A New Strategic Planning Process

A Message to the USC Community

November 6, 2015

Last week I wrote to you about striving to be the global private research university that also serves the public good – a goal that will require that we face internal challenges with the same intelligence, energy and ingenuity we deploy in addressing global challenges.  In this second in a series of communiques, I want to announce the beginning of the process to produce a new strategic plan to move us forward to that goal.

The new strategic plan will build on the USC Strategic Vision: Matching Deeds to Ambitions approved by the Board of Trustees in December 2011.  The Strategic Vision has inspired several university-wide initiatives: supporting transformational teaching, programming and research; attracting new talent; broadening USC’s global reach; extending governance opportunities and improving academic support, notably to faculty on research, teaching, practice and clinical tracks; and, redesigning General Education and the Residential Colleges.  But the vision has done less as well.  Rather than initiate all planning from the center, it began by charging academic units – their deans, faculties and staff – to pursue innovative programs that make the most sense for their respective academic contexts.  As a result, more people across our campuses have participated in academic planning.

The programs and initiatives pursued in the units are truly impressive.  They are captured in a best-practices inventory available here: https://strategic.usc.edu/strategic-planning-across-academic-units/.  That document, and many others available at the website, were prepared by the Provost’s Committee for Strategic Transformation, which has now completed its work.  Please join me in thanking committee chairs Debbie MacInnis and Oliver Mayer and all the committee members for their efforts.  Their thoughtful work provides an excellent start for thinking about future university-wide initiatives.

Work on the new plan will be guided by a faculty committee – see the attached roster.  I will co-chair the committee with Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Elizabeth Graddy.  Associate Vice Provost Robin Romans will assist the committee.  I expect the new plan to be completed by the end of the academic year.  It is a tight timetable but one I think achievable since the new plan will build on the current Strategic Vision and the strong base of planning and initiatives developed in the academic units.

In keeping with past practice, the strategic planning process will include opportunities for broad participation by faculty, students, staff, alumni and all other members of the Trojan Family.  We will seek your input through a series of upcoming roundtables and open meetings across our campuses and online at the strategic planning website (https://strategic.usc.edu/).

Discussions will revolve around issues and challenges outlined in these communiques, including access and opportunity, value and affordability, how to address – and prepare our students to address – wicked problems, and what it means for USC to have global impact and to serve the public good.  I encourage all members of our academic community to participate.


cc:        C. L. Max Nikias, President

Academic Senate

School Faculty Councils

Graduate Student Government

Undergraduate Student Government

Academic Deans

President’s Cabinet

Provost’s Cabinet