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INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY

University’s plan for future nears review

By : Staff report


With months of work behind them, members of the Strategic Planning Council are finalizing a draft plan outlining the future path of Binghamton University.

Reconvened by President Lois B. DeFleur earlier this year, the group has gathered input to update the University’s Plan for the Future.

“Our planning process has served us well,” said DeFleur, “and we have used these plans as part of our discussions with the SUNY system and to accomplish many objectives.

“However, we again need to put forward future directions and how we will continue to accomplish our goals,” she said. “I appreciate the work that the Strategic Planning Council has done on these issues, and we will be seeking broader campus input soon.”

The planning council’s subcommittees solicited input throughout their work, including focus groups and surveys. The campus was also invited to weigh in earlier this year via a Web site. That process continues now as the council looks to the campus community to review the draft report and comment.

“The Strategic Planning Council is open to everyone’s views about the University’s major directions,” said Mary Ann Swain, provost and vice president for academic affairs and chair of the effort. “This is a draft for comment and we invite everyone to do so.”

Within the next few weeks, the complete text of the plan will be posted on the Web with a notification on Dateline, and a hard copy will be included in a future issue of Inside BU.

Comprised of representatives from across campus, the council broke into six subcommittees to research and assess all aspects of the University. According to Swain, the resulting major themes found in the recommendations “preserve and enhance the intellectual vitality of the campus.”

The plan provides a broad framework to guide the entire campus, and each of the five administrative divisions will now develop more specific goals and a timetable within that framework.

Swain said the council’s draft “makes much more of the fact that we are a public institution and we have a covenant with taxpayers in addition to our responsibility for education of the citizenry.

“For the first time we’ve staked out this mission and that this is part of who we are,” she said. “The draft clearly stakes out outreach as part of our mission.”

As a result, one major theme highlights an overarching entrepreneurial spirit. “We need to diversify our revenue sources and being more entrepreneurial is the way to go,” Swain said.

“That’s why we need to develop people - the University and everybody in it. We need to bring our heads as well as our hands to work and remember that innovation can take place at all levels.”

The draft also calls for intellectual focus and for people to organize themselves to advance a more limited number of initiatives, Swain said.

“We don’t forget the traditional at all, such as the strengths of our undergraduate education and the advancement of research and scholarship,” she said, “but we come down on the side of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in graduate and research programs.

“We will always value and want faculty whose scholarship is deeply embedded in their discipline or profession,” Swain said.

“But we’re changing the mix. There will be more hired whose scholarship crosses either sub-fields in a discipline or disciplines and professions.

“This will actually give us more options to involve more faculty in doctoral programs.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08