As the largest and most diverse college at ISU, identifying the priorities and goals for the future of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences can be a challenging but also extremely rewarding process. The strategic planning process for the college was scheduled to complement the 2017-2022 university strategic plan, which was finalized in 2016. Last summer the LAS process began with assigning the coordination of the process to Dr. Cinzia Cervato, Morrill Professor of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences and LAS senior faculty fellow.
A strategic plan is founded on a mission statement, and the first step in the LAS process was reviewing the college’s existing mission statement. It was determined that the college needed a new mission statement to reflect the university’s growth, the significance of the college’s role in the university, and the significant aspirations for the future.
The deans of LAS took advantage of a retreat to initiate conversation about what an updated mission statement should contain, and with input from the college leadership team, the department chairs, the Dean’s Alumni Advisory Council, the LAS Representative Assembly and the strategic planning steering committee, a new mission statement, vision, and value statements were created. The complete documents can be accessed here.
A mission statement needs to concisely describe why the college exists and what it intends to achieve. The updated mission of LAS is to “educate future leaders and citizens with a global perspective, conduct research and scholarship of international significance, and share our knowledge to benefit Iowa, the nation, and the world.”
A mission statement is supported by a statement of what the college stands for (values) and what it intends to become within the next five years (vision statement), but these components had not been included in past strategic plans. LAS’s vision reads: “We will be a national and international leader in ensuring life-long student success through high-quality teaching, experiential learning, and academic support. We will be a national and international leader in conducting and communicating impactful research and scholarship, seeking to transcend traditional academic boundaries and benefit humanity and our planet.” The values that all members of the LAS community are committed to are: 1. Diversity of people and ideas, 2. Student engagement and success, 3. Excellence in scholarship, 4. Collegiality, trust, and respect, and 5. Responsible use of resources.
The updated mission statement and the vision and values are a reflection of the strengths of the college, on which we will expand our world-class research and scholarly reputation. We can look to this framework as we plan for the future, and establish a focus for moving the college forward.
The strategic planning process continues to make good progress: the four subcommittees are finalizing their reports after receiving feedback from some 300 members of the college community through an online survey. At the end of February the steering committee will commence its work and combine the reports into goals and objectives that align with the university’s strategic plan. Faculty, staff, and students will have the opportunity to provide input to this phase of the process at two town hall events scheduled for Monday 27 March at 1-3 PM and Tuesday 4 April also at 1-3 PM. Both events will take place in the Oak Room at the Memorial Union.