: undergraduate education, graduate education, scholarship and research, and public, professional and community service.

When priorities are identified, Harker said, deans, department chairs and other unit heads will be asked how their units can support those priorities.

"The Strategic Planning Committee's timeframe is an aggressive one," he said. Initial recommendations are to be provided to the president in January, with final results around the end of March.

"Our plan is to conclude this planning process with what we are now calling a University of Delaware Forum in early May. The event will be an opportunity for alumni and others to reconnect to the University and to discuss the ideas that have emerged from the process," Harker said.

Harker asked the members of the Faculty Senate to share their ideas with the committee and to encourage their colleagues to do the same.

Barteau said the Faculty Senate and its committees will be important groups as the committee begins holding these conversations and that he hoped to get the topic on a future agenda.

"We really need your great ideas," Norris said, adding that the committee is making a great effort to ensure that all constituencies are represented.

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee are Ralph Begleiter, Rosenberg Professor of Communication and Distinguished Journalist in Residence; Nancy Brickhouse, professor and director of the School of Education; Tom Church, E.I. du Pont professor of Marine Biochemistry and Biophysics; Michael Gilbert, vice president for student life; Lesa Griffiths, director of the Center for International Studies and professor of animal sciences; Lou Hirsh, director of admissions; Matt Kinservik, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of English; Ken Miller, professor and director of the School of Nursing; Robin Morgan, professor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Charlie Riordan, professor and former chairperson of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; John Sawyer, professor and former chairperson of the Department of Business Administration; Leland Ware, Louis L. Redding Chair for the Study of Law and Public Policy in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy; and Patricia Wilson, vice president and chief of staff.