DAHLONEGA - The University of North Georgia has completed a strategic plan that outlines institutional values and goals for the future of the university that align with its mission and new strategic vision: "To be a regional and national leader for academic excellence, engagement, educational opportunity, and leadership development."
Set to go into effect this fall, the strategic plan identifies institutional priorities that impact academic programs, campus planning and community partnerships for the next five academic years. The new strategic plan is the university's first since being created in January 2013 from the consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University.
"Prior to consolidation, our two schools were among the highest-performing public colleges in the state, and the strategic plan will help us build upon that tradition of excellence," Jacobs said. "The strategic plan details how we will be responsive to regional, state and national needs while providing an academic and developmental experience that is relevant to our mission of educating globally prepared citizens."
The plan outlines five UNG values - excellence, student-focused, integrity, engagement and service - and four strategic goals:
Goal 1: Promote academic excellence and innovation
Goal 2: Enhance leadership and development of the whole person
Goal 3: Expand engagement and educational opportunity
Goal 4: Build campus identity and institutional unity
The plan's broad-ranging objectives include making infrastructure and governance improvements to manage a multi-campus university, continuing the tradition of national excellence by the Corps of Cadets, enhancing community engagement, and becoming a leader in internationalized learning. The plan includes a number of strategies for fostering recruitment, retention and development of high-quality students, faculty and staff.
The plan was created by UNG's Strategic Planning Steering Committee, comprising about 60 faculty, staff and students from the university's four campuses. The committee was chaired by Dr. J.B. Sharma, professor and assistant department head of physics, and Dr. Andrew J. Leavitt, vice president for university advancement and professor of chemistry.
"I am deeply grateful for the months of hard work from the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the leadership of Drs. J.B. Sharma and Andrew Leavitt in guiding this process," Jacobs said. "They ensured that this process gave all members of the university community, as well as alumni and community members, had opportunities for input. As a result, the first strategic plan of our consolidated university establishes a cohesive community, yet maintains the distinct role of each of the university's four campuses so that we can become stronger than the sum of our parts."
Town hall meetings were held throughout the spring to ensure that alumni and the community, in addition to university faculty, staff and students, had opportunities to learn about and comment on the work of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Comments also were solicited via the university's website and in an online town hall meeting.
"The committee's unity and focus throughout this collaborative process helped achieve the goal of developing a shared vision of the future of this university," Leavitt said. "I am very appreciative of the feedback the committee received throughout the process from community members and alumni who attended our town hall meetings. The strategic planning process helped build a university community that is inclusive of all four campuses and the communities and alumni we serve and I think we'll do great things together."
Sharma agreed that the collaborative process of creating the strategic plan has helped establish a foundation of unity for the new university.
"The strategic planning process also has generated personal bonds, trust and respect between all those who participated in this process; these collegial relations are a seed that will grow into the outcomes that the strategic plan envisages," Sharma said. "This inclusive process has produced a plan that contains all of the components of the educational ecosystem that is UNG, and I am convinced that it will pave the pathway to a vibrant university that we all envision.
Signed by Leavitt and Sharma, the finalized strategic plan was submitted to Dr. Patricia Donat, UNG provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, on April 30. The next step will be identifying an implementation committee that will begin putting UNG's strategic plan into action, Donat said.
"Over the course of the summer, an implementation team will identify the institutional units with primary responsibility for implementing each component of the plan and for developing targeted operational plans," Donat said. "The implementation team will also identify the key performance measures that will be used to monitor progress toward meeting the objectives set forth in the plan."
The complete strategic plan, resources and other information about the planning process can be viewed on the university's strategic planning website. (See link below.)