We Are Flashes Together
Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,
I don’t know about you, but the term “strategic plan” has, in the past, caused my eyeballs to roll back into my head. Images flash through my mind of boring meetings, lots of talking and not much doing. Generations of professors, myself included, have viewed such efforts as little more than busywork that will end up gathering dust on someone’s shelf.
Believe me when I tell you that Kent State is different. A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State, implemented in 2016, truly has been an action plan driving decision-making on our campuses. Everyone involved in the effort worked hard to provide a vision statement, mission statement and a list of core values and priorities that truly reflect who we are and who we aspire to be.
The phrase and commitment Flashes Take Care of Flashes, for example, grew out of the plan’s core value of “respect, kindness and purpose in all we do.” How we addressed budget challenges with voluntary separation plans instead of mass layoffs and our approach to the pandemic, which emphasized faculty choice in whether to teach in person or remotely during the first year and a half of the crisis, also were drive by this core value. Likewise, our Anti-Racism Task Force reflects our core value of embracing “diversity of culture, beliefs, identity and thought,” and the establishment of five research institutes shows our commitment to “active inquiry and discovery that expands knowledge and human understanding.”
There are many more successes borne from our strategic plan, and I look forward to sharing these with you in a series of in-person presentations over the next few months. Our great strategic plan deserves to be celebrated, but it’s also time for us to give it a second look and refresh our priorities to represent our deep commitment to access, completion, inclusion and excellence. This refreshed plan will serve as our North Star for the next five years. As we review and refresh, we’ll take further steps toward making Kent State a better, more inclusive and more successful university.
Our original planning effort was led by a large, inclusive Strategic Visioning Advisory Committee that reviewed feedback from in-person meetings, responses to questionnaires and national best practices to create the current plan. A revamped committee will perform a similar service as we begin the work of refreshing our plan.
In addition to sharing the progress we have made as a result of our strategic roadmap, I look forward to gathering your input on how best to refresh the plan in a way that honors our sense of community and our Flashes Take Care of Flashes commitment.
We’re calling this next phase of planning Flashes Together: A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State. Visit the site to learn more about these upcoming presentations and our process for refreshing this important university guide.
What we are embarking on is not boring, inconsequential busywork. It is a team effort to ensure that our strategic plan will continue to reflect our values and our commitments – who we are as a university.
Thank you in advance for helping us with this important work, and GO FLASHES!