Strategic Plan moves to Implementation Phase
May 23, 2013
I am delighted to report that the Board of Trustees has endorsed the strategic plan, as presented at its May 17 meeting. Two weeks earlier, the University Advisory Council, representing all the schools and academic divisions within the University, unanimously approved the final draft of the plan, recommending its presentation to the Board.
This is the culmination of a collective effort over two years. Hundreds contributed, coming together with an esprit de corps that transcended disciplinary and organizational boundaries and revealed pride for what Brandeis is today and passion about our future.
To all of you who participated in the process — students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, emeriti and friends — I send my heartfelt gratitude. Your ideas and your efforts have produced an inspiring plan that is true to Brandeis principles: exciting and practical; embracing the past as earned wisdom to meet the future; unexpected, yet attainable.
Now we turn to implementation. This too must be a collective effort. I look forward to working with you to translate the plan’s ideas into actions over the coming years.
Strategic Planning Update
April 30, 2013
As we head into the final weeks of the academic year, we are working to complete our strategic planning process. Over the past few weeks we received valuable comments and suggestions on the draft plan from many quarters. We also received strong encouragement from the Board of Trustees at its March meeting, where the draft plan was reviewed and its overall direction and approach were approved.
We are now in the process of revising the draft plan in light of the responses to it. The next step will be to discuss the revised version with the University Advisory Council (UAC) at its May 2 meeting. The UAC encompasses the academic leadership of the University, along with the senior vice presidents. Their comments on the revised version will then enable us to produce the final version of the strategic plan, which will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval at its May 17 meeting.
Once again, I want to offer my thanks to all those who have contributed to this process. We could not have reached this point without the help of the many faculty, students, staff, alumni and trustees who have given so much thought and effort to this endeavor. I am deeply grateful.
An additional community feedback session on the draft strategic plan
March 14, 2013
Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
As you know we have scheduled three feedback sessions this week, to enable members of the community to offer their thoughts on the draft strategic plan. In offering three sessions, we sought to accommodate different schedules; but it has been pointed out that the three sessions do not fall into three different class blocks, thus making it difficult for some people to attend a session. So we are adding another feedback session next week.
We have had two sessions so far, and each yielded many helpful comments and suggestions on the draft plan. The remaining sessions are:
- Thursday, March 14, 9:30 to 11 a.m., in Levin Ballroom in the Usdan Student Center
- Tuesday, March 19, 3 to 4:30 p.m., in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall in Goldfarb Library
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the draft plan.
Draft Strategic Plan Community Discussion Sessions, Open to All
March 8, 2013
Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
As you know, the Draft Strategic Plan is now available. The next stage in our strategic planning process is review and comment on this draft by members of the community. Community input has been essential from the start of the planning process, and we seek your continuing involvement.
I invite you to attend a community feedback session next week. To accommodate different schedules, three sessions have been scheduled:
- Monday, March 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in International Lounge in Usdan
- Wednesday, March 13, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Rapaporte Treasure Hall in Goldfarb Library
- Thursday, March 14, 9:30 to 11 a.m., in Levin Ballroom in Usdan
We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the draft plan.
Draft Strategic Plan is Online
March 5, 2013
Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
I am pleased to inform you that the Draft Strategic Plan is now available for your review and comment. This document is the work of many people over a number of months. At the heart of the writing process were the 12 faculty and deans on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, who led the drafting of the body of this document. They were assisted by many colleagues, faculty, staff, administrators and students, who provided the benefit of their special expertise as well as their editorial assistance. And of course, the content of this Draft Plan reflects the ideas of the Strategic Planning Task Forces and the many thoughtful responses to the Preliminary Framework that was disseminated last fall. I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to this collective effort.
Consideration of the Draft Plan will occupy much of this month. This process began last week, when the University Advisory Council reviewed a draft document and offered valuable suggestions, which have been incorporated into this Draft Plan. In the coming weeks, there will be various opportunities to discuss the Draft Plan, in special forums as well as regularly scheduled meetings of various governance bodies. (I will send an update in the next few days with information on the times and locations of the special forums.) You are also welcome to send written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Later this month, the Board of Trustees will review the Draft Plan and offer its feedback.
The comments from the Board and members of the community will enable us to turn the Draft Plan into the final version of the Strategic Plan. Once the final version is reviewed by the University Advisory Council, it will be formally presented to President Lawrence. President Lawrence will then submit the Strategic Plan to the Board of Trustees for approval at its May meeting. Assuming the Board acts favorably, the final Strategic Plan will be shared with the community and together we will begin its implementation.
Strategic Planning Update
Jan. 17, 2013
Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
Welcome back! I hope you had an enjoyable and refreshing winter break. As the new semester begins, I want to give you a brief update on the strategic planning process.
This month the writing groups are working toward completion of a draft strategic plan. The draft will be reviewed by the full Strategic Planning Steering Committee and then disseminated to the entire community. Our first priority continues to be producing a strong plan through a collaborative process that provides ample opportunities for input and feedback from students, staff, faculty and the Board of Trustees. We remain on target to present a strategic plan to the Board for approval during the current academic year, so that we can begin to implement it next year.
Next week, the trustees will meet for one day (Jan. 23) to continue their discussion of the plan, in follow-up to the short meeting they held in December (after the regular fall meeting was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy).
As you can gather, much time and effort continues to be devoted to strategic planning. I am deeply grateful to everyone who is working so hard (especially those who gave up much of their winter break). Our goal is within sight. I look forward to continuing to work with you all in reaching that goal.
Strategic Plan Update
Dec. 19, 2012
Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
As the semester draws to a close, I want to give you an update on strategic planning. Yet, as a pediatrician and a father I cannot write to you without first saying a few words about the shocking loss of young lives in Connecticut last Friday, which has saddened all of us here at Brandeis. We feel heartbroken as members of a faculty and staff who care deeply for our own students. We feel anguish because we know that school is a place where everyone should be safe to explore and grow. Our deepest sympathies go out to all those who lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy and to their grieving community.
Let me now update you on the strategic planning process. As discussed in various meetings over the last few weeks, we are adjusting our timetable for completion of the strategic plan. Our goal has always been to produce the best comprehensive plan for Brandeis, and the faculty and deans working on the initial draft are devoting much time and energy to accomplish this. Through collaborative engagement with many individuals in the Brandeis community, we are making good progress. Looking ahead, we must ensure that there is sufficient time for formal and informal discussions as the draft plan takes shape. Thus presentation of a final plan to the Board of Trustees, originally scheduled for January, is being postponed to a later meeting of the Board.
We will resume our work together early in the new year. Moving forward we will share materials with the community as they become ready, and will provide opportunities for comments and revisions of the emerging draft plan. We still plan to secure Board approval of the final version of the plan in sufficient time to begin implementation in the 2013-14 academic year. I am confident that thanks to the continuing dedication of all those participating in this process we will achieve that goal.
I wish you all a restful and joyous holiday break.
Strategic Plan Update
Nov. 26, 2012
Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,
In my last message I outlined the strategic planning process going forward, as we move to a draft plan and ultimately a final version. As promised, a document is now available that provides more specific information on how this process will unfold.
The process will continue to be a collaborative one. The writing groups for the draft plan, consisting of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee faculty and deans, are now reaching out to members of the community for advice and input. There will be opportunities for review of the draft plan by formal governance bodies. Following that, the draft plan will be released to the entire community for review and comment. These steps will inform the final version of the strategic plan, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees for its approval.
We have set a target date of the January meeting of the Trustees (Jan. 23) for completion of the process, and we are proceeding on a timetable keyed to that date. However, a collaborative process that produces a strong plan is paramount, and we will adjust the timetable if that proves necessary.
This final stage of the process will put renewed demands on all the participants over the next two months. Ours is a university where people care deeply and will make the special effort. I am proud to be part of such a university and deeply grateful to everyone who is contributing to this process. Together we will produce a strategic plan worthy of Brandeis University.
I hope each of you had a joyous Thanksgiving.
Strategic Plan Update
Nov. 7, 2012
As we head into the home stretch of our strategic planning process, I want to give you an update on recent developments and next steps.
Four weeks ago, we released the preliminary framework for the strategic plan and began the process of soliciting feedback from all parts of the community. Discussion has been robust, intelligent, candid, and passionate — exactly what one would want and expect from the Brandeis community. I am truly grateful for the thoughtful attention that has been given to this preliminary document, and for your readiness to engage in this shared process of developing a strategic plan.
As you know, we were planning to discuss the framework and community response with the Board of Trustees at its meeting last week. That meeting had to be cancelled because of the hurricane, and has now been re-scheduled for Nov. 27. Rather than put the strategic planning on hold for a month, the trustees have been commenting on the framework through individual phones calls, meetings and emails, and we have continued to move forward toward the drafting of the plan.
The next step is to produce an initial draft of the plan based on feedback to the framework. This will enable us to provide the greater specificity that many have been eager to see, and will offer further opportunities for comment and discussion within the community. The initial draft will draw upon feedback from the campus and trustees, along with formal statements from the divisional councils, deans, task force leaders, and others in the community. The deans and faculty members of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) will organize into writing groups to craft various parts of the initial draft for the Committee’s review. In this initial draft, each of the strategic directions in the framework will be rendered into specific objectives, along with concrete actions to realize them.
At the board meeting later this month, we will report on the work that has been done, and receive feedback from the trustees. That will allow the SPSC writing groups to finish the initial draft plan. The draft will then be discussed by the SPSC, and once approved, it will be submitted to the University Advisory Council and other standing bodies within the community for comments. The Dec. 6 faculty meeting and the Dec. 12 meeting of the executive committee of the Board of Trustees will provide further opportunities for discussion. Subsequent to these discussions and revisions by the writing groups, a full draft plan will be disseminated to the entire community for review and comment.
This will bring us to the final steps of the process. In light of the comments received, the draft plan will be turned into a final plan, to be proposed to the Board of Trustees at its meeting on Jan. 22 and 23. The Board will then vote on the plan. Once we have an approved plan, a new process begins: implementing the plan.
I am grateful for all the time and effort that so many are devoting to this process, and look forward to continuing to work with you to chart the future course for this remarkable institution.
Preliminary Framework for the Strategic Plan
October 10, 2012
Members of the Brandeis Community,
On behalf of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, I am pleased to share this preliminary framework for the strategic plan. The framework seeks to ensure that Brandeis University remains a clear first choice for exceptional students, faculty, and staff committed to making a difference in the world by:
- Advancing Brandeis to a new level of excellence and prominence;
- Fortifying our competitive position among top-tier institutions;
- Delivering high impact education for resources spent;
- Moving forward through strategic investment in strengths, even as we garner new resources;
- Implementing business practices that ensure financial strength now and in the future; and
- Providing the foundation for the next capital campaign.
After a comprehensive review of community input, external research, task force reports, proposals, and plans developed by Brandeis and our peers in the past, the steering committee reached two important conclusions. First, a bold approach is required to address the challenges that confront all top-tier institutions of higher education today: cost, value, access, sustainability, and relevance. Second, the basis for such an approach embedded in the original Brandeis model is as bold and compelling today as in 1948.
Our changing world requires new strategies. Over the coming decades, our students will be drawn from new places and bring new experiences. They will meet new challenges and need new tools. Concurrently, financial hurdles that dramatically exceed those encountered by prior generations affect families and universities. And yet, the committee found the most compelling and transformative solutions close at hand.
This framework is designed to fortify and fully realize the Brandeis model. It does not simply build on our strengths — it demands and amplifies them. It guides us in leveraging our unique assets while seizing new opportunities. This framework positions Brandeis not merely to weather these demanding times but to gain a competitive advantage among top-tier colleges and universities.
What is the Brandeis model when fully realized? It is a learning experience in the finest liberal arts tradition. It is an education in critical thinking and discovery that can be offered only by a small, research-intensive university at the leading edge of innovation. It is the embodiment of our mission — to honor our Jewish roots, which instruct us to repair the world; to embrace social justice in all endeavors; and to live our commitment to pluralism, access, and diversity.
Our model, filled with promise, has yet to reach its full potential. That must be our goal. This proposed framework reshapes our practices in profound ways, guiding us towards the fulfillment of our founding vision while addressing today’s unique challenges. It provides mechanisms to help us make hard choices about investment, consolidation, and redirection of resources over the coming years — choices necessary to advance our premier standing while establishing a sustainable financial structure for the university.
We thank the hundreds of people who have contributed to this labor. Perhaps the most remarkable aspects of this effort have been the heartfelt spirit of collaboration and intellectual integrity, quintessential Brandeis, and the powerful consensus that arose in affirmation of our mission, values, and goals.
Update on the Work of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Task Forces
Sept. 10, 2012
The campus is energized with new and returning faces as the fall semester begins, and it is timely to again share news about the strategic plan.
Throughout the summer, the strategic planning task forces were hard at work. Their discussions were deep and far-reaching. Their thinking galvanizes and inspires us to move in new and innovative directions while strengthening the core to ensure that our essential foundations are in place. All their efforts sought to bolster what is distinctive about Brandeis.
Last week, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) met for two days to consider the task force discussions and the information gathered last spring and fall in order to begin to design the framework for the plan. The framework will be designed to provide an opportunity for the community to “weigh in” on the conceptual design and the principles of the emerging plan. The framework will outline the proposed structure and high-level content for the plan, including first thoughts on initiatives that the SPSC believes could most effectively animate the evolution of the institution over the next five years and empower the next capital campaign.
The framework and the resulting strategic plan will be produced by the SPSC based on feedback from across the Brandeis community, according to the following timeline.
The draft framework will be shared with the community on Oct. 9. I hope you will then participate in one of the six on-campus feedback sessions that will take place between Oct. 10 and 17. Faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and friends are invited to attend. Of course you also may contact any member of the SPSC directly, or email us at email@example.com. The Board of Trustees will consider the framework at its meeting Oct. 30-31. Based on all the input received in October, the plan will be drafted and posted for feedback in early December. The final version of the plan will be presented for Board approval on Jan. 23, 2013.
This website will continue to be a valuable source of information about the ongoing process, the emerging framework and, ultimately, the plan.
Since its inception, Brandeis has been a great institution, known for being courageous, cutting-edge, world-changing and distinctive. Thank you for engaging in this process to ensure that Brandeis remains true to those exceptional characteristics in the future.
Update on the Work of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Task Forces
June 7, 2012
This update of the strategic planning process includes a summary of our spring activities and a review of the work to be conducted this summer.
Please note that there are three new items on this website: the first contains the charges and membership for each of the eleven task forces that are working through the summer to provide input to the strategic planning steering committee (SPSC); the second is a memo to the task force leaders and members detailing the guidelines and deliverables that direct their work; the third is the schedule of the strategic planning process. Based on feedback from the task forces, the SPSC will produce a draft framework of the plan for community feedback in the fall. Please contact members of the task forces or visit the Strategic Planning Forum to share your thoughts.
The strategic planning process began in the fall of 2011 with an engagement of rigorous civil debate and informed conversations. In a series of meetings, in total, over 1,000 members of the Brandeis community—faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alums—convened to offer their ideas for how our research university, liberal arts college, and professional schools will continue academic excellence in teaching and scholarship today and in the future. Our shared passion for the pursuit of knowledge, our collective commitment to social justice, and our universal dedication to building a better world stood out clearly in each of the numerous information gathering sessions.
At its December 2011 retreat, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) thoroughly interrogated and discussed the data the community provided and examined external factors that are likely to impact Brandeis’s future. This SPSC effort enabled a broad and deep understanding of the comments, questions and recommendations offered by the Brandeis community. At that day-long meeting, a number of ideals and ambitions for our university emerged:
- Brandeis as an intellectual space where members of our community and our guests find connectivity through engagement of diverse voices and collaborative problem solving that gives real-life meaning and action to the term “social justice”
- Brandeis facilities and campus spaces that provide places for arts and humanities, the natural and social sciences, and professional education to grow on their own and to come together for innovative teaching, research, intellectual, and social engagement
- Brandeis as a virtual space enriching and engaging students, faculty, staff, alums, and friends throughout their lives and throughout the globe, by employing technology and personal contact in profound, sophisticated, and meaningful forms
- Brandeis as a first-choice destination attracting students, faculty, staff, and friends with opportunities to learn and excel on the campus (physical as well as virtual) and in the community, and to strengthen their commitment to careful listening and thoughtful action
These core ideals and an appreciation of the complex and changing world in which Brandeis exists served as the basis for the phase of strategic planning that began in the spring semester.
In meetings convened throughout the spring of 2012, the SPSC engaged in intense and thoughtful conversations to further envision the future of the university. In addition, members of the Brandeis community continued to submit their ideas and proposals to the committee. As a result of these discussions and the ongoing community input, the SPSC established eleven task forces, consisting of faculty, staff, students, alums, and trustees, to study and recommend ways through which our ideals and ambitions might be realized.
Over the summer the task forces will work to identify our existing strategic strengths and to articulate ways to support and, where possible, build on them in keeping with Brandeis University’s values and commitments; these are enunciated in the “Task Force Process and Deliverables” memo noted above.
These groups are also charged with proposing innovative programs, systems, and structures that will maximize our future potential. Task force recommendations will provide material for a strategic plan framework that the SPSC will draft and present for campus-wide discussion and review in the fall of 2012.
Please continue to share your own ideas and recommendations through the Strategic Planning Forum.
Update on the Work of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Task Forces
May 7, 2012
This update describes some of the recent work of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and of the various task forces.
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) began its April 25th meeting by considering the institutional mission and discussing the 10+ year context for the Brandeis strategic plan. The SPSC members also focused attention on reviewing the work of the eight individual task forces already under way (with four more soon to be formed), as described below. To support the cross-fertilization of ideas, some individuals participate on more than one task force, and the chairs of all task forces will regularly engage in group conversations to exchange ideas in the near future.
The concept of social justice continues as a powerful foundation as Brandeis works to shape its future. Throughout the strategic planning process, the SPSC and task forces have been focusing on how best to link social justice to some of our major strategic initiatives. We look forward to vibrant conversations about justice across the university, which we expect will surface compelling and creative ideas and directions for the future.
Task forces underway include:
- Benchmarking Task Force, chaired by Trustee Michael Sandel ’75, has undertaken studies to examine how Brandeis compares with other colleges and universities across a range of competitive dimensions. A particular area of focus is how certain institutions transformed and leveraged their competitive nature over the past decade.
- Academic Innovations Task Force, led by Dan Perlman, Associate Provost for Assessment and Innovation in Student Learning and Associate Professor of Biology, will propose programmatic approaches and flexible models for delivering education. A shared understanding shows Brandeis at its best when capitalizing on the fact that we are a small liberal arts college and a relatively small research university, enabling us to work together in highly interactive ways. The task force is addressing such questions as: What do we see as the core values (and uniquenesses) of a Brandeis education? What constraints and barriers within the present system prevent, limit, or inhibit our realizing these values? If these barriers were removed, what opportunities, structures, and practices might we envision as the shape of — or specific aspects of — a Brandeis education? What would we require of our students by way of demonstrable skills, knowledge, competencies, and proficiencies?
- Flexible Education Through Technology Task Force, with the leadership of Trustees Stuart Lewtan ‘84 and Walter Mossberg ’69, and coordinated by Michaele Whelan, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and John Unsworth, Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services and Chief Information Officer, has begun to examine how best to serve a spectrum of learners through the use of “flexible education in a time of disruptive technology.” One critical area of focus is the role of the library as an academic center that is expected to change dramatically to meet new and evolving learning models. Another will focus on how to meet students’ needs throughout their lifetimes by creating a range of educational opportunities for intergenerational learning and networking. A third focus will look at how technology can enhance teaching and scholarship.
- The Strategic Planning Financial Task Force, chaired by Trustee Meyer Koplow ’72, continues to examine critical financial comparisons and analyses in supporting the strategic directions to be presented through the strategic plan. In addition to examining comparative data about Brandeis and other educational institutions, the SPFT members are considering a range of concepts to support revenue generation, establish financial incentives, examine potential economies of scale, and develop business models to support the future of education and research at Brandeis.
Additional task forces moving ahead at this time include:
- Faculty Scholarship and Research, co-chaired by Irving Epstein, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Research and Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry, and Robin Feuer Miller, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Faculty and Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities, will focus on ensuring that Brandeis builds the strongest possible commitment to faculty scholarship and research, including having support systems in place to enable faculty to make significant contributions to their fields at all stages of their careers. In addition, this task force will examine the emerging work of the other task forces to ensure that they appropriately integrate scholarship and research into their recommendations.
- Integrated Arts Task Force, led by Gannit Ankori, Professor of Fine Arts and Chair in Israeli Art, Department of Fine Arts and Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, and Scott Edmiston, Director, Office of the Arts, will consider the arts as an essential connective tissue for the Brandeis community. The task force will examine the marriage of arts and other disciplines at Brandeis, new ways of thinking about desirable space to support creative arts, peace building and the arts, and the role of arts in how Brandeis presents itself. Task force members will represent the Departments of Fine and Performing Arts and the Rose Art Museum , together with several other disciplines, in envisioning an integrated arts community radiating throughout Brandeis and from Brandeis to communities nearby and far afield.
- Learning Communities and Campus Experience Task Force, coordinated by Andrew Flagel, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment, together with a faculty member to be named, will explore opportunities to enhance campus life and co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences that: engage students interactively with faculty, foster a sense of community and belonging; support learning, creativity, and personal exploration; and encourage respect for differences and celebration of our multiple-faith and multi-cultural environment.
- Global Task Force, led by Bulbul Chakraborty, Enid and Nate Ancell Professor of Physics, along with Daniel Terris, Vice President for Global Affairs, will focus on “taking Brandeis abroad,” as well as on how Brandeis prepares students for civic engagement in a global society. Attention to significant global issues that transcend countries and regional borders will be important, requiring academic research that aligns with Brandeis at its core.
Also now forming are four new task forces that will focus on: (1) Development; (2) Alumni Engagement and Brandeis Community Building; (3) Facilities and Campus Evolution; and
(4) Justice at Brandeis.
Here is the schedule for the strategic planning process looking forward:
- A substantive planning update will be sent as a follow-up to the May SPSC meeting.
- The task forces will continue to meet through the summer.
- A high-level framework will be ready for input and feedback from faculty, students, and staff by the end of September/early October.
- A plan will be developed by mid-December.
- Confirmation of the plan by campus constituencies and by the Board of Trustees is scheduled for the end of January.
Ideas from across the Brandeis community contribute to the vitality of the strategic planning discussions underway, as they support valuable introspection. Such combined efforts will help shape the future of Brandeis.
Updates on the Work of Our Task Forces
April 18, 2012
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) has attracted a wide range of interest and support from the Brandeis community as the committee considers the future trajectory of Brandeis University. In this update, we are pleased to share planning initiatives that are under way. Please continue to visit the planning forum to comment on new materials as they are posted, and also engage in conversations about the emerging vision for Brandeis.
The SPSC and a number of task forces have updates to report:
- The Strategic Planning Financial Task Force, chaired by Trustee Meyer Koplow ’72, convened again in March to consider the range of financial strategies that will support long-range planning and decision-making at Brandeis. The task force’s charge includes the development of integrated financial strategies that best support the overall strategic direction of the plan as it evolves in the coming months. A thorough review of the Brandeis institutional expense structure compared with peer schools — among other financial analyses — has been initiated.
- The Benchmarking Task Force, chaired by Trustee Michael Sandel ‘75, recently updated the Board of Trustees about benchmarking research under way. In particular, the task force is examining “lessons to be learned” by understanding how and why public perceptions about certain colleges and universities have changed in recent years. “Why have some colleges achieved what appeared to be a rapid rise in popularity?” and “What kinds of decisions influenced that change?” are just two of the questions the benchmarking research addressed. The Benchmarking Task Force will update the Strategic Planning Steering Committee members at its April meeting.
- The Academic Innovations Task Force, led by Associate Provost Dan Perlman, is considering the 10-year vision for the Brandeis academic enterprise. The task force will develop a framework for academics that builds on current efforts at Brandeis as well as ideas and proposals submitted during the information-gathering phase of the planning process. As its work develops, the task force will create smaller subgroups that will focus on specific program areas that require further in-depth study. Those subgroups will carefully consider the implications of particular initiatives for Brandeis — taking into account its competitive environment and the necessary financial commitments.
- Three newly created (or about-to-be-created) task forces include:
- The Flexible Education Through Technology Task Force, led by Trustees Stuart Lewtan ‘84 and Walter Mossberg ‘69 and co-chaired by Vice Provosts Michaele Whelan and John Unsworth, is examining how Brandeis will provide flexible education to college students, working professionals, alumni, high school students, and mature learners by using innovative technology and a re-imagined library to support on-campus and off-campus learning.
- The Campus Community and Residential Life Task Force will be formed during April to consider the future Brandeis living and learning community, and those aspects of the campus that are essential to support that vision.
- The Global Task Force will convene in the coming days to begin to explore strategies aimed at strengthening the university’s global presence over the next decade.
At a meeting of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee on April 25, the task forces will report on their progress. Also in the coming weeks, task force leaders will be invited to meet together to provide updates and to identify how best to work together in supporting the creation of the long-term strategic plan for Brandeis.
We invite the Brandeis community to continue to visit this website for updates. Please also access shared strategic plan documents at Documents and Reports.
Three Critical Task Forces Launched
March 26, 2012
On behalf of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC), I thank you for your enthusiastic participation in our effort to shape the future of Brandeis University. To date, over 1000 of you have offered your insights on Brandeis’s strengths and opportunities and shared your aspirations for the university. To make sure that we continue to engage the community, the SPSC has launched a website that includes a forum section. Please visit the forum to share your ideas and proposals and to comment on new materials as they emerge during the year.
The SPSC has also launched three critical task forces to address priority areas.
- Trustee Meyer Koplow ‘72 is heading the Financial Planning Task Force, which will propose an overall financial strategy to underpin and enable the strategic plan and provide the financial framework for ongoing long-range planning and decision-making at Brandeis.
- Trustee Michael Sandel ‘75 is chairing the Benchmarks Analysis Task Force, to analyze how selected peer institutions became more desirable over the past two decades, thereby drawing students more broadly across the nation and world.
- The Academic Innovations Task Force, led by Dan Perlman, associate provost for Assessment and Innovation in Student Learning and associate professor of Biology, is charged with proposing to the SPSC new programmatic approaches and flexible models for delivering a Brandeis education.
On February 12, the SPSC held an all-day retreat focused on some key themes that emerged from the initial input sessions. The areas of discussion included: social justice; Brandeis as a global institution; new and flexible models for delivering a Brandeis education; programs and schools: innovation and new; alumni engagement and support; technology in the future of Brandeis; and the cost of higher education.
Building on the retreat work, the SPSC met on Wednesday, March 21 to continue to explore key themes gathered from the input sessions and to discuss the relationship of those themes to the Brandeis mission. The committee also began to articulate a broad vision for the strategic plan and identify areas for additional research.
Based on the meeting discussion, we will launch additional task forces to help shape the framework document for the plan. For further information, including the summaries of the input sessions in which you participated and a chart showing the basic elements of our strategic plan, visit Documents and Reports.
Report on Feb. 12 Strategic Planning Steering Committee Retreat
Feb. 13, 2012
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) met again for a full-day planning retreat on Feb. 12. Following opening remarks by President Fred Lawrence, Elaine Kuttner of Cambridge Concord Associates presented an overview of strategic planning and outlined the process for Brandeis.
The meeting continued as Herbie Rosen gave an excellent presentation of the results of the many undergraduate student input sessions. The report served to inform the discussion for the rest of the day.
Anita Hill and Dan Feldman then presented external data that will likely impact Brandeis over the life of this strategic plan. The process of gathering relevant data will continue throughout the planning process as needed.
The main focus of the retreat was a robust discussion of a series of strategic questions that have emerged from the input sessions and other work. SPSC members engaged in in-depth discussions of key questions around such topics as academic excellence, social justice, potential new educational models, alumni engagement, the student experience, globalism, the role of technology, and others. The results of these discussions will help shape the ongoing content and process as the group as it moves forward in developing the plan.
The SPSC also identified potential topics for further research and discussion by small task forces. As a result of that discussion, we will propose several task forces to be formed in the next couple of weeks. The small group work will provide more information for SPSC deliberations.
Additional meetings throughout the winter and spring will result in the development of a framework for the strategic plan. This will be refined over the summer and early fall, with a draft to be shared with the Brandeis community by late fall. The fall and early winter will be devoted to refining the draft and preparing the plan for approval by the end of December.
The SPSC is excited about this forward-looking process. We greatly appreciate the input received to date and we encourage you to continue to participate. We encourage you to visit to the Strategic Planning website (www.brandeis.edu/strategicplanning) often. Here you will find summaries of the input sessions, information about the task forces, summaries of each SPSC meeting, and emerging framework themes. The site will enable you to stay up to date with the process and to contribute your ideas. You may also continue to send your thoughts by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you once again to all of you for your ideas and your continued commitment to the future of Brandeis.
Report on the First Meeting of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Feb. 2, 2012
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) met on Feb. 1 for its first in-depth look at input and ideas gathered from the Brandeis community in the many input sessions and meetings held with faculty, staff, students, trustees and alumni. In all, more than 1,100 people participated. The SPSC found this input to be insightful, provocative and practical. The Committee also began to review internal facts and external trends that will impact Brandeis over the next several years.
We are pleased to announce that we have formed the first two task forces to support the planning process. The Strategic Planning Financial Task Force will be chaired by Trustee Meyer Koplow '72. The work of this task force will provide the financial underpinnings for the strategic plan. Trustee Michael Sandel '75 will chair the “Hot Schools” Task Force, to look at what we can learn from institutions that have made strategic decisions over the past decade and thereby improved their performance and attractiveness to students.
SPSC members discussed the need to link their work with the efforts of committees now focusing on issues of import to the planning process. Please let us know if you are involved with a committee that you think has relevance for strategic planning. You can email the committee at email@example.com.
The next Committee meeting will be a full day planning retreat on Feb. 12. At that time the SPSC will continue to discuss the results of the input sessions, internal metrics and factors and trends in the external environment that are likely to impact Brandeis over the life of the plan. By the end of that day, our intention is to identify a list of areas that require research and discussion by small task forces.
Please look for the next update soon after the SPSC’s retreat on Feb. 12.
Charting a Course
Jan. 23, 2012
This past fall, President Lawrence launched a comprehensive strategic-planning process to chart a future course for the University and provide a framework for decision-making over the next five years. At that time, a Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) was formed and charged with overseeing the process and producing the plan.
In the fall and early winter, the SPSC held sessions for the purpose of gathering information from the broader Brandeis community. More than 500 faculty, staff, students, trustees and alumni attended these sessions and participated in discussions to contribute to the planning process. In addition, more than 600 undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows have met to provide ideas and feedback. Input is also still coming in via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The members of the SPSC are very grateful for the participation and insights of all who have attended sessions or written.
The SPSC will be meeting on Feb. 1 to look at the wealth of information and ideas that have been gathered. We’ll be posting updates on a regular basis. We hope you’ll visit this site often to stay informed, stay involved, and help shape the future of Brandeis.