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Often, when a plan is written, it becomes a shelf document and not an agenda for leadership or a guide for decision making. To ensure that the goals of this plan are realized and the strategies and actions are implemented, it is necessary to have both a plan for implementation and a means to measure progress toward meeting our goals. The Strategy Implementation Matrix identifies the prospective leadership responsible for the actions to implement each strategy, a projected start date for the strategy, the fiscal impact, and selected measures of performance. Progress will be monitored and reported periodically to the Board of Trustees, President’s Council, the Academic Leadership Council, the Faculty Senate, and other constituencies.

Measuring progress toward our goals is not new. Since 1998, Penn State has tracked and published a set of strategic performance indicators in a companion document to each of the University-level strategic plans.

In addition, planning units (such as colleges and campuses) also have established and annually tracked their own indicators. Many of these are similar, some are unique, but all are tied to Penn State and unit goals, to high quality, and to efficiency in the use of resources. Penn State’s strategic performance indicators are updated annually. The most recent report may be viewed at http://www.psu.edu/president/pia/indicators/.

At the University level, indicators have been chosen with the following explicit criteria in mind:

  • 1. Does the measure reflect an important University-wide performance dimension?
  • 2. Are data on this measure likely to lead to improvement?
  • 3. Does the measure reflect Penn State’s stakeholder needs?
  • 4. Do key stakeholders view the measure as credible?
  • 5. Can the measure be communicated to and understood by a wide audience?
  • 6. Is the direction clear—that is, would an increase be desirable or undesirable?
  • 7. Is the cost/benefit relationship sensible in terms of data availability versus value?
  • 8. Can we identify units accountable for providing the data?
  • 9. Will the measure be sustainable over a period of years?

The Implementation Matrix, including an expanded set of performance indicators to be developed, will serve as a tool for organizational learning, communication, strategic change, and improvement, all in the context of existing management processes. Critical assessment of performance helps us to maximize the return to all who invest in Penn State, and to all whom Penn State serves.

When the goals of this plan have been achieved, Penn State will be closer to realizing the vision of being a global university, committed to excellence, with a passion for creating knowledge and educating leaders for a better tomorrow. We will have thought boldly and set priorities for excellence; we will have become a more student-centered University, we will have invested and built upon our areas of strength in fields of societal importance. We will have expanded access to knowledge and education to the citizens of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world. We will have streamlined processes, increased productivity, and become even more efficient and better stewards of our fiscal and physical resources. We will have met the challenges and emerged a stronger university.