Mapping a course for excellence in research, graduate education

Strategic Planning Session

Some of the many suggestions that came up during a pair of recent workshops designed to explore excellence and envision the possibilities for research, scholarship and creative endeavors included:

  • Ways to increase funding for graduate students
  • Methods to more quickly establish leadership positions in emerging fields of study
  • Plans to free up time for faculty research, scholarship, and creative activity
  • Ways to define and measure excellence in disciplines across campus
  • Creative ways to bring members of the community together (lunches, coffees, symposiums, etc.)

The sessions were part of the UO’s larger efforts, organized through the provost’s office, to create and implement a new strategic plan.

Held in the Many Nations Longhouse, the workshops were officially focused on “Increasing the impact of UO’s research, scholarship, creative inquiry and expanding graduate education,” but the discussions covered a wide range of topics. The sessions drew several dozen faculty members, graduate students, officers of administration and classified staff members.

Hosted by team two co-chairs Alexander Dossin, professor of piano in the School of Music and Dance, and Brad Shelton, interim vice president for research and innovation, the sessions kicked off with a brief introduction from Acting Senior Vice President and Provost Frances Bronet. Participants then broke out into teams and spent 90 minutes discussing two questions — one focused on identifying markers of research, creative activity and graduate student excellence, one examining low-cost, high-impact strategies to enhance the impact of research and graduate education at the UO.

The sessions followed an earlier workshop on Feb. 17 focused on “Attracting high quality, diverse students and promote student access, retention, and success; Attracting and retaining high quality, diverse faculty and staff; and Enhancing physical and IT infrastructure to ensure academic excellence.”

Comments from all of the sessions will be used to inform the university-wide strategic planning process. The strategic plan will guide the UO’s actions for years to come. The process has included benchmarking the university, holding campus academic planning forums, writing the UO mission statement, and creating a competitive excellence plan. The Provost and Senate President established four teams to address key components of the plan:

  • Team 1: attract high quality, diverse students and promote student access, retention, and success.
  • Team 2: elevate research, scholarship, and creative profile, including expanding graduate education.
  • Team 3: attract and retain high quality, diverse faculty and staff
  • Team 4: enhance physical and IT infrastructure to ensure academic excellence

A steering committee, composed of the co-chairs from each of the four teams, provides the format for the discussions and the team level reports.  The steering committee will receive recommendations from the four teams no later than May 1, 2015, and will include those recommendations in a final report to Interim President Scott Coltrane on May 8.  Interim President Coltrane will forward the report the UO Board of Trustees by May 22 for consideration at the June board meeting.

There will be additional opportunities for campus input, and anyone can contact the steering committee to offer suggestions by sending an e-mail to the provost’s office:

To learn more about the strategic planning process, visit the provost’s website and click on the Strategic Planning tab.