University of Delaware

Strategic planning

Provost announces Strategic Planning Initiative executive committee, working groups


6:45 p.m., Feb. 26, 2014--University of Delaware Provost Domenico Grasso has announced the executive committee and working groups that will lead the Strategic Planning Initiative, the second phase of UD’s Path to Prominence strategic planning efforts.

"We not only have a responsibility to meet the demanding and wide-ranging challenges facing UD today," Grasso said, "but to play a significant and consequential role in society's most pressing issues.”

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The executive committee includes chair Charles Riordan, vice provost for research; James Jones, professor of psychology and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity; Debra Hess Norris, Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts and chair of the Department of Art Conservation; Ismat Shah, professor of materials science with a joint appointment in physics and astronomy; Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Physical Therapy; and Donald Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute.

Three working groups will address major topic areas:

  • Sustaining and Accelerating the Advance, co-chaired by Rick Andrews, deputy dean of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, and Bahira Trask, professor of human development and family studies; 
  • Great Debates, Grand Challenges, Big Ideas, co-chaired by Paul Brewer, professor of communication and acting director of the Center for Political Communication, and Nancy Targett, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment; and
  • Models for the New American Research University, co-chaired by Kristi Kiick, deputy dean of the College of Engineering, and Matt Kinservik, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Sustaining and Accelerating the Advance working group will assess the current Path to Prominence strategic plan to identify successes, as well as unfinished initiatives that might be reassessed for the future.

The Great Debates, Grand Challenges, Big Ideas working group will identify areas of state, national or global consequence where UD is best positioned, now or in the future, to engage through research, teaching and service initiatives and through new and existing alliances.

The Models for the New American Research University working group will reflect on best practices and new opportunities and consider new, innovative and effective options concerning institutional organization, curriculum delivery and cost containment.

The executive committee will assign two liaisons to each of the working groups and will be responsible for the overall progress, coordination and success of the initiative. 

Volunteers and nominations for the working groups are being accepted. To volunteer or nominate a colleague for a working group, please send an email to and indicate "Strategic Planning Initiative" in the subject line and identify, in order of preference, the three working groups on which you are willing to serve.

"I am grateful for the support of those who have already agreed to serve on the important initiative," Grasso said, "and I ask others to consider volunteering to be part of the process. Your thoughtful, substantive input will be crucial to the project's success."

Grasso said it is hoped that working groups will be finalized and charged by April 1, with committee recommendations formalized by fall.

The new strategic plan will be submitted to the president and provost by January 2015 and approved the following month. 

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