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Listening sessions for strategic planning

Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprof I'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

As some of you may know, NC State University is undergoing one of the largest restructuring endeavors in the history of the university. Several academic departments currently in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) are moving to the new College of Sciences (COS). Other departments in COS will include those already in the college of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS).

Left in CALS will be our department, Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, and Plant Biology – the two remaining departments from the “Life Sciences” side of CALS – and several faculty from other departments who will not be moving to COS along with their department.

As part of the restructuring at NCSU, CALS is undertaking a strategic planning process and will produce an action plan by June of this year. The plan will then be implemented starting next academic year, July 2013.

In order to gather input for the strategic planning process, Dean Rich Linton and his team will hold several “listening sessions” around the state of North Carolina in order to get input from college stakeholders. The first sessions begin next week, on Monday January 7, 2013.

We need your help.

While traditional agriculture departments have clear “stakeholders” in their state commodity groups, the stakeholders for Life Science departments are less clear. How do we in Life Sciences define our stakeholders when our primary research projects focus on fundamental (basic) mechanisms of plant and/or animal growth and development? Unlike the traditional agricultural departments, Life Science departments do not utilize lobby groups or contain boards organized around specific applied research outcomes.

So, who are our stakeholders? Undergraduate and graduate students? Alumni? Current and former faculty? Staff? Research scientists in North Carolina and throughout the world? CEOs and other officers of biomedical, biotechnology, or agribusiness companies? Funding agencies?

Yes. All of the above. But, funding agencies are unlikely to provide input into the strategic planning process, so we need your input. If you are a student, former student, post-doctoral associate, research scientist, science teacher, CEO, CSO, member of the staff, or simply someone who has an interest in the future of the college, then please visit the strategic planning website at the link below, and give us your opinion.

 A New Chapter: CALS Strategic Plan 2013

The website provides a timeline for events in strategic planning and a link to the survey (**Take Our Stakeholder Survey**). The few minutes you spend will be invaluable to shaping the vision of Life Sciences in CALS. In particular, your input will help to shape the future of the Biochemistry Department in the newly restructured college. Using the information you and others provide, several working groups will construct the blueprints for restructuring CALS.

If you live in North Carolina and can attend any of the listening sessions, then we would welcome your comments in person. A list of dates and registration information can be found on the same site.

An invitation from the Dean, with specific insight requested, is reproduced below.

December 20, 2012
CALS Faculty, Staff, Students, and other Stakeholders: As you probably have heard by now, on December 11, 2012 the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) embarked on a new college strategic planning process. The steering committee and Department Heads have been involved in early planning sessions with our strategic planning consulting firm, Tecker International, LLC. This is an exciting time in the CALS as this process will provide many opportunities for engagement and involvement by faculty, students, staff, stakeholders, alumni, donors and other supporters in charting the future direction we take as we tackle the significant societal challenges facing our state, nation and world.

Later today, an announcement and invitation to participate in this process will be sent via multiple email lists. We encourage you to carefully review the information you will receive and find ways to interact with this process via listening sessions, working groups and other opportunities that will be provided in the coming weeks. You will see that we will be conducting listening sessions on campus and across the state to solicit input and ideas. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to be involved in the process. After the listening sessions are conducted, working groups will be established to focus on specific issues and challenges related to the future of the College.

This is a critically important process for the College as we have the opportunity to develop a strategic plan and also an on-going process for strategic visioning that will allow us to have greater impact in our state, nation and world.

Thanks for all that you are doing to make the College and University extraordinary. We look forward to working with you as the process unfolds in the coming months.
Richard Linton
Dean of CALS