Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph A. Alutto
Presentation to the Ohio State Board of Trustees
April 6, 2012
A Strategic Plan for The Ohio State University
Ohio State’s future will be defined and driven by the university’s move from excellence to eminence, a transition that will bring benefits to the citizens of Ohio. Making that move requires a strategic vision and a clear path for achieving it. Strategic planning establishes the guideposts that will mark our journey toward eminence, and it provides opportunities to assess our steps along the way. By adopting a One University planning approach, with full alignment of activities at all university levels, and applying a rigorous and collective set of measures, we will multiply our efforts and impact—and ensure that The Ohio State University remains vital, sustainable, and accountable to the citizens of Ohio and the Nation. To attain this goal over the next ten years The Ohio State University will be making significant incremental investments in faculty, the student experience, facility improvements, and financial stewardship of resources.
Over the past two years Ohio State has engaged in a number of significant long-term planning exercises to prioritize the university’s most important goals and objectives and to guide strategic decision-making for the next decade. Our planning efforts have engaged the entire university, from the Board of Trustees to academic units. These processes have developed in parallel, integrating as we have moved forward, and have yielded information that is guiding us along the path to eminence. The university is now ready to implement the outcome of these efforts.
Our planning approach is founded on Ohio State’s common vision, mission, and values as well as our four core goals and a focus on three discovery themes that will inform activities throughout the university.
The Ohio State University will be the world’s preeminent public comprehensive university, solving problems of world-wide significance.
We exist to advance the well-being of the people of Ohio and the global community through the creation and dissemination of knowledge.
Shared values are the commitments made by the Ohio State community regarding how work will be conducted. At The Ohio State University these values include:
- Commitment to Excellence
- Collaboration as One University
- Acting with Integrity
- Personal Accountability
- Diversity in People and Ideas
- Change and Innovation
- Simplicity in our Supporting Processes
- Openness and Trust
Four institution-wide goals are fundamental to Ohio State’s mission and future success and must be reflected in all that we accomplish:
- Teaching and Learning: to provide an unsurpassed, student-centered learning experience led by engaged, world-class faculty and enhanced by a globally diverse student body.
- Research and Innovation: to create distinctive and internationally recognized contributions to the advancement of fundamental knowledge and scholarship and to solutions of the world’s most pressing problems.
- Outreach and Engagement: to establish mutually beneficial partnerships with the citizens and institutions of Ohio, the nation, and the world so that our communities are actively engaged in the exciting work of The Ohio State University.
- Resource Stewardship: to become the model for an affordable public university recognized for financial sustainability, unsurpassed management of human and physical resources, and operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Discovery Themes at The Ohio State University
The university’s move to eminence will be founded in the university’s three discovery themes of Health and Wellness, Food Production and Security, and Energy and Environment. These themes are based on special, broad, and deep expertise across the university. Through these discovery themes, Ohio State will focus its resources and activities on finding durable solutions to issues of global as well as regional importance. The discovery themes are essential elements of Ohio State’s strategic planning and will shape much of the daily work carried out in our four core goal areas of high-value teaching and learning, research and innovation, outreach and engagement and resource stewardship.
Faculty from every college and all six campuses of the university will be encouraged to actively contribute to these discovery themes. Meanwhile, as these colleagues concentrate their efforts on the issues the discovery themes are meant to address, they and others will continue to advance our understanding of history and philosophy, languages and cultures, and the arts as they pursue excellence in our core goals. Our programs in medicine, agriculture, veterinary sciences, engineering, business and many other fields of study are rich and strong because they are grounded by excellence in the arts, humanities and physical as well as social sciences.
Strategic Planning Background and History
The first major step in Ohio State’s strategic planning process began with President Gee's return to the university in 2007 and the identification of six guiding philosophies:
- Creating One University
- Putting students first with academic excellence and access;
- Enhancing faculty and staff talent and culture;
- Boosting our research prominence;
- Reaffirming our commitment to outreach and collaboration; and
- Operating with financial soundness and simplicity.
The strategic planning work continued with the Board of Trustees’ approval of the One Ohio State Framework, the university’s comprehensive effort to redefine how we think about our physical world. The Framework is an integrated model that allows us to holistically consider strategic, financial, and physical planning issues, ensuring that our academic mission drives all our activities.
The Trustees then approved a new model for university advancement that laid the groundwork for the strategic, university-wide integration of alumni relations, communications, and marketing and development functions.
Working in parallel with the Board of Trustees’ efforts, all 14 of Ohio State’s colleges and the Regional Campus Cluster are developing multi-year strategic plans that are aligned with our aforementioned institutional goals.
Although the university has already begun to reap the benefits of the significant work being done in these distinct yet related areas, guided implementation requires greater specificity and focus. By coordinating and integrating all these planning efforts we will more directly align our aspirational goals with available resources, thus enabling the university to achieve greater success and visibility than at any other time in its history. In part, this can be achieved by identifying one clear definition of success—even while recognizing that achievement requires success along multiple dimensions.
There are a number of ways in which a university’s quality and impact can be measured. However, there is no one measuring system that is universally used to assess the relative impact and quality of public comprehensive research universities. All systems have shortcomings and use different performance data in different ways. Given this reality, there are two conclusions one draws when seeking independent measures of quality.
First, there does appear to be some consistency in assessments across different measuring systems. That is to say the top 10 to 15 universities in one assessment system tend to also be in the top levels of other comprehensive assessment systems. Thus, the key to understanding a university’s quality and performance is the level of consistency across multiple ranking systems. The best universities tend to have a vector or path of assessment that results in their being assessed among the very best in most if not all individual assessment systems.
Second, university quality is greatly determined by (a) the number and quality of faculty actively involved in teaching and research, (b) the ability to provide outstanding students with access to high quality programs regardless of economic background, (c) enhanced on-campus experiences supporting students’ aspirations for growth and career goals, and (d) development of sufficient resources to support these three critical facets of university life. Each of these aspects of Ohio State is reflected in our core goals.
Given this, over the next ten years Ohio State will:
- Increase the size of the tenure-track faculty by 8 to 10 percent.
Adding faculty should be reflected in improvements in average class size, the number of smaller classes offered, the percentage of faculty who are committed full time, the generation of externally funded research support, and opportunities for translational activities that have economic impacts.
- Focus on retaining and recruiting a mix of both senior and junior faculty members.
This would have a positive reinforcing impact on the overall academic reputation of the university while building the basis for continued future excellence.
- Increase funding to support research and teaching in the discovery themes
This would capitalize on current investments and sustain our involvement in problem solving of world-wide significance.
Estimated Cost Over Ten Years: $300 Million
- Increase financial aid to maintain access and attract students best capable of benefitting from program quality.
This strategy would affect multiple dimensions, including overall assessments of financial resources committed to academic programs and graduation rates.
Estimated Cost Over Ten Years: $200 Million
- Enrich student learning environments through enhanced residential experiences and greater investment in student support services.
This should further accelerate our progress in achieving even higher and graduation rates.
Estimated Cost Over Ten Years: $100 Million
- Renovate facilities and develop replacement facilities designed to support programs.
While our guiding principle will continue to be limited development of new net square footage it is clear that replacement with more functional space will be essential to support current and anticipated activities.
Estimated Cost Over Ten Years: $1.5 Billion
Generation of New Resources:
- Generate new resources through reallocation, savings, and new sources of revenue.
Estimated Resource Generation Over Ten Years: $2.1 billion
We are not assuming that funding to support these initiatives will be provided through increased state subsidies as it is clear that our governor and legislators are grappling with numerous competing demands on existing and anticipated funds.
Instead, Ohio State is committed to generating the necessary incremental resources for improvement through a variety of approaches including the identification of savings, redirections of existing funds, and innovative development of new funding sources. We embrace this challenge and see it as simply one outcome of our commitment to a noble core mission.
The mix of resources we anticipate will be available to support this ten-year plan is outlined in Attachment A. It is clear that we will need to be disciplined in our decision making and committed to focusing resources on those areas with greatest contribution to our objective of achieving preeminence among comprehensive public research universities. That is essential as we contribute to the quality of life of the citizens of Ohio and to an increasingly interdependent global society.
To assist in the systematic progress toward our goal, the Board of Trustees will develop a series of planning reports which will be consistently updated and reviewed. Each will have a focus on one or more of the key strategies involved and note short- and long-term progress. Thus, the Board of Trustees and the university leadership will have a consistent, aligned focus as we move forward.
The next steps in this process will include continued annual planning discussions with university constituents, including faculty and staff groups, student leaders, administrators, alumni, and other university stakeholders. Our objective is to assure alignment and reinforcement of consistency in actions that will lead to improved visibility and impact for the teaching, research, outreach, and engagement goals of The Ohio State University. This process will also involve continued multi-year identification of goals and progress assessments with the Board of Trustees.
In effect, our planning is leading us to a bold and transformative approach to advancing the university’s core goals, one that is guided by our own determination of desired outcomes. By providing for specific investments in students, faculty, and the infrastructure that support attainment of our goals, this commitment will lead the way for consistent recognition for true eminence. We accept this as a commitment to moving well beyond current levels of institutional excellence. More importantly this commitment will ensure that Ohio State accomplishes its mission, brings life to its vision, and fulfills a role that is essential to society.
In implementing our plans, the following investments have been made for the 2012-2013 academic year:
- Student Scholarships – an incremental $50 million has been set aside for student scholarships, supported primarily from cost savings and other incremental funds generated over four years.
- Student Experience Enhancement – an incremental $2 million has been allocated for student residential and learning environment improvements, funded from new affinity revenue.
- Faculty Recruitment – an incremental $10 million will be allocated to faculty recruitment, primarily from redirection of existing allocations.
- Facilities – an incremental $10 million will be committed for facilities improvements, all from affinity agreements and non-state sources.
Click here for Attachment A.