February 24, 2010

Administrators Lay Out Strategic Plan in Forum

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The Reimagining Cornell train continued chugging on as Provost Kent Fuchs and Prof. Ed Lawler, industrial and labor relations, delivered a presentation yesterday regarding the strategic plan for reshaping the University.

The forum, which drew a small crowd to the Biotechnology building, featured a change of pace from previous discussions of the plan, where administrators emphasized they wanted to raise the University’s standards. But instead of doing more with less, the University will be looking to do less with less.

“[Right now] there’s no need to do more with less, [we need] to do less with lessresources,” Fuchs said. “I can easily think of new things to do, but it’s hard to think of things we should stop doing.”

The strategic plan is part of the three-pronged approach to Reimagining Cornell. The plan outlines five areas for the University to improve in: educational excellence, excellence in research scholarship and creativity, excellence in public engagement, faculty excellence and staff excellence. Lawler and Fuchs headed the drafting of the document, which first appeared online Jan. 27. The second draft is expected to go online March 15.

“This will be a living document, something that will have to change over time,” Lawler said. “This document will not only not be written in stone, but it’ll be written in pencil.”

The powerpoint presentation laid out by Lawler and Fuchs took a succinct look at a process that is expected to take place over the next five to 10 years. Amongst the various smaller details, a bigger goal of the strategic plan was pitched in the middle of the presentation. According to the presentation, the University hopes to, “In the next 10 years, strive to become a top-10 research university in the nation and world, and a model university for interweaving liberal education and fundamental knowledge with practical education and impact on societal and world problems.”

“We assume that the academic strength lies in the colleges,” Lawler said. “But we also assume that Cornell is greater than the sum of its parts. We are focusing this planned effort on the greater sum.”

Fuchs pointed out that one of the focal points of improving the University’s standing in rankings will be a standout response to the high rate of faculty turnover excepted to occur in the next 10 years. Fuchs noted that currently, 30 percent of faculty over the age of 60 years old. Recruitment of top professors will be key, as Fuchs pointed out.

Original Author: Brendan Doyle