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Dear Colleagues:

The Strategic Planning Committee has had a very busy Spring and Summer, and we are thankful for the significant participation of so many members of the university community. 

Through an extensive planning process, the committee has heard and assimilated ideas from people across the campus and the community to develop a strategic plan for our next five years:

  • Seven working groups involving more than 100 faculty, staff, and students analyzed specific issues and prepared reports for use in the planning process. 
  • Ten open forums to engage in conversations around topics that are vital to our plan were well attended by faculty, staff, and students.
  • A lengthy, online survey sought input on what is and should be important to the university and resulted in impressive faculty, staff, and student response rates.
  • The broader community was engaged in discussions and forums to ensure that our plan reflects the needs and aspirations of the community we serve.

Synthesizing the broad-based input, the Strategic Planning Committee has prepared a draft of the 2013-18 Strategic Plan, and we invite you to review the draft and provide comments to us.  We welcome your continued feedback. 

Part of the work of the committee has included a proposed rewriting of the mission, vision, and core values.  We heard clearly that a succinct, focused statement is desired.   We offer a proposed mission statement that will identify NKU and describe, in concise language, what we do.  Similarly, we worked on a vision statement to clearly describe what we intend to achieve by 2018.  Some of the early feedback we received on the vision statement showed a preference for a bulleted list, while others preferred a shorter statement, so we have presented both versions for your consideration.  We also readily agreed upon five core values that describe the characteristics we believe are important in how we do our work.  Please review these statements and provide us with comments.

The draft strategic plan consists of five major goals with three to seven objectives that are described in more detail through strategic directions.  The first goal, Student Success, is our paramount focus.  All other goals, objectives, and directions outlined in this document are designed to support student success.  We must consistently align our work and the implementation of our plans to promote student success.  We also plan to evaluate our progress with metrics that focus on student success.

We have organized several approaches to solicit your feedback on the draft.  First, we have scheduled five open forums during September, and the committee will be present to hear your comments and suggestions during these forums.  Second, the committee will meet with Faculty Senate, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Council of Chairs, Deans Council, Staff Congress, and SGA, so you can forward your remarks to your representatives.  Third, we have provided an electronic form on the strategic planning website where you can provide your written comments and suggestions.  Through the collective insights of our campus community, we will craft a stronger plan, so let us hear from you. 

During October, after analyzing the feedback from the campus community, the Strategic Planning Committee will finalize the plan.  The final document will include additional narrative about NKU’s past, present, and future, as well as graphics and descriptions about the content, the process, and the people who have made contributions.  We will present the proposed plan to the Board of Regents for its consideration and approval at the November 13 meeting. 

This process has been rewarding and inspiring, and the Strategic Planning Committee needs your continued participation.  As you know, the writing of a strategic plan is only the beginning.  To be successful, we must diligently execute the plan.  Teams will be brought together this year to develop cross-divisional implementation plans that will guide the work of our colleges, departments, and offices.  In addition, performance metrics and targets will be identified to assess our progress and identify areas where we will need to make improvements.  Implementation of the strategic directions will require changes in our normal operations at the organizational level and the unit level.  I know that the NKU faculty and staff are creative and innovative, and we will make a significant impact on our students and our community through the execution of the plan. 

I wish to extend heartfelt appreciation to the members of the Strategic Planning Committee.  They have invested considerable time and energy into this project, and they have grown into a cohesive, collaborative group of colleagues with whom I am proud to serve.

The new strategic plan will guide us toward our 50th anniversary and lay the foundation for the next 50 years for the university.  As we envision and pursue a future that focuses on the success of our students, we will make a significant impact on our community and the commonwealth.

See you in September at the open forums.


Geoffrey S. Mearns
Northern Kentucky University
Nunn Drive
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Phone: 859-572-5123
Fax: 859-572-6696