Strategic planning delayed

Due to the transition to remote teaching and learning, strategic planning meetings are being delayed. Faculty members have raised concerns about the current plan and how it will be addressed. Graphic by Kelsey Jackson.

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The planning meetings of the 2020-2025 strategic plan for Dixie State University is facing delays because of COVID-19.

The transition to online coursework and meetings has lead to delays in planning meetings, including those surrounding the strategic plan.

“We’re postponing or delaying the next step by two maybe three weeks, but we still have intentions of finishing,” said Provost Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs and chair of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. “Our goal is to finish by midsummer.”

Lacourse said the plan is moving from the development phase to the approval phase at the end of April.

Along with delays, several faculty members have raised their concerns with certain aspects of the plan in a recent faculty senate meeting.

Samuel Tobler, assistant professor of physics and president of faculty senate, said he wishes the faculty senate would have been able to see the plan sooner. He said he wants openness from the strategic plan steering committee about what is being discussed and why.

Jason Wilde, assistant professor of family and consumer science, said in a recent faculty senate meeting that he is concerned with goal 5, outcome 1, which discusses how the university wants faculty to engage with students.

Wilde said he is concerned about the meaning of the goal and he’s not sure how the university is supposed to measure how the faculty get involved with students.

Shandon Gubler, professor of business management, said the new territory of being a polytechnic university is a huge lift and has potential for the university unless it’s not made a big deal.

Gubler said he feels that Lacourse is downplaying the importance of a polytechnic university based on a presentation Lacourse gave earlier in the year.

Lauren DiSalvo, assistant professor of art history, said: “I have passed along the comments from faculty senate via email to the requisite people in charge. The strategic planning task force has had to reschedule their meetings because of COVID-19, so they have yet to meet in person to discuss them.”

Jyl Hall, director of public relations, said the Strategic Plan Steering Committee is still working on the plan remotely and will address any feedback submitted through the website. Feedback is welcome from any member of the community.

Lacourse said the concerns are being handled exactly how they should be.

“Many faculty have reached out to the resources we have and they are using those and I hope that will continue,” Lacourse said. “As requests come forward, we are responding to them and we will continue to do that.”

Lacourse said he wants to commend faculty and staff, who have worked very quickly and effectively.