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Planning at the Academic and Administrative Unit Level

The University Strategic Planning process is both top down and bottom up, and planning occurs across departments, academic colleges, and administrative units. Penn State has had a continuous institution-wide strategic planning process since 1983 in which all budget executives have submitted strategic plans to the Provost every three to five years. Although the length of the planning cycle has varied, what has remained constant is the University’s commitment to ongoing planning, improvement, and assessment. The current planning cycle began in June 2007 when Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson sent a memo to budget executives outlining strategic planning guidelines for the 2008–09 to 2012–13 strategic plans. Provost Erickson asked each budget executive to develop a five-year strategic plan that would include a vision of where the unit would be in the next five to ten years, a discussion of specific strategies for achieving the vision, strategic performance indicators appropriate to unit level goals, and an indication of how elements of the Framework to Foster Diversity would be incorporated into the strategic plan. For academic units, a discussion of progress and initiatives in learning outcomes assessment was to be included in the plan. The Provost’s guidelines are included as Appendix 1. Five-year plans from forty-six budget units were submitted July 1, 2008. Unit strategic plans are available online at

The University continues to rely upon an important parallel planning and improvement process through which Penn State defines and works toward its diversity goals. In brief, A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State, under the leadership of the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, encompasses a combination of unit-based and institution-wide initiatives. The objective is to advance educational equity within Penn State while reaching out to underrepresented/underserved communities and populations. Penn State has made considerable strides toward building a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution, and establishing effective diversity planning, implementation, and reporting processes to continue to drive progress. The close relationship between the two strategic planning processes has encouraged Penn State’s academic and administrative units to position their diversity goals within the context of their strategic planning goals for a more integrated overall approach. Fostering diversity must continue to be recognized as a value at the heart of the institution.