Strategic Planning Process: Virtually unknown

Zachary Staab
Assoc. News Editor

Feedback compiled from suggestion boxes on campus, online comment forms, and input provided through Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) members is incorporated into the September 2013 Draft Planning Elements. The following elements were included in the draft: Vision Statement, updated Mission Statement, MU’s Common Purpose and Goal Themes.
Dr. Victor DeSantis and Dr. Laurie Hanich, co-chairs of the SPC, both served as members of the University Planning Council and Middle States reaccreditation process. “The Steering committee has done a lot of hard work in developing initial planning elements, said DeSantis. “We take that feedback seriously and are constantly looking for ways to be responsive.”
The Planning Committee have already created “multiple iterations” of draft items and will modify the elements based on feedback from stakeholders.
Nathan Grim, psychology major, had never heard of the Strategic Planning Process. “I have not heard about the Strategic Planning Committee or anything about the new vision and mission process,” said Grim.
“The mission and vision seem to incorporate everything,” he said – after viewing a printed copy of the drafts of the mission and vision statement. The one phrase mentions MU addressing compelling global issues “but I don’t believe the university actually does that,” he said.
Secondary education major in history, TJ Bechtel, also never heard of the SPC and new mission and vision process. After reviewing a print version of the drafts, Bechtel said, “I feel like these statements are open to interpretation. It comes down to students and if they really want to learn about the SPC.” The long term sustainability aspect of the drafts speak to me; he said, it shows that the university is getting something done.
Of the 13 students interviewed on the Strategic Planning Committee, one student had heard of the committee and the drafts of the mission and vision statement. Every student interviewed suggested that the university send email blasts or distribute fliers explaining the Strategic Planning process. Another student who had never heard about the Strategic Planning Committee, Maura Pfeiffer, a sophomore, believed – after reviewing a printed version of the drafts – that the vision and mission “accurately represented her impression of Millersville.”
After several drafting phases, elements of the SPC will be sent to the cabinet and council of trustees for approval. “Ultimately, our process will result in a set of recommendations to the President and Cabinet,” said DeSantis. “Those recommendations will be reviewed and further refined by Cabinet as they prepare final draft language for Council of Trustee approval next year.”
The SPC, while on pace to satisfy elements in the draft time line and process overview, “struggles to be as inclusive as possible and offer our stakeholder groups ample opportunities for input,” said DeSantis.
“Students have been enthusiastic about planning for Millersville’s future.” The committee tries to gather input from students in a myriad of ways, he said.