Strategic Planning Process Overview

Last year the University used a design thinking approach to stimulate broad University engagement and to gather input from across the University in the development of our draft strategic framework. The strategic framework consists of three imperatives, each supported by initiatives focusing in three areas:

Imperative 1: Foster Our Culture of Excellence
1.1 Faculty Development
1.2 Leadership Development
1.3 Service Excellence

Imperative 2: Innovate Our Programs
2.1 Academic Innovation
2.2 Strategic Enrollment Management
2.3 Brand and Identity

Imperative 3: Strengthen Our Research
3.1 Culture and Portfolio
3.2 Fuse Research and Learning
3.3 Research Infrastructure

This 3-by-3 framework has now been expanded to reflect our five key institutional priorities:

  • Student Success
  • Research Excellence
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Globalization, and
  • Public Engagement and Community Outreach

The new framework is depicted below.

University at Albany Strategic Plan: 2018-2023
Imperative 1: Foster a Culture of Excellence by Developing Our Faculty and Staff  Student Success Research Excellence Diversity & Inclusion Globalization Public Engagement & Community Outreach
Imperative 1.1 – Build and nurture faculty development programs that will better enable all faculty to more effectively foster student learning; conduct high-impact research, scholarship and creative activities; and engage collaboratively as full partners in improving the university.           
Imperative 1.2 – Create and expand leadership development programs for faculty and staff to improve our capacities for leading the academic enterprise through strategic thinking, planning and management; data-driven decision making; inclusive excellence; and continuous improvement.           
Imperative 1.3 – Design and implement a comprehensive set of actions to foster a culture of service excellence that will support faculty success, improve the student experience, increase employee satisfaction, foster alumni loyalty and further burnish the reputation of the University at Albany as a 21st century public research university.           
Imperative 2: Innovate Programs to Meet 21st Century Societal Challenges           
Imperative 2.1 – Foster an environment that promotes dynamic academic innovation across the boundaries of today’s disciplines, departments and colleges. Engage the faculty in defining the mix of programs, particularly at the master’s and doctoral levels, that will enable UAlbany to develop a competitive advantage, to better articulate the contemporary role of the arts and humanities, and to enhance our identity as a public research university.           
Imperative 2.2 – Define the student body profile such as the ratio of graduate to undergraduate enrollment, demographics and diversity, and academic qualifications to reflect the importance of ensuring access to academic excellence, a rigorous educational experience grounded in a research-based curriculum, and student readiness and success.           
Imperative 2.3 – Build a more compelling institutional brand by aligning institutional identity, external image, and identities of the units to enhance our reputation and ability to compete for the people and resources necessary to succeed as a 21st century research university.           
Imperative 3: Strengthen Our Research, Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Status as a Research I University           
Imperative 3.1 – Advance a culture of scholarly excellence. Develop a broader, more rigorous and competitive portfolio of research, scholarship and creative activity.           
Imperative 3.2 — Infuse research into all learning environments, both formal and co-curricular, to ensure that students at every level are engaged in a rigorous course of study and academic training.           
Imperative 3.3 — Optimize the research infrastructure including systems, processes, policies and incentives that better supports the faculty capacity for scholarly pursuits.           

Workgroups are being established for each of the five strategic priorities. Each workgroup will be charged with drafting one of the five strategic priorities, will be led by co-chairs, staffed by professional staff and a graduate assistant, and include representation from the University Senate, as well as undergraduate and graduate student representatives. External stakeholders will also be invited to participate in the workgroups, as appropriate.

It is expected that the drafting of the strategic priorities will build heavily upon the ideas and initiatives developed in the futuring papers, Concert of Ideas, Ideation Workshop, and expedition mapping exercises conducted last year. As such, each strategic priority will detail individual initiatives mapped across the imperatives the campus developed over the past year. Borrowing from the expedition mapping exercises conducted last year, initiatives developed under each strategic priority and across the imperatives will ideally delineate the following components:

  • Current state​: a description of the conditions that currently exist; this is your starting point, include necessary data and analytics about where you are today
  • End state​: a colorful, inspiring description of what the future may be like when the strategy is successfully realized; as the destination, this is the final future state on the map
  • Time horizon​: the period of time over which you expect to pursue and reach the destination future states​: vivid descriptions of the way stations, points along the way plotted over time
  • Time segments​: how the time horizon is divided into manageable parts, whether they be weeks, months, quarters, or years
  • Accelerators​: forces, either internal or external, that serve to enhance or speed up strategy and activities
  • Decelerators​: forces or obstacles that serve to resist or slow down your progress
  • Actions & behaviors​: what you do in each time segment, how people act
  • Financial resources​: human and financial capital necessary for the actions, behaviors, materials, and other costs
  • New capacities​: things you need to do that you cannot now, whether it be individual skills, group capabilities, new technologies, or organizational capacities
  • Organizational practices​: new requirements or modifications to existing structures and processes

Once the strategic priorities and initiatives have been developed and aligned with the comprehensive campaign and branding initiative, they will form the substance of a new strategic blueprint for the University. The new strategic plan will have an expected life cycle of five years to allow for implementation and execution to effect change.

Given the significant progress the campus has made in arriving at the current draft strategic framework, President Rodríguez has established an aggressive timeline for completing the work of the strategic plan.

Proposed timeline:

November 3Strategic Planning Committee Meeting
December 15Strategic Planning Work Group Priority Drafts Due
January 15Finalize Draft Plan
Jan. 16 – Feb. 15Strategic Plan Listening Tour (schools/colleges, various fora)
March/AprilUnveil Final Strategic Plan

(Previous Overview Planning)