The Office of Portland State President Wim Wiewel released a draft on Oct. 20 of the university’s Strategic Plan. The draft, “Let Knowledge Serve the City: The Strategic Goals of Portland State University,” outlines proposals to improve the university through 2020.
The plan specifies five strategic goals: elevate student success, advance excellence in teaching and research, strengthen leadership in engagement, commit to equity and innovate for long-term sustainability.
“[T]his has just been an amazing, broadly participatory process,” Wiewel said at an Oct. 9 student media press conference.
He said the Strategic Plan reaffirms many of the initiatives the university has already prioritized and highlights areas that require more attention going forward.
“It represents the viewpoints of literally thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the PSU community,” Wiewel said.
“[I]t’s not any kind of a radical redirection of who we are and where we’re going,” he continued. “And indeed, we’re calling it—very originally—‘Let Knowledge Serve the City’ as a real clear affirmation of the fact that that [motto] continues to be what we’re about.”
Strategic Plan Development Team
According to an emailed statement from Wiewel on Oct. 20, the draft “is the culmination of months of work by the Strategic Plan Development Team.”
PSU’s Strategic Planning website explains that SPDT “members were nominated by several campus groups, including the Faculty Senate, deans and other members of [student government and faculty unions], the President’s Executive Committee and the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion.”
“[W]e sought to identify individuals who would be able to represent several points of view,” the website continues. “More than 100 were nominated, from which about 30 were selected.”
The SPDT is divided into several topic teams that address specific goals and strategies to improve various aspects of the university.
Topic teams focus on issues including Community Partnerships, Engagement and Civic Leadership; Student Learning and Academic Success; Campus Climate; Global Excellence and more.
Student and faculty members of the SPDT presented the plan at an Oct. 26 Associated Students of PSU Senate meeting, followed by a Q-and-A session and discussion among ASPSU members. Wiewel was also present to respond to questions and comments.
Stephen Percy, dean of the college of urban public affairs and chair of the SPDT, commented on the importance of this plan and the level of collaboration the team has sought throughout the process.
“It’s a very important plan for the future of our campus,” Percy said. “Lots of people spent a lot of time on it. Over three thousand people have commented at different times.”
The Strategic Plan’s website listed 3,802 engagements with the plan as of Nov. 2.
“We’ve had more outreach in this campus than we’ve ever gotten before in any strategic plan that I’m aware of, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect yet,” he continued.
Percy emphasized the draft status of the plan and encouraged further engagement with the PSU community.
“What you see is the outline of the draft,” he said. “It’s not complete yet. We’re still asking for your input.”
Opportunities for engagement
With the recent release of the draft, Wiewel encouraged students to review the draft, offer feedback and public comment and respond to a survey associated with the draft.
The university has employed several avenues through which the PSU community can engage with the drafted plan.
The university hosted an ice cream social and “PSU TweetUp” in the Urban Plaza on Oct. 22, in hopes of engaging students with the drafted plan during the university’s Portland State of Mind celebration.
The ice cream social event was the second installment during PSOM celebrations focused on engaging students with the planning process.
“We heard more voices at [the spring] event from students who aren’t otherwise connected,” Percy said. “So we liked that opportunity and this is really a neat event.”
University faculty and staff can learn about and comment on the current plan on Nov. 5 at Strategic Sliders and Suds—an event with free burgers and beer.
The website also mentions future plans for town hall meetings.
“We want to talk,” Percy said. “We want to hear from you, we want to listen to you. We want to make sure this plan is the best it can be.”
The Next SPDT meeting will be held at 11 a.m. on Nov. 9.