Strategic Planning Steering Committee

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) is an ad hoc group responsible to the President that serves as the central coordinating group for University at Albany’s strategic planning process from August 2016 through May 2017. The SPSC consists of a deliberately small group of faculty and staff members who are asked to think innovatively and strategically. These colleagues will reflect a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, while bringing a shared commitment to advancing the institution as a whole. It is co­chaired by Provost Stellar and Chief of Staff Wirkkula.

Specifically, the SPSC will:

  1. Think strategically for the university, broadly and over the long term
  2. Provide input to the topics to be researched during the futuring process
  3. Review materials being prepared for public dissemination and comment
  4. Provide input to the design, structure, and expected outcomes of planning events and activities
  5. Review material generated in the various processes and exercises and synthesize outcomes
  6. Help determine the nature of the expeditions to be launched during spring expedition mapping
  7. Craft strategic documents for further review leading to implementation

The SPSC is responsible for leading an inclusive process that will provide all stakeholders with opportunities to contribute. Over the course of the four phases of the strategic planning process (design, divergent thinking, convergent planning, and alignment) the group will take on different tasks and roles. During fall 2016 in the divergent thinking phase, the group will meet biweekly and review important materials and review the results of the futuring working groups. During spring 2017, the group will meet more frequently, actively engaged in converging on key ideas and crafting strategies. A subset of the SPSC will develop and draft early versions of the strategic documents for review by the full SPSC and eventually the broader University community. The group will be facilitated by planning consultant Robert Brodnick.


  • Darrell Wheeler, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Leanne Wirkkula, Vice President – Planning, Policy, and Compliance


  • Marlene Belfort, Distinguished Professor – Biological Sciences
  • Joseph Brennan, Vice President – Communications and Marketing
  • Michael Christakis, Vice President – Student Affairs
  • Cynthia Fox, Associate Professor – Languages, Literatures and Cultures
  • Sanjay Goel, Professor and Chair – Information Technology Management
  • Glyne Griffith, Associate Professor and Chair – English
  • Kajal Lahiri, Distinguished Professor – Economics
  • Jason Lane, Associate Professor and Chair – Educational Administration and Policy Studies
  • JoAnne Malatesta, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Director – Advisement Services Center
  • Mary Ellen Mallia, Director – Environmental Sustainability
  • Li Niu, Professor and Chair – Chemistry
  • Julie Novkov, Professor and Chair – Political Science
  • Estela Rivero, Director – Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Robert Yagelski, Professor – Educational Theory and Practice, Associate Vice Provost and Director – Writing and Critical Inquiry