University community encouraged to participate in Strategic Plan forums

Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources the focus of first forum

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As the University implements its long-range strategic plan that provides a vision for Penn State’s future, a series of public forums will take place to gather ideas on putting the plan into action. Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in those forums, starting with “Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources” on Jan. 23.

Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost, said that as with development of the Strategic Plan, a crucial part of implementing the priorities and goals is for faculty, staff and students to share their ideas, ask questions and offer suggestions for areas of potential investment.

“We need and want all of the input we can gain from our community,” Jones said. “The Strategic Plan is a living document, which means it evolves to help guide the University and provide a vision. Participation is crucial to our success.”

The forums will take place throughout the spring semester with each one focused on one of the five strategic priorities for the upcoming five years. While different campuses are hosting each of the forums, faculty, staff and students across the University are encouraged to attend either in person or via livestream at Community members also can participate by sending questions or comments to [email protected] or by tweeting, using the hashtag #PSUplan.

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Office of Planning and Assessment are co-hosting the forums, which are focused on the plan's thematic priorities:

  • Stewarding our Planet’s Resources, 1-2:30 p.m. Jan. 23, Ostermayer Room, Student Community Center, Penn State Greater Allegheny;
  • Enhancing Health, 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 9, Morrison Gallery, Library, Penn State Harrisburg;
  • Advancing the Arts and Humanities, 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 23, Tomezsko Building Room 103, Penn State Brandywine;
  • Transforming Education; 1-2:30 p.m. March 22, Perkins Student Center Room 100 (Multi-Purpose Room), Penn State Berks;
  • Driving Digital Innovation; 1-2:30 p.m. March 30; Burke Center Room 180, Penn State Behrend.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees adopted the 2016-2020 plan following an extensive process led by a 32-member planning council. It sets forth the University’s mission, discusses how to build on its strengths and suggests new areas for growth.

“The committees charged with coming up with the best ways to implement the Strategic Plan have been working diligently to develop action plans, and we’re already beginning to see the results,” Jones said. “The forums over the upcoming months will help us continue to focus on ways we can be leaders in the fields that have been identified as priorities and where our faculty, students and staff continue to shine.”

Madlyn Hanes, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses, said the forums will provide an excellent opportunity for the Penn State community from across the Commonwealth to participate in shaping the future direction of the University.

“Major stakeholders — our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members — are invited to provide critical feedback and identify key strategies for advancing a shared University vision and plan of action for each priority,” Hanes said. “The University will clearly benefit from the collective insights of colleagues and friends. And these regional forums provide a timely and valuable venue for the exchange of ideas. I encourage everyone’s participation.”

Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources

The first forum will focus on Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources. The Strategic Plan states that: “Penn State will be a leader in creating comprehensive solutions to mitigate the dangers of climate change and address the challenges of providing safe and abundant water, clean and renewable energy sources, and plentiful and nutritious food.”

Initial ideas for consideration include:

  • Pennsylvania 2050: How can the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania address its food, energy and water needs in a sustainable way by the year 2050?
  • Research Re-Imagined: How do we discover comprehensive solutions through research in targeted areas related to food, energy, water and the changing climate?
  • Penn State Outreach and Impact: How can we build the human capacity necessary to address challenges related to food, energy and water? 

The forum will provide an overview of the subcommittee’s process, a description of the ideas under consideration and time for discussion. Lara Fowler, senior lecturer with Penn State Law and assistant director for Outreach and Engagement with Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE), is co-chair of the subcommittee focused on this forum’s topic.

“Food, energy and water are important issues at Penn State, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and around the world. We’d love to hear thoughts and feedback on potential strategies for the University to address these issues,” Fowler said.

Penn State Greater Allegheny Chancellor Andrew Egan will welcome the participants and community to the forum; and Lance Kennedy-Phillips, vice provost for Planning and Assessment, will provide an introduction. Panelists will include Fayette Chancellor Charles Patrick; Tom Richard, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and director of IEE; Jeffrey Brownson, associate professor of energy and mineral engineering and co-director of WiE-PSU Centre for Collaborative Engagement in West Africa; and Fowler.

To offer ideas on Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources, the subject of the first forum, contact one of the subcommittee chairs: Lara Fowler at [email protected]; or Jeffrey Brownson at [email protected].