With the University focused on charting a clear course for its future and continued success, a group of nearly 300 stakeholders embarked on an inclusive and intensive year-long planning process, leading to this comprehensive document, “Forward-Focused: Where Innovation Meets Possibilities.”
In Fall 2021, President Hemphill and his administrative staff launched the strategic planning process by seeking nominations from the campus community and its stakeholders to form key groups. By November 2021, 12 were formed:
- Steering Committee;
- Mission and Core Values Subcommittee;
- Challenges and Opportunities Subcommittee;
- Academic Excellence Subcommittee;
- Branding, Marketing, and Communication Subcommittee;
- Corporate/Community Partnerships and Economic Development Subcommittee;
- Philanthropic Giving and Alumni Engagement Subcommittee;
- Research Growth Subcommittee;
- Strategic Enrollment Growth Subcommittee;
- Student Engagement and Success Subcommittee;
- Budget Team; and
- Writing Team.
The Steering Committee; Mission and Core Values Subcommittee; and the Challenges and Opportunities Subcommittee began meeting at the end of November 2021. Focus groups, organized by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, gathered stakeholder recommendations and concerns about the University's future direction and informed the two subcommittees’ findings. The work of the Steering Committee and the subcommittees was followed in January 2022 by the Academic Excellence Subcommittee; Branding, Marketing, and Communication Subcommittee; Corporate/Community Partnerships and Economic Development Subcommittee; Philanthropic Giving and Alumni Engagement Subcommittee; Research Growth Subcommittee; Strategic Enrollment Growth Subcommittee; and Student Engagement and Success Subcommittee. Lastly, the Budget Team began its deliberations in April 2022, with the Writing Team assuming its duties shortly thereafter. Each group met weekly or biweekly until its tasks were accomplished and its findings presented to the Steering Committee for detailed review, robust discussion, and preliminary approval. Additional input was sought from the President's Cabinet and Leadership Council.
In September 2022, a strategic plan draft was presented to the Board of Visitors, and a campuswide comment period followed. In October 2022, a working draft was shared with the campus for a 30-day comment period. Following campus feedback, the Board of Visitors approved the final version at the end of the calendar year. The strategic plan, “Forward- Focused: Where Innovation Meets Possibilities,” began implementation in January 2023.
Those involved in the process are dedicated members of University leadership, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the Coastal Virginia community.
Over 300 campus stakeholders participated in the planning process.
Identification of Goals and Strategies
During Spring 2022, the seven strategic plan subcommittees tasked with developing goals and strategies met systematically and routinely to collect and analyze data, discuss key findings, and develop strategic goals to guide the University’s future. Specifically, subcommittees reviewed internal and external focus group data, informational graphs produced by the Office of Research utilizing the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Old Dominion University Research Foundation (ODURF) proposal and award data, and market research data. In addition to quantitative data, the subcommittees sought input from experts across the University including, but not limited to the Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, the University’s Budget Officer, and the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Subcommittees then worked together to draft the goals, presenting those goals first with the Steering Committee followed by the President’s Cabinet and Leadership Council.
Importance of Key Performance Indicators
In addition to developing a robust plan, regular reporting and transparency are critical components to short-term implementation and long-term success of the identified initiatives. As a result, key performance indictors (KPIs) are provided for each goal and strategy. These items include baseline and target metrics, as well as a responsible party and timeline. As such, progress reports will be developed and shared twice a year to provide an update on the status of exceeding, meeting, or missing the identified KPIs.
As part of the year-long strategic planning process, a robust budget component was embedded in the overall efforts of the seven subcommittees. A separate budget template was developed by the Budget Team and completed by the subcommittees for each strategy. The forms were developed to fully understand the resource types (one-time or recurring and new or reallocation), as well as the expense categories (personnel, operating, etc.)
The Budget Team reviewed the submissions for completeness, soundness, and feasibility, especially as it related to revenue generation. To determine a desired path for both implementation and outcomes, members of the Budget Team held individual meetings with representatives from each subcommittee.
With implementation of the strategic plan, a Monarch Investment Fund, totaling $25 million, will be established to house additional resources for new initiatives, as well as expanded activities in existing areas. An annual contribution of $5 million will be made for each year in the reporting period. A budget bulletin will be provided as part of the twice-yearly updates to keep the campus informed of the overall investment and related progress. Additionally, an internal budget document will be developed and made available to the designated responsible parties.
Transparency and Accountability
The University’s strategic plan and the process toward its development were open and public, including public comment periods. The University maintained a public section on its website with membership and timeline information, as well as real-time meeting minutes from each of the various committees, subcommittees, and teams. Regular meetings, both in-person and utilizing synchronous technologies, occurred throughout 2022, and working documents were visible to all administrators and subcommittee members in the University’s Microsoft Teams platform. Further accountability was upheld with regular reports and updates to chairs and co-chairs, as well as the University administration.