We have changed a lot in the past five years, with many new buildings, growing faculty, staff and student numbers, and new challenges in a different world. For all these reasons, it is timely that the college has just produced its 2016-2020 strategic plan. We have done things differently this time, working to engage the entire college community at every stage of the planning process.
We made an early decision to keep this plan short and direct. Instead of lengthy mission and vision statements, we will state our objective simply – “TO IMPROVE ANIMAL AND HUMAN HEALTH.” It is simple and leaves no room for confusion, and it is what we do every day.
The next step was to clearly state the 5 long-term goals we will pursue to achieve that objective:
- Build an inclusive College community and a culture of pride and integrity
- Deliver world-class education that produces highly successful veterinarians
- Build research leadership and training in animal and human health
- Deliver compassionate, state-of-the-art care in a dynamic educational environment
- Strategically invest in targeted programmatic areas
With these goals in place, we focused on developing strategies for the next four years that will help us accomplish them, together with metrics that will tell us when we have achieved success. You can read the whole plan on our website.
We learned a lot from the 2013-2016 strategic planning process, and we have published a report describing the outcome. The new 2016-2020 strategic plan is more specific and focused, and uses the knowledge gained from our successes and failures in the past three years.
This kind of planning process is important for many reasons. It informs decisions about investing resources, and helps to communicate to everyone inside and outside the college what we are trying to do, and what is important to us.
A good example of a change at the college that requires a change in our strategy is the fact that one third of our faculty, and many of our staff, were hired in the past five years. Previously much of our focus was on recruitment as we tried to fill new open positions. Today, we need to move our emphasis towards developing the careers of our new employees, and assuring their success through mentoring and investment. Another vitally important change is in our curriculum. We have made adjustments to add new materials and teaching strategies. Now we need to ensure we have the right balance of core and elective material in our teaching, and that the new teaching methodologies we are using are really achieving what we hoped. The changes the college has experienced have frequently increased the workload on staff, faculty and students. We need to recognize this, and make sure our programs are sustainable. This is something we also must address through the new plan.
Above all, our planning process this year has emphasized how positive it is to get engagement from everyone in our community. The plan is stronger, and the partnerships are better. Working together is always the most important strategy.