Strategic Plan Spring 2011: Overview

In the one hundred plus years as an institution of higher learning, Northeastern State University has championed access to education for all people. Now, as NSU enters its second century, we are working hard to chart the future while living the promise of education that was articulated in its founding as the Cherokee Seminaries and throughout its transformation over time into a state university.

This Strategic Plan was created to guide and inform university planning activities for the next three to five years. Its wording has been carefully chosen to reflect the collective spirit, attitude, and behavior embedded in its precepts. This plan represents who we are at Northeastern State University and why this institution exists. Our mission, vision, and values frame what we are doing to make a difference in the lives of our students and our communities.

The Mission Statement and Vision Statement together inspire two overarching imperatives: building a culture of learning and discovery, and developing sustainable communities. These imperatives do not stand alone, but support and complement each other. They represent the primary strategic directions for the university for the next five years and beyond. These imperatives are supported by a series of five values statements that will guide our efforts. The values are integrity, collaboration, creativity, leadership, and excellence.

The values statements may be viewed as setting forth the culture embodied in the Mission Statement and the Vision Statement. The word “culture” is used intentionally to indicate the norms, behaviors, and attitudes that permeate NSU. The values of integrity and excellence are necessarily imbedded in all our efforts and plans. The values of creativity and collaboration embrace the Mission Statement’s call for discovery and provide support for the values of integrity and excellence. The value of leadership is central to the Vision Statement’s call to become the educational partner of choice in our region.

The emphasis of this Strategic Plan is on behavior, attitudes, and actions. It is the result of a deliberate effort to limit university-level priorities and to give greater responsibility to the individual operating units in defining specific strategies and actions, measurements, and timetables.

During the first year of planning, efforts were focused on developing and solidifying the Mission, Vision and Values statements. During the second year, members of the planning committee worked to prepare the seven strategic goals of the University. After that, University-wide priorities were identified, guided by the goals and pursued by teams that represented a cross-section of our University community. In the future, the committee will focus on monitoring and implementing the university-wide priorities, encouraging the involvement of unit level contributions to the strategic goals, and updating the university-wide goals and priorities. In this way, we intend to make this document a living, breathing plan which is reviewed and adjusted annually and pursued consistently.

Underlying the entire strategic planning process is the concept of Making Place Matter. Making Place Matter is a two-year old initiative supported by a partnership of the Alliance for Regional Stewardship, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. It has been adopted as an initiative of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The intent is to promote the concept of regional stewardship and to encourage each Oklahoma institution of higher education to make a difference in the lives of the people and communities they serve. This initiative is fully consistent with the Mission, Vision, and Values of Northeastern State University. We will be in the forefront of developing strategies and programs that embody the spirit of Making Place Matter.

Implementing Making Place Matter will involve a shift in emphases – from teaching to learning, from research to innovation, and from service to shared leadership. The shift from teaching to learning is essentially a move to a different measure of academic and educational success. Rather than measuring success by the grade students receive, academic quality will be measured by the education that students achieve. The shift from research to innovation recognizes that innovation is key to the economic growth and prosperity of our region, and positions NSU as this region’s chief source of expertise, diversity, and interaction—the three key ingredients of innovation. Further, the shift from service to shared leadership recognizes that, in the past, community engagement has been hampered by the traditional “walls” that separated universities and communities. NSU will work to keep ideas and resources flowing freely and in both directions between the university, its community and region, and to be viewed by community leaders as a valued partner.

This Strategic Plan is the result of a carefully conceived and executed process by which Mission, Vision, and Values Statements generated Strategic Goals from which will flow University Priority Initiatives. It has intentionally considered NSU’s long history and rich traditions. It is a product of shared leadership and collaboration across university organizations, with multiple opportunities for two-way communication and input. It recognizes that NSU has capital of many kinds -- human, intellectual, financial, and social – and is poised to be a strong leader in learning and innovation both in this region and in the larger global community.