Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

October 13, 1994

University's 5-year plan of goals, strategies goes to Board of Trustees for okay Oct. 21

At its Oct. 21 meeting, the Board of Trust- ees is expected to approve a plan spelling out Pitt's mission, goals, strategies for achieving those goals, and guidelines for evaluating school-level plans between now and the end of the century.

The document, called "Toward the 21st Century," is the product of a year-long planning process involving input from hundreds of faculty, staff and students, both as individuals and as members of various committees and task forces.

If approved by the trustees, the "21st Century" plan will be the basis for Pitt budget-making beginning with the University's budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 1995.

The 11 goals outlined in the plan are stated in general terms — "An emphasis on excellence in undergraduate education" is one goal; "A more diverse student body, faculty and staff through effective recruiting" is another.

But many of the plan's strategies are specific, perhaps surprisingly so to readers of previous Pitt long-range plans.

For example, the plan calls for the University to enhance the academic quality of its student body by becoming more selective in admitting students, lowering the percentage of freshmen accepted from the current 76 percent of applicants to 70 percent during the five-year planning period.

Another example: research priorities for the Health Sciences include revitalizing the Department of Neurology, establishing a training and research program on cellular and molecular biology, revitalizing clinical and research programs in infectious diseases, establishing a comprehensive breast care program, and developing a drug design/drug discovery program.

Another difference between "Toward the 21st Century" and previous Pitt long-range plans is that the new one doesn't recommend, in effect, that the University strive to be all things to all people.

"This plan recognizes, perhaps to some of you too much so, that there are limitations to what the University of Pittsburgh is likely to be able to accomplish over the next five years," said Robert Pack, vice provost for Academic Planning and Resources Management, in a report to Senate Council Oct. 11.

The "21st Century" plan identifies the core areas of the University as the arts and sciences and the schools of business, engineering, law and medicine. The plan places high priority on strengthening those units.

Still another new aspect of the "21st Century" plan is that it is not split into separate academic and administrative sections. "This is an academic plan," Pack emphasized. Administrative support units are dealt with in terms of how they advance the University's academic mission. "Chief among the criteria upon which these (administrative) units are to be evaluated are efficiency, quality, and appropriateness," the plan states.

Pack also stressed that the planning document is printed on paper, not carved in stone. "Planning is obviously a process and not a conclusion," he said. "This document, while it is important in its own right, should be viewed as representing the first step in what we believe will prove to be a major re-orientation of the University's efforts as it prepares to enter the next century." The vice provost made the comment after a graduate student member of Council recommended that the document be amended to address grad and professional students' needs for additional on-campus housing (the plan already calls for more housing for undergraduates) and affordable day care. Pack said there will be many additions and changes to the plan over the next five years.

The "21st Century" plan includes three appendices:

* A December 1993 report written by Chancellor J. Dennis O'Connor called "The University of Pittsburgh: 1993 and Beyond." The report describes in detail the goals listed in the "21st Century" plan.

* Pitt's Master Space Plan, which the administration plans to publish as a supplement to a future issue of the University Times. The master plan is aimed at guiding the University's physical development over the next 20 years.

* A set of one-page summaries of proposed five-year plans by each of Pitt's schools, the four regional campuses, the Learning Research and Development Center, the University Center for Social and Urban Research, the University Center for International Studies, the University Honors College and the University Library System.

By April 1995, each of these units will be told how their plans fared in the ongoing University-wide priority-setting process. According to the "21st Century" document, unit programs and activities will be given priority if they: * Are of high quality and contribute to better instruction.

* Fulfill the University's goal of carrying out excellent research.

* Support Pitt's public service function.

* Are cost effective.

* Build on existing or potential strength.

* Combine, or encourage cooperation among, programs and activities within the University to streamline offerings, avoid duplication, and maximize the benefit derived from existing resources.

* Are not duplicated elsewhere within the University or state or, if duplicated elsewhere, are of exceptionally high quality, make unique contributions, and/or are central to the University's mission, or, in the case of the regional campuses, to the specific mission of those campuses.

"Just as the institution as a whole must respond to broad social, economic, political, technological and demographic trends, so too the units must carefully assess changes affecting their constituents and the ways in which the unit operates," the document states.

Various drafts of the "21st Century" document have been circulated around the University since August, Pack told Senate Council. Final revisions were made Oct. 7 to the document that the trustees will consider next week, he said.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 27 Issue 4

Leave a Reply