St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
October 30, 2004

Download minutes [PDF: 6 pages]

Members Present: Mark Nook, Judith Kilborn, Theresia Fisher, Donella Westphal, Guihua Li, Debra Carlson, Brenda Wentworth, Annette Schoenberger, Diana Burlison, Neal Voelz, John Palmer, Bonnie Hedin, Lisa Foss

Members Absent: Edward Addo, Ben Baliga, Susan Motin, Pat Krueger, Phil Thorson, Sara Grachek, David Sikes, John Burgeson, Joe Opatz, Frankie Condon, Mahmoud Saffari

1. Approval of September 30, 2004 Minutes:
The meeting was convened as a subcommittee while waiting for enough members for a quorum.

2. Reports

  • Meeting schedule for Spring 2005:
    Kilborn distributed a schedule sheet and asked members to fill in their schedules to help find blocks of time on alternate weeks each person would be available, and asked to have them returned to her before the next meeting. Members should specify when commitments do not occur weekly, and items that can be moved around, such as office hours, should be left off the schedule. Kilborn suggested that the committee establish a standing meeting time, which doesn't conflict with other standing meetings (like Meet & Confer) and that members schedule other obligations around that. Wentworth suggested that for the next semester, planning SPC meetings should be done before class schedules are set. There was some feeling that department scheduling might not accommodate that.
  • St. Cloud State University Annual Work Plan, Fiscal Year 2005:
    The Annual Work Plan was distributed. This comes from MnSCU, and it is the basis on which President Saigo is evaluated. When they developed this, they used the Strategic Plan as much as possible. A lot of work has been done to align Work Plan requirements with the Strategic Plan. Lisa Foss gave a history and overview of the Work Plan. In June we’ll get a document from the Chancellor’s office with the Work Plan for the year. We have about four weeks to fill it in with how we’ll support it. This was primarily put together by Academic Affairs Council and it is based on the Strategic Plan. Each quarter we’re required to provide a report about the activities listed; the data for this came mostly from the deans. This year the process changed – prior versions had more general headings so we could more easily fit in our Strategic Plan. This year’s is much more specific, and we were told we couldn’t change it. The deadline for this one is November 1. The institutional goals, objectives, and outcomes are ours. Now there’s a mid-year and end-of-year report required.
    • Fisher questioned whether some of the information which came from various areas at SCSU referenced the Strategic Plan in coming up with what’s on the document.
    • Foss: It’s not a perfect fit – outcomes that have numbers after them indicate a KPI; some goals are straight out of the Strategic Plan. It was based on MnSCU’s strategic plan.
    • Schoenberger: Is it implied that we must fill in something in each column?
    • Foss: We’ve been told we’re not necessarily expected to have a plan in each area. We do have to send something to them on November 1, but we will have the opportunity to change it.
    • Fisher: As long as we have a chance to make changes, we should not take time to work on it now. Who came up with the system activities?
    • Foss: The Chancellor’s office – it has been approved by the Board of Trustees.
    • Burlison: We have to remember that some of what they put in may not fit in with our activities; their focus is on outreach, they work more with audiences we’re not engaged with as much.
    • Schoenberger: It may happen that the President is forced to go in one direction while we want to go in another direction, because of the top down approach.
    • Foss: Yes; we are allowed to add some other things, but it is essentially a top down approach.
    • Fisher: We should look at it in terms of university’s leadership and our perspective on where our leadership should be in terms of our Strategic Plan.
    • Palmer: We want buy-in from faculty on the one portion we do have control of. How we respond should be aligned with overall campus constituencies.
    • Nook: A lot of things that relate to our KPIs are included. The Provost was pretty clear that it needed to have those included.
    • Foss: The fact that it’s a one-year work plan is a challenge – we are not at the point that we’re ready to do actual activities yet. It’s really about initiatives more than goals. Lots of initiatives are going on on campus. The Work Plan should be reporting on the initiatives that are coming out of our Strategic Plan. It’s really capturing what the university plans to do this year.
    • Kilborn: In subsequent years, when our plan is more complete, it should be easier to fill it in.
    • Question: Were the institutional objectives those developed here at SCSU?
    • Nook: Some were put together from Work Plans submitted by the deans. But we do have to align with the Chancellor’s Work Plan. It has been distributed to the President’s Council, and it has been discussed with the vice presidents.
    • Palmer: How are we going to have faculty buy-in for the institutional objectives?

With the arrival of Lisa Foss, the committee was convened as a full committee. Motion to accept the minutes of Sept. 30. (Palmer/Fisher) Discussion:

Schoenberger: Words like “shared,” “clarified” are not really part of what we said. We need to keep the language more neutral in terms of verbs. Example: “President Saigo conceded…”
Fisher: The minutes should go back to the committee chair for changes.

Motion to postpone approval of the minutes until they are changed to reflect concerns expressed. (Schoenberger/Fisher) Motion passed. The notes will be sent out electronically to members.

  • BSC Consultants:
    Kilborn thanked Lisa Foss for doing the arranging. Kathie Gilbert will be here next week. She has a lot of background in assessment, and has worked within a unionized system. She’ll do an introductory session for the President’s Council, one for Academic Affairs Council, and two for us. SPC will meet with her next Tuesday from 12:00-3:00. There will be two open forums on Wednesday. The one on Thursday (8:00-12:00) for SPC only will be hands-on; we hope to come out of it with a strategy map.
    • David Sikes will send an e-mail with information about the location of the meetings.
    • Foss: Gilbert will leave us with an assignment sheet; she’ll come back in February to see how we’re doing.
    • SPC members should attend both Tuesday and Thursday meetings. If they cannot attend Tuesday's meeting, they should try to attend one of the open forums on Wednesday.
    • Foss will check about food.
    • Kilborn encouraged everyone to come to the open forums, and asked members to encourage other people to come also.
    • Some people are concerned that because BSC comes out of a business model, it might not fit for us. We need to reassure people that the Balanced Scorecard doesn’t determine what our goals are.
    • Fisher: We should be sure to use words like “draft” and make sure people know that the content will come from the campus community.
    • Burlison: We should be aware that this has to go through FA approval, and the other unions.
    • Kilborn will send an invitation to the campus community as soon as she knows the locations.

3. Call for new agenda items

4. SPC’s charge for this year
The charge has been reviewed by Provost Spitzer. Our goal is to get a draft for the first priority by January 2005. Provost Spitzer has offered to come to the meeting whenever we have concerns or need clarification. The intent is to approve the charge.

  • Fisher would like to invite the Provost to a meeting to talk to him about the charge. What we have for KPIs is a mixture of many things, so to say three KPIs is pretty arbitrary. The charge is lacking interaction with campus constituencies.
  • Foss said she is troubled by having to have a number; we may not be able to judge that yet. It needs to be a more open process than that; after the work on Thursday, we’ll have a better idea of how many KPIs we’re talking about.
  • Kilborn: We need clarification about exactly which goals he’s talking about. In talking to him, an open process was implied. Last time we asked for encouragement from administration for participation from departments and programs.
  • Motion to invite the Provost to a SPC meeting to discuss the charge, three KPIs per goal and discussions with community entities such as departments, centers and offices, with the committee. (Fisher/Schoenberger) Discussion:
    • Palmer: could we simplify by simply asking the Provost, since it is the Provost’s charge? If we wait till the 18 th of November to get clarification, we’ll not be making any progress.
    • Fisher: Since Balanced Scorecard training is upon us, we’ll be working on that and this wouldn’t hold us up.
    • Burlison: We have the charge from Provost, we have Balanced Scorecard training, they’ve been given our charge. The hands-on task may conflict.
    • Foss: I don’t think it conflicts – they want KPIss that we can use to measure how we’re doing. We may not have total agreement on number or which specific goals, but we’ll end up in the same place.
    • Kilborn: We’ll be in a better place to understand exactly what we need to do after the training.
    • Burlison: We don’t have a sense of whether the numbers are out of line until after we’ve learned about the Balanced Scorecard process.
    • Carlson: It would help if we could have clarification of how many goals there are under academic distinction before the trainers come next week. It would be more efficient to have the framework laid out while in training. Can we have the flexibility to not think of three needed?
    • Fisher: That’s what the problem is with the charge – giving us the number. It’s the process we have to be comfortable with.
    • Schoenberger: My problem is with getting a charge that we have to do three. It shows that whoever wrote it has a superficial understanding of strategic planning.
    • Kilborn: I do think we encouraged that ourselves. Last year we had a huge number of goals and KPIs, and we actually asked for a number.
    • Foss: The President and Provost probably have less understanding of the strategic planning process than we do. Kathie Gilbert will be meeting with AAC and they will get the same training we will. The process isn’t as important as the fact that we should all follow the same one; that’s why the open forums are being held. After President’s Council goes through training, they may feel that the charge has to be changed.
    • Palmer: We can agree with the first part.
    • Kilborn: We need an interpretation of which goals we might be talking about. Last year we came up with goals that condensed areas. Now we’re talking about those condensed areas, A – F.
    • Fisher: We discovered that those things we’d listed as KPIs and goals might not be those, so it’s going to be unclear until we have gone through the training. The second paragraph doesn’t work with the intent of the first paragraph. The trainers said our Strategic Plan was very good, and all components would be used.
  • Motion passed.

5. Example of academic use of the Balanced Scorecard – University of Alabama,

  • Foss explained the University of Alabama scorecard components.
  • Kilborn: President Saigo has seen it and was very excited. However, we should be aware that although Alabama's scorecard is entirely quantitative, scorecards often include qualitative measures.
  • Foss: As a group we need to have a discussion about quantitative vs. qualitative.
  • Schoenberger: we’d have to show linkage between qualitative and quantitative.
  • Fisher: One thing Kathie Gilbert is not going to tell us is what’s important to us.
  • Kilborn: This process asks us to test our assumptions.

6. Process for completing tasks this year

  • Schoenberger: It’s premature to come up with the process until after we’ve had the Balanced Scorecard training.
  • Palmer asked how meetings might change.
  • Kilborn: We hope to come out with a strategy map; some our meetings may be setting up coordination with the community.
  • Foss: What the process calls for is a cause and effect relationship. Why is our graduation rate at this level? We would come up with a list, then come up with a test to see if our assumptions are right. Then we’re able to deal with the real problems.
  • Fisher: In addition to going into subcommittees, we may be going into departments, centers, and working with people who have knowledge of each area. People here are going to be deciding the strategy and that’s very empowering. This committee’s work may be more of coordinating what’s happening in all the areas.
  • Kilborn: One advantage is that you can actually test whether data we’re collecting is really data we need. People are nervous that we’re going to be doing the work of the departments, and that’s not so.
  • Burlison: David DeGroote asked for a budget plan, but it’s clear that this committee is not going to be doing the work of data entry, computer entry – do we have a budget plan?
  • Kilborn: It’s really simple at this point – we have contracted for the initial training, and two days in February for follow-up. We can determine at that point if we need any more assistance.
  • Foss will forward that contract to the committee.
  • Foss: Phil Thorson went to see if there was training about software needed for Balanced Scorecard. Foss, Fisher and Kilborn are convinced we don’t need any expensive software – this was Phil’s impression even before he went to the training.
  • Burlison: We need to have resources behind it if it’s going to be successful.
  • Li: Did Phil say there will be no problem with the analysis of data, as well as with the collection of data? We have the software and the data, but who’s going to do the analysis of the data?
  • Fisher: That’s part of the Balanced Scorecard process. The process should answer 80% of those questions.
  • Li : It takes people to do the analysis of the data – how are we going to do that?
  • Burlison: What kind of platform does the University of Alabama use? How will it fit in with the MnSCU data warehouse?
  • Foss: The consultants were pretty open about the fact that there is some significant human resource cost - it isn’t reasonable for the university to expect us to do this with the resources we have. At some point we’ll have to ask for resources.
  • Fisher: The implementation at one university required a separate server and an IT person. Cost will be in terms of hardware and human resources. Most universities using this do have a dedicated staff person.
  • Palmer: It seems that the process that we engage in will be different because we’ll have to identify what the tasks will be and what the resources will be. There are many examples of how people have had work dumped in their laps with no training. There needs to be understanding that there will be a budgetary cost. The Balanced Scorecard should tell us where we need to allocate resources.
  • Schoenberger: Earlier someone said that the data we used would be the data that has already been collected. We need to make additions to the Institutional Research office. Our institutional research has to be based on the Balanced Scorecard. The Balanced Scorecard data should be our Institutional Research. Some of our work will be making recommendations about how this will be done.
  • Li: We will need more human resources to make this work.
  • Kilborn: There may be MnSCU data we’ll still need to collect that would be outside of the Balanced Scorecard data.