University of Cincinnati Office of the President

University of Cincinnati Office of the President

Creating Our Third Century, August 14, 2013

I write with an update on the work of the President’s Executive Committee. This group of senior administrators from across the institution meets weekly to advise me on various organizational matters. With no shortage of time-sensitive items on the agenda, our attention often turns to the immediate. Starting this month, however, I have charged the Executive Committee with carving out the necessary time to think deeply about the University’s long-term direction. That means taking the dozen-plus planning documents currently in play—from UC2019/Academic Master Plan to the Research Roadmap to the UC Foundation Strategic Plan—and distilling a clear sense of how these manifold efforts align and aggregate, especially from a prioritization standpoint. 

In short, we must sharpen our vision of UC’s institutional priorities for the next 15 years. And it should be concise and compelling enough to remain top of mind for all us.

“If we don’t determine our priorities, they’ll determine us” is a familiar saying that nevertheless deserves repeating. Having a clear understanding of our institutional priorities will help drive our most critical decisions, including: new investments in academic programs, teaching and research; the foci for our next comprehensive fundraising campaign; the sequencing of the campus master plan; our capacity for debt; and so on. 

The Executive Committee will take the first pass at further defining and aligning our institutional priorities. The group will hold a full-day retreat in September, followed by regular discussions throughout October. For this endeavor, I have asked Richard Miller, chair of the Faculty Senate, Peter Landgren, chair of the Council of Deans, and Kristi Nelson, senior vice provost for academic planning, to join the team. In November and December, the Executive Committee will host a series of input sessions with the campus community via targeted meetings and open forums. At this stage, it’s critical that we engage as many stakeholders as possible—from faculty, students, staff, trustees and alumni to business and civic leaders, government officials and external funding bodies. In January, the Executive Committee will complete a follow-up retreat to incorporate the ideas and insights gleaned from the community input sessions. The goal is to share the results of our collect ive efforts at my State of the University address in February.

With so many demands and deadlines consuming our work day, it’s easy to miss the historic moment before us. We have the honor and responsibility to ready this remarkable institution for its 200th birthday in 2019. And as great as that bicentennial moment will be for our campus community, greater still is the opportunity for us to fundamentally shape the foundation of this University’s next vista, our third century.

I look forward to partnering with you to help create UC’s third century.