U2000 report targets unfinished business

Jim Martyka

Ever since University President Nils Hasselmo unveiled his University 2000 agenda, he has faced constant pressure from the University community to live up to the plan’s promise.
But perhaps nobody has watched over the progress of U2000, both the good and the bad, more closely than Hasselmo himself.
His administration has tracked the progress of U2000, Hasselmo’s comprehensive plan for restructuring the University, since its implementation in 1994. Progress has been tracked against strategic goals set out in the plan itself. Hasselmo publishes the progress in an annual report called the University Plan.
“It’s a way for us to look at what we have done and what we have to do at the University,” said Hasselmo. “It is a status and progress report of U2000.”
The report, which is reviewed and approved each year by the University’s Board of Regents, serves two purposes.
First, it is meant to update administrators on accomplishments the University has made in specific areas.
For example, this year’s plan reports an increase in the number of incoming freshman applications as well as an overall improvement in the academic quality of freshman.
The second purpose of the plan is to guide the individual campuses and colleges as well as administration in general in budget planning and setting goals for the upcoming year.
“The point is to keep updating,” said Marvin Marshak, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “We look at what we need to do and figure out how to go about doing it.”
According to administrators, even though this year’s report, reviewed by the regents earlier this month, shows significant progress in certain areas, it also outlines several others in which the University needs improvement.
Hasselmo said one area in which he would like to see progress is diversity.
“We’ve only partly achieved our goals (in diversity),” he said. “We’ve done well in certain areas such as the recruitment of Asian-American students, but not in others like African-American (recruitment).”
For spring quarter 1997, the Office of the Registrar reported that about 6 percent of registered students were Asian-American, compared to only 2 « percent who were African-American.
Hasselmo and other administrators have said that the numbers for minority recruitment as well as graduation must increase.
Another area that needs improvement, according to the plan, is deferred renewal. The University currently has a repair backlog of more than $1 billion.
Faculty salaries are also targeted for improvement by the plan. Administrators have pushed for faculty raises this year and now say that state funds recently approved by the Legislature will allow movement on this front.
Besides taking an immediate look at University problems, the plan is also designed to help administrators plan for the future.
“It’s a rolling plan,” said Marshak. “The idea is also to take a look about five years into the future, consider the context in which the University operates and lay out a general program for the next five years for improving the University.”
Administrators said the plan is an effective approach to these long-term issues.
“I think it’s vital to have a plan that keeps us focused on our goals and provides benchmarks for how we’re doing on reaching these goals,” said W. Phillips Shively, provost for Arts, Sciences and Engineering.
Though the University Plan was set up by Hasselmo, it is based on several planning frameworks used by past presidents.
Hasselmo said he hopes that President-designate Mark Yudof, who will take office July 1, will continue with a similar plan.
As for this year’s plan, administrators said it showed that the University is progressing as well as prepared to tackle future problems.
“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made, but we still have a lot to do,” Hasselmo said. “This plan helps in laying the groundwork.”