Future Purdue: Where are we headed? How do we get there?
The leadership teams charged with implementing the College of Technology strategic plan have been working diligently over the past year to establish metrics and action plans and charting progress and challenges for the seven main areas of the plan.
Many of the metrics have come from internal brainstorming, feedback from departments, and the implementation of surveys and other instruments across the college. But a key tool that has made the process a bit easier for many of the teams is the Future Purdue Target Worksheet.
Future Purdue is a planning document established by the President’s Office that has identified key target metrics for the University to reach by 2014. Among other areas, the data includes targets for:
- undergraduate and graduate headcount
- academic preparation of incoming students
- graduate rates
- demographic data of the student body
- faculty and staff headcount
- space utilization
- scholarship and gift activity
- sponsored program awards.
The document is important in the University’s efforts to raise its profile in national rankings, which take into account where a University stands along many of these data points. Once the University set its Future Purdue goals, each college was asked to submit its own targets.
We talked with Dean Dennis Depew about the process and how Future Purdue plays a role in the college’s strategic planning process.
What is the intent of Future Purdue?
When President Cordova came on board, there was a high priority placed on strategic planning and raising the profile of Purdue. National rankings are important. When you look at the rankings and how they are conducted, a lot is based on these data points. SAT averages, selectivity, retention rates. Significant jumps in retention rate and six-year graduation rates will move you up the rankings.
What is the role of the colleges in this?
This worksheet was created to help each college develop its strategic plan and activities to move us in this direction. They are really performance metrics. It’s about setting goals and striving to reach them.
How did the college go about putting its target numbers together?
We set them for ourselves – we tried to look at targets that we thought were realistic, would stretch us, and would better us. We sought input from the departments and across other areas the college. Some of the metrics are budget based, some based on what advancement is doing, much is focused on academic performance and on admissions, recruitment and retention.
How are these numbers being implemented at the college?
The focus now is to disseminate these targets widely across the college through vehicles such as this newsletter so that we can align our efforts appropriately. Our department heads and strategic plan team leaders have these numbers. I want these leaders to integrate these metrics into their action plans. Hitting these goals is a function of what happens at every level in the college, including the department level. When it comes to admission and retention, the departments have to be very engaged in that process.
Are these numbers set in stone?
We may see mid-course adjustments on the horizon; some may be adjusted upward. That’s a good thing.
Why is a document like this important to the strategic planning process?
If you don’t measure progress, how do you know if you are getting there or not? How do you know if what you are implementing is working? That was the driving force of our first strategic plan; we measured ourselves against the goals we had.
Looking at Future Purdue, what are the top priorities for the college?
In the area of faculty, it’s maintaining our numbers at an appropriate level; hiring faculty. CUL [capacity utilization level] is critical, people are critical. Student recruitment and retention are critical areas; diversity is important. Space utilization is important, and certainly fundraising and scholarship support.
What role do individual faculty members play in this process?
I would hope faculty members would stay engaged through the strategic planning process; some are on these leadership teams. We would hope that departments are developing their own plans and working groups.
Download the latest Future Purdue College of Technology worksheet (Excel document with three sheets).
Read definitions for each area measured in Future Purdue (PDF).