Strategic plan must endure

Administrators at large, public institutions such as the University of Minnesota have the task of creating new initiatives, programs, priorities and plans to improve the institution. The strategic plan University leaders are currently working on will likely leverage all of these tools in order to maintain and improve the school’s reputation as a world-class higher learning and research institution.

In addition to making sure that the school is moving forward, the administration will release a strategic plan this fall to re-establish goals to hold the administration accountable, the Minnesota Daily reported. The plan also ensures that everyone at the University is working toward similar goals.

Other schools in Minnesota’s five-campus system create similar strategic plans. While drafting their own plan, officials at the Twin Cities campus should look to the Morris campus as a model for longevity, which has the oldest active plan.

As the Daily reported, most strategic plans at the University come and go with the administrations that created them. Current and future administrations must work to end this practice. Long-term plans are useless if they last only a few years. University administrations have routinely unheeded this fact in the past.

Officials can also render these plans toothless if they are overly vague or redundant. The strategic plan can be a useful reminder of the University’s priorities and mission, which it can lose sight of among athletics and research contracts, but without specific and substantial goals, it will be hard to keep the administration accountable.

Kaler and his administration are clearly aware of the shortfalls of previous plans and appear to be making a sincere effort to make this year’s plan last. To do this, they should fill their plan with far more than platitudes and abstract goals.