Looking Beyond 2010

December 17, 2010

From the time he was introduced as Baylor's 14th president, Ken Starr has emphasized that before the university's next steps are plotted, it is important that he hears from the entire Baylor family.

Now is that time. Over the next four months, members of the Baylor family are being invited to share their thoughts about the future priorities of the university. Then through the next year, university leaders, guided by Provost Elizabeth Davis, BBS '84, will be analyzing input and developing the plan that will direct and inspire Baylor's progress during the coming decade. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of Baylor are invited to provide input and inform the direction of the university's next 10-year strategic plan. The community input portion of the strategic planning exercise will run from December 2010 through April 2011.

"Baylor is on a powerful upward trajectory, and ahead of us are many wonderful opportunities," said Davis. "But we need to be disciplined and intentional in our efforts to determine the very best path for Baylor to take as it contemplates its future as a national research university that resolutely embraces its Christian identity. Baylor represents a unique offering in American higher education; all of us need to participate in determining how we can best act in this privileged position over the next decade."

To help guide the process, the university has launched the Strategic Planning website at www.baylor.edu/strategicplan. The website includes a timeline of the planning process; links to helpful resources such as the university's mission statement, foundational assumptions, core convictions and unifying academic themes; and forms to help groups and individuals organize the input they provide as the process moves forward.

"In designing our strategic planning process, every effort has been made to ensure that all voices can be heard," Davis said. "We are asking that faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends take considerable time to reflect on Baylor's character and purpose, on the progress that we have made in our storied 165-year history, and then to be creative in charting the many ways Baylor University can, and should, in the future, serve 'Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana,' the church and the world."

Alumni and friends will have the opportunity to share insights and ideas during meetings in select cities (see list at right), while on-campus discussion will take place within departments, schools, administrative units and student organizations, as well as in multi-disciplinary groups. All constituents are invited to upload individual input through the Strategic Planning website.

This collective feedback will play a critical role in informing the development of the university's future strategic priorities, Davis said. After the input phase is completed in April, a committee made up of a cross-section of the Baylor community will synthesize and analyze what has been heard and prepare a report that identifies recurring themes and priorities. The report will be delivered to Starr, Davis and the rest of the members of the Executive Council. That group will then prepare a draft plan to be submitted for consideration by Baylor's Board of Regents at the Homecoming meeting in 2011.

After the draft plan is reviewed and considered by the Board, it will be distributed to the Baylor community for additional feedback (likely from winter 2011 through spring 2012); a final plan would then be created and presented to the Board in May 2012 with implementation beginning that summer.