My first six months at NC State have been a tremendous experience. Susan and I have met so many people, seen the incredible work and heard the countless stories of the success, reach and impact of so many good things about NC State University. It is clear that there is pride and confidence in NC State throughout the many communities and organizations this university has touched.
As I mentioned in the installation speech, I have listened and learned a lot and I have some ideas on how we move our institution forward. We have many exceptional people here. I know you — our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends — have thoughts on NC State’s future, too.
We have a shared belief that the university is on the threshold of taking off, of advancing into a new realm of possibilities. The objective is for us to work together to build a shared vision for NC State, embodied in a new strategic plan that defines our future and the strategies we will engage to achieve it.
Our goals must be clearly stated, with benchmarks along the way that allow us to understand how well we are progressing and where course corrections may be in order.
The strategic planning process is underway, with more than 150 people engaged in nine task forces. I also have begun to meet with each of the task force co-chairs. In the installation address, I spoke about three broad concepts that I believe should be our top strategic priorities.
While the task forces are grouped around specific areas, in general, there are three broad concepts that we should concentrate on: student success and faculty excellence, engagement and economic development and organizational excellence.
In the area of student success, graduation and retention are always at the top of the list. But how do we address some of the challenges posed by our admission and transfer practices? Elevating our commitment to advising is only part of the answer.
Under the heading of faculty excellence, what’s the appropriate balance between tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty? How can we streamline processes and procedures so that bureaucracy doesn’t get in the way of innovative research and education?
We do engagement and economic development well. How can we utilize this strength to help the state prosper even in a weak economy?
I was pleased to see the great turnout for the strategic plan town hall meeting on Oct. 26. We had several hundred people in Stewart Theatre and a very lively discussion about the direction of NC State. Lots of good ideas and good questions.
If this is going to be the rich and interactive conversation it needs to be, we need to hear from you. Help us look broadly for the solutions that address a range of concerns that will best serve this university and its stakeholders long term.
Think boldly, think outside of the box, think broadly, think strategically.
And do share your thoughts. This is a time for us to be energized and excited about the future.
NC State University