Photo courtesy of California State University, Dominguez Hills Smugmug.
By Daniel Tom, Contributing Reporter and Chaz Kawamura, Staff Reporter
Next month will mark the third year since the appointment of Thomas A. Parham as university president.
Today, he finally gets to start on his own plan, as it’s the first public discussion of the university’s next five-year strategic plan, the first with Parham as president.
But though the plan will be formulated under the Office of the President and Parham will have to sign off on it when it’s presented in the fall, it’s not really his plan.
He’ll surely have input into it (what’s the fun of being president of anything if you don’t have a say in its future?) but this strategic plan, which outlines the vision, values and goals the university wants to achieve over the next five years, takes a great deal of input, discussion and study.
In other words, this plan needs a plan, and a large part of the work that will go into it is the responsibility of the strategic plan steering committee (SPSC) spearheaded by Dr. Kim Costino, the dean of undergraduate students and Matthew Smith, associate vice president of student life and dean of students.
The rest of the nearly 36-person committee is roughly split between faculty and deans, staff, and high-placed members of administrative departments.
Then there are those not on the committee who are part of groups (they’re called stakeholders) like tenured faculty, non-tenured faculty, staff and students who will be part of the process s well as general campus input such as Thursday’s town hall.
(For a detailed look at the process behind the strategic plan, as well as complete versions of the past two plans, go here.)
The plan isn’t a wish list; past plans have been released with specific details on how to achieve the goals. But it’s also not a tasky plan, as the past two plans have each included six goals, including things like increasing the percentage of tenured faculty, building relationship with partners in communities around the campus, and ways to advance student success.
The committee will work for the next five months and, according to the timeline on the website, the plan will be unveiled in the fall, 2021 semester.
What it will encompass is yet to be revealed. But there are two things that are fairly certain.
As the document that explicitly states the values, visions and goals of this university, it will encompass the best things that the university can aspire to.
And secondly, for President Parham, the members of the steering committee and anyone else involved in this process, thinking about and developing the path that this university will follow the next five years has got to be far more rewarding than what all of us have been doing the past year: trying to figure a way to get to the other side of this pandemic.