Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has embarked on a long-range planning exercise to envision what it might look like in the year 2020.
As part of its decennial reaccreditation process, the university has formed a strategic planning committee to determine top institutional goals and priorities for the next 10 years and recommend ways to achieve them. The committee’s report will help guide decisions on academics and research, public service and outreach, student recruitment, resource allocation, physical growth and UGA’s leadership role in Georgia and the nation in the second decade of the 21st century.
UGA must create a new strategic plan every 10 years as part of seeking renewal of its accreditation by its chief accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS accreditation was last renewed in 2000 and UGA will seek reaccreditation in 2010.
Arnett C. Mace Jr., senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, appointed the 30-member strategic planning committee and named William Vencill, professor of crop and soil sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as chair. Vencill is working in Mace’s office this year in an administrative fellowship program.
Rob Hoyt, head of the department of insurance, legal studies and real estate in the Terry College of Business, is vice chair.
The committee already has begun seeking input for the plan with a survey distributed to faculty this month, Vencill said. Committee members will meet over the summer to begin broadly outlining the plan, and will hold a series of forums in fall semester to gather additional ideas from faculty, staff and students. Suggestions also can be made on a strategic planning Web site that will include minutes of committee meetings and documents and materials the committee is using.
“We want to be as transparent as possible and to get as much input as possible from faculty, staff and students,” Vencill said. “We want everybody to have a chance to participate.”
The committee will refine the plan early in 2010 and submit it to the University Council Strategic Planning Committee next spring with a goal of having a final plan approved by September 2010, the SACS deadline, Vencill said.
UGA’s current strategic plan, adopted in 2000, centers on three major themes-building the new learning environment, maximizing research opportunities and competing in a global economy.
Vencill said it’s too early to know exactly what direction the new plan will take but he expects it will focus on the same broad areas as the current plan, perhaps adding some refinements and a few new initiatives.
The plan will likely maintain an emphasis on enhancing undergraduate education, Vencill said. It will probably also call for increasing graduate student enrollment, expanding research, strengthening public service and outreach, extending campus environmental and sustainability efforts and bolstering the university’s role in Georgia’s economic growth.
One area likely to get greater attention in the new plan is UGA’s growing leadership in medical research and education-a role barely mentioned in the 2000 plan. “A lot of exciting things have happened here in the last 10 years in public health and our partnership with the Medical College of Georgia to train new physicians,” Vencill said. “We want to emphasize UGA’s relevancy to the state in meeting health needs.”
While the new plan should reflect the university’s hopes and aspirations, Vencill said, the committee is working under some constraints. “We understand the budgetary, economic and political climate and we know this must be a realistic plan,” he said. “It can’t be top-down from the administration, or bottom-up from the faculty and staff. We have to meet somewhere in the middle.”
In addition to Vencill and Hoyt, members of the committee are:
Lonnie Brown, School of Law; Ron Walcott, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Marsha Black, College of Public Health; Alison Alexander, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Irwin Bernstein, College of Arts and Sciences; Betty Jean Craige, College of Arts and Sciences; Sarah Spence, College of Arts and Sciences; Jorge Atiles, College of Family and Consumer Sciences; Ron Cervero, College of Education; Eric Mueller, College of Veterinary Medicine;
Phillip Greenspan, College of Pharmacy; Barbara White, the university’s chief information officer; Jim Prestegard, a faculty member in the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center representing the office of the vice president for research; Steve Dempsey, representing the office of the vice president for public service and outreach; Florence King, university libraries; Ryan Nesbit, representing the office of the vice president for finance and administration; Shannon Scott, representing university staff;
Ann Crowther, representing the office of the vice president for instruction; Jan Barham, representing the office of the vice president for student affairs; Holley Schramski, accounting; Ralph Johnson, physical plant; Frank Crumley, athletic association; Tom Jackson, public affairs; Danny Sniff, campus architects for facilities planning; Trey Paris, president of the UGA Alumni Association; and Donald Perry, Arch Foundation. Two students representing the undergraduate and graduate student bodies will be added to the committee.