Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Council of Trustees endorsed the university's 2020–25 Strategic Plan at its December 10 meeting.

The IUP University Planning Council, which includes faculty, staff, and students from throughout the university, was charged by President Driscoll in fall 2019 to develop priorities to guide the design of the 2020–25 Strategic Plan.

In delivering his charge, President Driscoll instructed the UPC to keep student success as a focus: “ordering all of our resources and all of our work to ensure that each student is successful—both here and after graduation.”

To begin the process, University Planning Council co-chairs Distinguished University Professor Scott Moore and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Paula Stossel led the UPC membership in a number of brainstorming sessions, which surfaced a number of common themes that became “Core Principles” and “Impact Areas.”

In January 2020, UPC members began meeting with divisions, departments, and organizations to discuss and receive feedback about the Core Principles, Impact Areas, and barriers to IUP student success. More than 600 faculty, staff, and students participated in meetings with UPC representatives through June 2020 (held virtually after March due to the pandemic).

“This has been an incredibly inclusive process, and I appreciate and value the outstanding work of the UPC, and the input that everyone has shared,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “The individual and collective support and wisdom of the Council of Trustees during the many months of this process also has been critical to the successful development of this plan.

“As a result of the UPC's true commitment to collaboration—even through a pandemic—we have a Strategic Plan that reflects the best thinking of our university community, with key themes we will use to guide IUP's future,” he said.

These key themes include:

  • An “absolute recognition,” according to Driscoll, that being student centered is everyone's job and responsibility, at the core of everything that defines IUP; IUP will move even more forcefully into the future as a fully student-centered university, to ensure that students will be successful when they leave IUP;

  • A need to embrace our doctoral research mission as a both a distinguishing characteristic of the university and a call to action, that all of our students and faculty are engaged in research that will enhance their understanding of the world, and others' understanding of the world;

  • A commitment to creating a community that embraces and values diversity and inclusion for its own sake, as well as central to student success.

“We are coming to the end of a really strong strategic plan that delivered great results,” he said. “We have learned a great deal from both the work of developing the 2015–20 Strategic Plan as well as putting it into practice,” he said.

Driscoll pointed out that while the 2020–25 Strategic Plan continues much of the work outlined in the 2015–20 plan, this new plan reflects the need to respond to new challenges and opportunities.

IUP's 2015–20 Strategic Plan, approved by Trustees in May 2015, was developed through a collaborative process led by IUP Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Timothy Moerland and the University Planning Council.

“The issues and strengths of IUP remain in this new Strategic Plan,” he said. “We respect our history and our traditions, especially as we look forward to our 150th anniversary, but we must be willing to adapt in order to ensure that our students are successful here, and in their futures,” he said. “That is our overarching goal: student success.”

The 2020–25 Strategic Plan has been an essential part of creating the IUP of the future, the IUP NextGen plan, announced in October, Driscoll said.

“The core principles that we heard from the university community that shaped the new Strategic Plan are at the center of IUP NextGen planning,” Driscoll said.

These overlapping points include: providing academic quality at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; making every student a priority; exposing students to new ideas and challenges, including enhancing opportunities for student research, scholarship, and creative activity in all disciplines and all levels; and providing students with the tools and experiences they need to be champions for inclusion, diversity and equity.

The 2020–25 Strategic Plan's Core Principles and Impact Areas are posted on the IUP website and will continue to be shared and discussed by the IUP community. These discussions will be led by the UPC.

Initial UPC rollout plans for the spring 2021 semester include advancing recommendations and action plans to address specific topics identified as barriers to student success during the initial planning process. Next steps will also include working with divisions and departments to help create actionable, measurable, short- and long-term goals and implementation timelines.

“This is not a ‘sit on the shelf' document,” Driscoll said. “We will put these Core Principles into action as we move forward as a truly student-centered university.”