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29 January 2007
Trustees Approve University’s New Strategic Plan

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”--Peter F. Drucker, Educator


According to a survey by Cohen and March, many universities fall into a planning trap. While they may have a strategic plan, they let it go stale and outdated, or never really commit to it in the first place.

Jacksonville State University is determined to never fall into any of those categories.

For more than a year, the University’s Strategic Planning Committee, appointed by President Dr. Bill Meehan, has worked very hard to formulate a dynamic Strategic Plan that supports JSU’s vision and mission statements and seven institutional goals. The Plan was approved by the JSU Board of Trustees on January 22, 2007.

Although a nod from the Trustees might suggest to some mission accomplished, the approval of the plan actually indicates that work is just beginning.

Jacksonville State University operates in a rapidly changing environment that mandates a proactive approach to creating a desired future. This approach requires continuous thoughtful review of past challenges and successes, evidence-based decision-making, prioritization of resource allocations, and broad-based participation by students, administration, faculty and staff. The implementation of the new Strategic Plan is a renewal of the University’s commitment to these values.

The Plan incorporates:

  • ongoing attention to how JSU teaches citizenship and leadership to students;
  • guaranteeing the highest quality educational programs;
  • promotion of the University’s role in research and service;
  • development and maintenance of a robust learning community;
  • maintenance of cutting-edge technology that will meet the demands of an ever-changing learning environment, and which will prepare our students for future success;
  • increased efficiency and effectiveness of the University’s administrative processes and services; and
  • sound financial planning that assures adequate fiscal resources for the University.

Surveys sent to the University community made up of faculty, staff, administrators, and students have played an active role in the formation of the Plan. Early in the process, more than 2,100 members of the JSU community responded to a survey that helped identify the University’s core values. The JSU community also responded to a survey about the new University vision statement. Then again, before JSU’s Strategic Plan was approved by the Trustees, the University surveyed faculty, staff, administrators, and students. Of the 17 items included, at least 80 percent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with every item except for “the strategic plan is attainable within the next five years,” for which 76.6 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed. More than 90 percent of those surveyed agreed that “the strategic plan is relevant to the University’s mission.”

From the beginning, Jacksonville State University President Dr. Bill Meehan sought broad-based participation in the development of the Strategic Plan. Increased participation from students, faculty and administration will continue to be a cornerstone of the strategic plan’s implementation.

The Strategic Plan committee met promptly after the Plan’s approval to prioritize strategies, and plan a kick-off meeting that will take place in February. Quarterly committee update meetings, the presentation of reports to the community and Trustees, and regular updates to the Strategic Planning website will ensure smooth sailing as the Plan continues to help the University chart its future course.

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