During the 2021-2022 academic year, the Ottawa University community is joining together to chart our collective vision for the coming five years. Through a broadly based and inclusive process, we will leverage the passion, creativity, expertise, and commitment of our faculty and staff, students, alumni, Board of Trustees, supporters, and community partners to develop an ambitious but attainable strategic plan. Our work will be guided by our institutional mission, spurred by the momentum of our growth and success, and inspired by the Ottawa Spirit.
Process and Timeline
Working with the Board of Trustees, the Executive Cabinet, and faculty leadership, President & CEO Bill Tsutsui formed a Strategic Planning Steering Committee in August 2021. The 21-member group is broadly representative of Ottawa University’s campuses, our key internal constituencies, and our connections to the larger world.
Over the fall of 2021, the group immersed itself in data and other materials on where OU stands today, its points of strength, and the areas where attention and investment are required. It also surveyed the complex landscape of contemporary American higher education and identified opportunities as well as challenges going forward. At a day-long retreat in late September, the Steering Committee identified a list of six key topics that will provide focus to broader community conversations on the future of Ottawa University.
Following the retreat, the Steering Committee convened six Working Groups, smaller committees of individuals from across the institution, which are charged with diving deeper into these key topics. The working groups allow for greater participation in the process and are responsible for soliciting broad, grassroots engagement through focus groups, townhall meetings, listening sessions, surveys, and other means. The goal is to empower, inspire, and genuinely hear as many voices as possible, from as many corners of the OU as possible, on issues that matter for our future directions, the goals we are going to stretch for, and the hard choices we are going to have to tackle together.
Early in 2022, the Steering Committee will collect input from the Working Groups and the community, duly consider it, debate it, distill it, synthesize it, and ultimately bring it together into a document that will be our roadmap for the future, for how we invest our energies and our limited resources, for what we hope to be and how we hope to get there. The intention is to have a complete draft by late spring 2022 for final consideration by the Board at its June meeting, and with the anticipation that the evolving strategic plan will inform the budgeting process for the 2023 fiscal year.
Strategic Planning Steering Committee
The Steering Committee, chaired by the President & CEO, will drive the strategic planning process: collecting and studying data on Ottawa University and the future of American higher education; identifying key topics that will structure the planning process; seeking broad input from our campuses and communities through six Working Groups; analyzing, debating, and dreaming; and eventually distilling and drafting a compelling vision and plan for the next five years.
The six Working Groups will include all the members of the Steering Committee as well as almost 30 additional faculty and staff members from our campuses (selected based on recommendations from the Steering Committee). Each Working Group will be led by two co-facilitators, one from the steering committee and one not; a member of the Executive Cabinet is assigned to each of the Working Groups, primarily in a support function.
Each of the Working Groups will focus on one of the key topics for Ottawa University’s future as defined by the Steering Committee: Academic Futures, Affordability and Accessibility, Building Inward, Engaging Outward, One University, and The Student Experience. These topics will drive the activities of the Working Groups, which are tasked with engaging broadly with the OU community, building grassroots involvement, delving into issues of strategic importance, and exploring potential solutions and directions for the institution.
Speak Up and Be Heard
Ottawa University will only achieve its full potential as an institution and as a community if we all come together now to collaborate on the important work of planning. In January and early February of 2022, the Working Groups will seek input from all members of the Ottawa University family. This is the time for everyone who cares about OU—faculty and staff, students, alums, and friends—to bring their voices, bright ideas, concerns, questions, experience, hopes, and dreams to the making of a five-year roadmap for Ottawa University. The plan will only be strong and successful if everyone contributes now to a collective vision for what this institution can (and will) be. Please take an active part in charting a path for the next chapter in the history of Ottawa University by participating in the events listed below, by submitting your suggestions through the anonymous feedback form, or by contacting any members of the Steering Committee or Working Groups.
If you have any questions about the strategic planning process, please email PresidentCEO@ottawa.edu. Thank you for your investing in Ottawa University’s future.