University-wide Strategic Planning Process
Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) policy states that the president of each institution in the System “. . . shall exercise such supervision and direction as will promote the efficient operation of the institution."  Ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that incorporate review of programs and services that (a) results in continuing improvement and (b) demonstrates that the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission are essential to meeting that responsibility. Additionally, TBR currently requires that each institution under its authority submit a five-year plan that supports the system mission, vision, goals and priorities. Accordingly, the University of Memphis has developed and followed two five-year strategic plans during the past nine years. TBR is mid-way through the process to develop the system-wide 2005-2010 strategic plan, with Board approval scheduled for December 2004.  The UofM 2005-2010 strategic plan will be submitted to TBR in March 2005.
1995-2000 Plan. In 1994, Dr. V. Lane Rawlins, then president of the university, appointed a committee representative of the campus to guide preparation of a 1995-2000 strategic plan.  Steps in the process involved reviewing the University’s mission, developing a statement of values, and designating eleven areas of strategic emphasis. Consistent with those emphases, the plan set out eleven goals with strategies to achieve and measures to assess progress. The goals included: 1) promoting educational excellence for all students; 2) achieving excellence in selected areas and graduate programs; 3) enhancing diversity at the University of Memphis; 4) internationalizing the university; 5) encouraging interdisciplinary cooperation among departments; 6) taking the lead in using computing and telecommunications in higher education and the community; 7) improving university processes, appearance, and performance; 8) promoting the intellectual, cultural, and community development of the region; 9) supporting K-12 education; 10) working with the community to resolve health care issues; and 11) contributing to the economic well-being of the community, region and the state. 
As the university’s fundamental planning document, the 1995-2000 plan  guided program planning, faculty planning, instructional facilities planning, information technology planning, campus master planning, and budgetary and financial planning through that period. Examples of actions that were guided by the plan included the establishment of academic centers and administrative offices in support of the areas of emphasis and goals. To illustrate:
- The Center for Urban Research and Extension was created in 1996 in support of the urban environment, encouraging interdisciplinary cooperation among departments, and contributing to economic well-being.
- In 1995, the Division of Information Systems (currently, Information Technology) was formed and the first chief information officer hired. The new division was charged with developing an institution-wide IT strategic planning and shared governance process. The university’s first IT Strategic Plan was written and implemented in 1996.
- The Office of Diversity was created in 1996 in support of diversity emphases and goals.
2000-2005 Plan. Ongoing assessments through 1995-2000 suggested the need for further focus to advance the university’s instructional, research, and outreach missions. Chaired by then Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Donna Randall, and then Director of the International Studies Program, Dr. Blaine Brownell, a broad-based committee of nineteen UofM students, faculty members, staff, and administrators was charged by President Rawlins in 1999 to develop a 2000-2005 strategic plan for the university. Committee membership was diverse in terms of race, gender, position, and disciplinary interest. 
The Strategic Planning Committee met frequently throughout the 1999-2000 academic year to deliberate and consider feedback from the university community. Committee meetings were held at a variety of locations across campus, including a full day off-site retreat. Throughout its deliberations, the committee actively sought input from the university community through a variety of mechanisms:
- A university website containing the draft statement of goals and objectives  and a newsgroup to solicit feedback  was developed.
- Two university-wide public forums were held in a central University location to encourage feedback and interactive discussion. 
- The Faculty Senate and Staff Senate discussed the plan during regular meetings to provide input to the Committee. 
- Advertisements were placed in the student newspaper (The Daily Helmsman) over several weeks encouraging students to review the strategic plan posted on the website and to provide input. 
- The mission and strategic plan were regularly discussed at President's Council and Provost Council meetings and members were invited to comment on the plans.
Thus, the mission and strategic plan submitted to and approved by TBR  reflected the broad consensus of the university community. The final 2000-2005 plan retained the 1995-2000 mission statement and the same relative emphases, although the number of goals was reduced from eleven to eight.
Following the adoption of these goals, significant leadership changes at the university, beginning with the appointment of a new president and provost in 2001, resulted in a refinement of the institution’s goals. The eight goals were restated as follows:
1) enroll and retain highly regarded and motivated students and recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff who will educate, develop, and support these students in their preparation for successful careers and meaningful participation in a diverse society;
2) expand research and interdisciplinary programs in areas of existing strengths and seize new opportunities for effectively contributing to the intellectual, economic, cultural, and social well being of the community, region, state, and nation;
3) ensure a diverse faculty, staff, and student body and create a safe, physically pleasing, and culturally rich learning environment that infuses a global dimension throughout university instructional, research, and service/outreach programs;
4) maximize the use of information technology through leadership, innovation, and increased fluency among students, faculty, and staff; and
5) increase community and alumni involvement in the life of the University of Memphis through an outstanding intercollegiate athletics program and new opportunities for participation and service.
Objectives with strategies and measurable outcomes were established. The university’s annual progress report is presented to TBR each October and reviewed by the Board at its December meeting.  A selection of actions taken to implement the UofM goals is available. 
Most planning and evaluation processes operate on a yearly schedule and are tied to the fiscal and academic year calendars and to the university’s budgeting process. Some, such as campus master planning and capital improvement planning, have longer time horizons. Increasingly, these processes involve constituencies from each of the divisions. The university’s crisis management team, for example, involves campus-wide representation that is focused on mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery in the event of an emergency.  Similarly, cross-functional teams are involved in planning and monitoring core university processes. This includes, for example, a number of standing committees with responsibilities relevant to the entire campus community. 
Resource Request and Allocation Processes
The university’s budgeting processes are informed by planning processes. The university receives the coming fiscal year’s budget directions from TBR in January. Working with staff in the Division of Business and Finance, the President’s Council develops budget assumptions to guide unit planning; these guidelines are distributed to the divisions and their units by the end of that month.  Subsequently, budget requests are formulated and completed by the provost and each vice president.
During late winter each year, budget hearings provide campus units an opportunity to present their budget requests and plans in an open forum.  At the hearings, deans, faculty senate representatives, student government representatives, staff senate representatives, and other constituencies interact with the President’s Council and other senior officials to discuss how unit budget requests will further university strategic priorities. Following the hearings, budget requests are reviewed and prioritized by the President’s Council in terms of their alignment and advancement of the university’s strategic plan before final consideration and decision by the president. A consolidated operating budget  is compiled by the Division of Business and Finance in March. Following review and final action by the President’s Council, the proposed institutional budget is submitted to TBR for approval as one part of the system's budget. 
The Campus Master Plan,  the associated Master Plan for Utilities, and a comparison study for campus drainage provide direction for future capital planning and maintenance of university facilities. In line with TBR policy,  the master plan and related plans and studies are revised periodically  to ensure that they conform to the university’s current mission and strategic plan.
The UofM Physical Plant and Campus Planning and Design departments are responsible for coordinating budget proposals for renovations, new construction, and major maintenance projects with TBR. These budget proposals are an annual collaborative effort by faculty, staff, administrators, and other interested parties based on the Campus Master Plan Update, December 1998, and are prioritized to support the university’s mission and strategic goals.  The list of priority projects is reviewed regularly by university officials, and submitted to TBR as part of the capital budget process.  Requests from all TBR institutions are compiled and forwarded to the governor and the legislature; only a portion are funded each year. 
When the State Building Commission approves capital improvements, an independent design firm works with university personnel to assist in the design process. The needs of the campus users are foremost in design considerations.
The annual UofM budget process provides a framework for completion of locally-funded preventive maintenance activities and serves as the basis for budgeting financial resources for specific maintenance activities.
Academic and Student Affairs Planning Processes
The university’s core responsibilities are administered in two divisions: Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. The institution’s strategic planning process is thus built around the activities within these divisions. In Academic Affairs, the planning process takes the following course:
- Beginning in July and continuing through the beginning of the fall semester, the Office of Institutional Research (OIR) evaluates enrollment, retention, and graduation rates and faculty instructional load and productivity for each degree program. Data analyses include longitudinal, peer institution, and national comparisons. 
- The deans meet in August to discuss improvements to the strategic plan, to the planning process, and to focus area designations.  The deans are charged with responsibility for informing the chairs of meeting outcomes.
- The provost presents strategic initiatives and areas of focus to the faculty at the beginning of the fall term. 
- In the fall, the Vice Provosts Council assists in the design of the instrument to be used in the annual review of programs. 
- Throughout the fall semester, the provost meets with the deans and chairs to clarify issues surrounding strategic planning.
- Throughout the academic year, the Office of Academic Programs and Assessment oversees professional accreditation reviews and external peer reviews for programs without accrediting bodies. 
- In October, academic units, with faculty, student, and advisory group participation, prepare their coming academic year program plans. Each unit fine-tunes its “areas of focus” document and responds to a set of questions prepared by the Vice Provosts Council.  This document focuses on the departments’ goals, objectives, student learning outcomes, and faculty productivity expectations for the coming academic year. 
- Institutional program reviews are conducted in November with the specific purpose of addressing departmental foci and instruction, research, and service/outreach issues. Professional accreditation reviews and external peer reviews are considered in the context of these sessions, as well as the data collected by OIR.  The reviews include the department chairs and deans and participants from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Business and Finance, Information Technology, and Advancement. Prior to academic year 2004-2005, the support divisions met individually with academic units during the fall semester. To improve communication, enhance collaboration, and encourage efficiencies, beginning fall semester 2004, representatives of each of the divisions will participate in the academic unit program reviews.
- Follow-ups to the program reviews include individual meetings with each of the deans and written analyses of programmatic strengths, concerns, and suggestions for improvement.  Follow-ups also include integration of information technology plans, capital budget, and operating budget information to the extent possible.
- By the end of February, the Office of the Provost and Provost’s Council complete the following academic year’s academic program plans, including assessment of the plans toward advancing the university’s strategic plan.
- The institution's Academic Plan is revised throughout this process. 
Within the framework of strategic goal setting, the university has established a set of programmatic or “focus” areas that support the university’s urban research mission in solving contemporary problems. In an ongoing, collaborative process,  the university has identified these focus areas as: Healthcare, Biotechnologies, Teacher Education and Development, Music and Stage Performance, Community Initiatives and Hazard Mitigation, and Learning Technologies. Each is a cross-disciplinary area of research strength at the university or, alternatively, an area of unusual opportunity for the university and the region. More detailed explanation of each focus area is available. 
Strategies for achievement and development of these institution-wide areas of focus include:
- Collaborative, ongoing identification and refinement of the focus areas;
- Departmental alignment with the focus areas, as appropriate;
- Development of focus area teams; 
- Strategic faculty recruitment in the areas of focus;
- Allocation of special funds to support the areas of focus;
- Development of periodic faculty colloquia to provide broad exposure to the projects underway;  and
- Commitment of technology services and support.
Student Affairs follows a similar calendar; the summer months are spent reviewing prior year data and conducting division strategic planning exercises and retreats. The planning process takes the following course:
- Based on student activity evaluations, the Student Affairs vice president and assistant vice presidents conduct an assessment of the past year’s activities after the end of the spring semester as a Division Annual Report is prepared.
- Plans for coming year activities are completed in meetings between the Student Affairs vice president and assistant vice presidents in August.
- Divisional kick-off meetings for all staff emphasizing initiative planning and implementation are held in September. 
- Standing committee appointments, especially those involving students, are completed in September.
- An annual strategic planning / implementation / professional development retreat for the leadership of Student Affairs is held mid-fall.
- Outcomes assessment for each department in the division is conducted via a monthly presentation and feedback session with the deans and directors group.
- Coming year departmental planning meetings with the president occur in November.
- Coming year division plans are completed in December and January.
- Planning for the coming year’s division and Residence Life budgets are initiated in January.
- Division budget plans are reviewed in relation to overall goals and finalized by the first of February.
- Student activity evaluations are completed from March through May.
As with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs completes the coming year’s academic program plans, including assessment of the plan’s contributions to advancing the university’s strategic plan, by the end of January.
Integration of planning, evaluation, and support by the other divisions of the university with Academic Affairs and Student Affairs takes place in several settings. Some ongoing integration and coordination is accomplished by committee, such as the Policy Review Board, Information Technology Policy and Planning Council, and the Space Council. 
In other cases, committees across divisions are created for special events or activities. An example is the New Student Orientation Committee. Other processes are monitored and coordinated in weekly meetings of the President’s Council. Integration also takes place as a part of budget and finance planning and evaluation processes.
Service Quality Enhancement
Each of the divisions supporting Academic Affairs and Student Affairs engages in ongoing reviews and planning for improvement and support of the Strategic Plan. As examples, the Division of Business and Finance (B&F) has adopted a self-assessment-feedback model based on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.  The model involves four phases, self assessment, external evaluation, feedback, and action, and all departments within the division participate.  Self-assessment includes B&F employee  and customer surveys.  External evaluation is conducted through a review by the Greater Memphis Association for Quality.  The overall process is guided by the division’s mission  in support of the university’s strategic plan.
In another example, the Information Technology Division’s (ITD) mission  and service enhancement processes are designed to complement the UofM mission and strategic direction. The ITD planning process  is guided by the IT Policy and Planning Council and the Academic, the Administrative, and the Student ITD Advisory Committees.  Additionally, each dean defines a process within each college to discuss IT-related issues and to designate a contact point for the chief information officer (CIO) to ensure that the campus-wide IT plan reflects college ITD priorities. Each year’s plan begins on July 1. Initiatives are developed and refined throughout the year and culminate in a budget presentation in the spring of each year. All developed goals and objectives are incorporated into the ITD Strategic Plan, which is submitted in final draft form to the ITD Policy and Planning Council that provides formal university-wide approval of the plan.  Evaluations are conducted throughout the year in order to assess the progress of plan objectives, and to assure that projects are on schedule, delivery of service is timely, human and physical resources are being used to the highest degree, and evaluative tools are used to assure quality standards are being met. In addition, the CIO works closely with the Provost’s Office to ensure ITD support is available for focus areas and other activities of special interest in teaching, learning, and research.
The University of Memphis Strategic Plan for 2000-2005 was developed with substantial engagement by the campus community. It provides the general framework for core academic processes and support functions to help to accomplish the university’s mission. Each division of the university uses the strategic plan and its own initiatives to improve programs and services. The planning process itself remains dynamic.
The plan and its ongoing assessment, analysis, and feedback enabled an entirely new senior management team to become effectively integrated into the operations of the University while establishing a framework in which continuing adjustment and improvement might take place.