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Mapping the Way

After hammering out a vision of what IUP should be to its constituents in the next decade, the university community now has a strategic plan to serve as a guide.

  • Provide innovative academic programs of high quality and value
  • Prepare all of IUP’s students for success in work and life, in addition to academic success
  • Secure IUP’s financial future
  • Strengthen IUP’s value to our local, state, and global partners
Provost Timothy Moerland at the 2013 Strategic Visioning Summit

Provost Timothy Moerland spoke during the Strategic Visioning Summit in 2013. Photo: Keith Boyer

Those four goals, which compose IUP’s new strategic plan, might appear to be simple in concept, but they affect thousands of students and faculty and staff members and, ultimately, the academic reputation of IUP’s more than 120,000 living alumni. What’s more, with goals accomplished by 2020 and, at that point, a vibrant IUP operating at über-efficiency, the surrounding region stands to benefit in numerous ways.

While the plan entails making modest internal structural changes, Provost Timothy Moerland, who spearheaded the planning process, said other changes are aspirational, and all work toward achieving IUP’s shared vision. That vision, detailed in a previous edition of IUP Magazine,was solidified after extensive information gathering and a culminating, daylong summit attended by faculty and staff members, students, alumni, members of various boards, and area leaders.

To create the plan that will lead to realizing that vision, Moerland and colleagues met with a long list of campus groups, solicited feedback electronically, and held numerous open forums for the university community to provide input and help shape the final document. The plan earned endorsement by the University Senate and Council of Trustees in May.

“One of the things about strategic planning in academia is that the course of action has to make sense to people, and it has to support shared values,” Moerland said. “The input we received was crucial in making the plan something we want and can achieve.”

For example, advancing IUP’s status as a doctoral/research university is among the initiatives associated with providing innovative academic programs. That will involve identifying and solving common roadblocks to success in research, scholarship, and creative activity. The university also will develop graduate and undergraduate programs in environmental engineering, public health, and digital science and security.

Preparing students for success in work and life means committing to programming that increases undergraduate retention. It also means increasing participation in cultural programming, internships, research, international education, and well-chosen volunteer opportunities.

To secure IUP’s financial future, the IUP community has committed to exploring alternative tuition models. Other strategies include improving business efficiencies and increasing philanthropic support.

The intent of the final goal—strengthening value to local, state, and global partners—is to ensure the university forges the best relationships with those most affected by the university’s progress (alumni and the extended community), so that they and IUP mutually benefit.

“One of the things a strategic plan does is help us coordinate the terrific efforts we’ve seen accomplished individually by departments,” Moerland said. “It will give those efforts a multiplier effect, so we can get more done for our students, amplify the reputation of the university, and be a real benefit to the surrounding region we serve. We need to be careful, deliberate, and mindful of what we do, and that’s what the strategic plan provides. It’s a tool to make us methodical.”