UW Tacoma’s Chancellor Mark Pagano finally conducted the big reveal of his Strategic Plan titled Charting Our Course this last week and it was apparent that it carries two sides.
For several months, the plan seemed to be keeping students and faculty in the dark as to what its actual purpose entailed. Other than solidifying our current UW mission, vision and values, it was supposedly designed to establish a framework for initiatives and resource alignment until 2021.
Leading up to the event, students and faculty alike had their doubts about what the plan intends to implement, as it had no real quantitative goals or a financial budget that was readily available to the public. The hope was that the unveiling would clarify some of this information.
The Oct. 17 event had a good turnout of over a hundred faculty members, but hardly any students. Throughout the initial portion of the presentation, the Strategic Plan was referred to as the “grand plan” of the university for the next five years.
Pagano made sure to identify resources to support the plan and to hold the campus accountable for the plan’s goals. He also held himself accountable to making sure this plan does not just sit on the shelf, but to utilize it daily and make sure the work UWT commits to comes to life. There was no say, however, on how he plans to actually bring his vision to life.
The event was essentially a summary of what the planning process would look like, and included a lot of thank-you’s to those who actively took part in the planning process (though hardly any of those from the actual task force came), mainly thanking the research group composed primarily of faculty members.
Jill Purdy, the current Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Affairs and the Associate Professor for the Milgard School of Business said, “This plan is beautifully aligned as to what we aspire to do…” She went on to disclose how the plan’s effect is already underway with the First-Generation Students club, and how this is closely interlinked with the plan and its impact goal of diversity.
The “special guest” speaker who was supposed to create a call to action — was none other than the Chancellor himself, dressed up to resemble Abraham Lincoln. The call to action was brought forth through a proclamation that literally started with, “One score and almost seven years ago, our founding fathers brought forth, upon this neighborhood, a new campus, conceived in learning and dedicated to the proposition that all men, women and their children should have equal access to a world class UW education.”
Despite the flashy introduction, it was unclear as to how this plan will be implemented — besides recruiting more people to get on the coordinating committee. Pagano did in fact say that there will be risks involved, but he was unclear on the specific risks.
An email on Oct. 18 claimed that in order to efficiently engage with this plan, the university is to “collaborate to propose a strategic initiative. The Chancellor has identified $150,000 for strategic initiatives during 2016-17 and, pending the outcomes of the university- wide budgeting process, up to $400,000 to fund strategic initiatives during the 2017-2018 academic year.”
The event posed questions about where this money is actually coming from and why such a big amount of money is going towards a plan that doesn’t really have a plan.