Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2010 Strategic Plan Revision

Every 2-3 years the university strategic plan undergoes a thorough review. The Strategic Planning and Budget Council has already reviewed and revised the most recent, published strategic plan from 2007. The many standing committees, taskforces, and other established groups at NAU have also had an opportunity to weigh in on the 2010 draft put together by the SPBC. To complete the revision process and craft a well-rounded plan, it is important that individual faculty and staff members as well as students voice their opinions and provide directions.

The university-level strategic plan provides a map for divisional planning. Some of the statements may seem vague but the plan is intended to be more directional than prescriptive. This allows the divisions and the units within the divisions to identify the most appropriate strategies that contribute to the university goals.

Please comment on individual goals either on this blog or use this survey-like online form. More information about the strategic planning efforts, including strategic plan performance measures are available on the university strategic planning pages.


Jean-Guillaume Lonjaret said...

Because of the necessity to serve to the population of northern Arizona, generally under-educated, we do not raise our standards of admission or academic success. It seems a natural consequence that we feel the competition from community colleges and institutions such as the university of Phoenix. I believe that excellence should be our goal. We do not need more expensive faculty, but we need to ask them to expect more from their students.

Jean-Guillaume Lonjaret
N.A.U. student

Anonymous said...

Regarding strategic goal 3. Commitment to a vibrant sustainable community

I am commenting on behalf of the Sustainable Environmental Practices action team of the Environmental Caucus. We would like to see “grounds maintenance” included in section c. of goal 3. Specifically, in the second bulleted item of section 3c, we would like the phrase “…landscaping, and transportation” changed to “…landscaping, grounds maintenance, and transportation” so that the importance of our grounds maintenance practices relative to human health and the environment is recognized.

To date, the importance of grounds maintenance practices to sustainability has not received adequate recognition on campus. The Grounds departments of Capital Assets and Services as well as Residence Life rely heavily on the use of synthetic herbicides to control weeds. Not only is this relevant to NAU’s carbon footprint, but there is substantial and increasing evidence of the toxicity of herbicides and other pesticides to humans, the ecosystem and the environment. Several recent studies have shown that even when pesticides are applied at EPA-designated “safe” levels, they can inflict serious harm on the ecosystem when they combine with other pesticides in runoff water. The multiple herbicides that NAU uses in its grounds maintenance combine with pesticides from the surrounding community when they run off and accumulate in streams, rivers and ponds. The resulting chemical soup endangers aquatic life as well as the animals and humans that eventually drink the water.

Perhaps of greater concern is the effect of herbicides on our immediate campus environment. Herbicide residues, especially those used on lawns and landscaped areas where students, faculty and staff often sit or play recreational games, have the potential to adversely affect our health. The Ontario [Canada] College of Family Physicians conducted a comprehensive review of relevant research and concluded that exposure to the commonly used herbicides and pesticides is linked to cancerous tumors, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and genetic damage.

Far from providing leadership in this area, NAU is lagging behind. Seattle University, Tufts University, Harvard Divinity School, Evergreen State College, the cities of Santa Fe, New Mexico and Arcata, California, to name a few, have eliminated toxic herbicides from their grounds maintenance programs. The entire Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec with a combined population of 21 million have banned the use of herbicides for cosmetic purposes.

By specifically listing grounds maintenance as an area of focus for environmentally responsible and sustainable operations, it should help us respond to this challenge and provide much needed community leadership.

Paul Gazda, staff

Marcelle Coder said...

A new strategic goal specifically addressing research should be added. It is the second most important strategic goal adopted by ABOR, and there are very real measures of NAU's success incorporated into ABOR's plan which we will be expected to meet. I believe this should be NAU's second or third most important strategic goal. The main goal could read something like this: "Research Excellence. Build on NAU's strength and reputation for excellence in key research areas to strengthen student learning, forge stronger connections with regional partners, and connect innovations to real-world economic activity." There are easily idenfiable strategies and initiative which could follow from this.