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CLA 2015

December 2009 Archives

CLA 2015 Planning Committee Charge

8 December 2009



Chris Uggen, Chair, Sociology - 2015 Planning Cte. co-chair

Gary Oehlert, Associate Dean for Planning - 2015 Planning Cte. co-chair

Brenda Child, Chair, Department of American Indian Studies

Jennifer Cieslak, CLA Chief of Staff

Karen Dewanz, CLA Chief Financial Officer

Scott Elton, Asst. to the Associate Dean for Planning - 2015 Planning Cte. staff

Ana Paula Ferreira, Chair, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies

John Freeman, Professor, Department of Political Science

Ronald Greene, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies

Laura Gurak, Chair, Department of Writing Studies

Keitha Hamann, Associate Professor, School of Music, and Chair, Budget Advisory Cte.

Haven Hawley, Program Director, Immigration History Research Center

Karen Ho, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Thomas Holmes, Professor, Department of Economics

Walt Jacobs, Chair, Department of African American & African Studies and Chair, CLA Council of Chairs

Kimi Johnson, PhD student, Department of Theatre Arts and Dance and COGS Senator

Alexis Kuhr, Associate Professor, Department of Art

Erika Lee, Associate Professor, Department of History and Director, Asian American Studies Program

Richard Leppert, Regents Professor, Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

Barbara London, Associate Administrator, Institute of Linguistics/ESL/Slavic

Angus MacDonald, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and Vice Chair,  CLA Assembly

Judith Martin, Professor, Department of Geography and Director, Urban Studies Program

David Myers, Director, School of Music

Peggy Nelson, Chair, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences

Steven Ostrow, Chair, Department of Art History

Glen Powell, Associate Administrator, Department of Geography

Aria Sameni, Undergraduate student and Vice President, CLA Student Board

Geoffrey Sirc, Interim Chair, Department of English

Al Tims, Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Klaas van der Sanden, Coordinator, Institute for Global Studies  


James A. Parente, Jr., Dean



CLA 2015 Planning Committee Charge




CLA is initiating a strategic planning process, CLA 2015, with the purpose of strengthening and repositioning the college for lasting success within the new higher education landscape for public research universities.

The current economic situation of the nation and the state of Minnesota has exacerbated an already challenging situation for higher education. Before the onset of the economic downturn last fall, public research universities were already approaching a critical moment in their histories precipitated by the steady decline in state funding, and the onset of a projected decline in the college student population for the next several years.  The simultaneous rise in tuition in the wake of reduced public support threatens to place a college education further out of reach of many talented students, and the competition for these students will become increasingly keen. For the next several years, state support is likely to decline, along with the number of qualified students, and public research universities will be under greater pressure than ever before to compete nationally for outstanding faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, and ensure financial support and access for academically qualified students.  We must therefore ensure that our college builds innovative and distinctive programs, on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, that will make our college a destination of choice for the most talented students from across Minnesota, the nation, and the world. 

To prepare CLA for this new world of public higher education, I am charging a planning committee, CLA 2015, to provide counsel about the future directions that our college should pursue to sustain excellence in the years ahead. Though the University and the college will likely face financial reductions in the next biennium as federal stimulus dollars disappear, we must look beyond the next two to three years to decide what we want the college to look like after we meet those immediate financial challenges. Although the landscape of higher education has changed--and will continue to change--we remain committed to the distinction of our faculty; the creation of new knowledge and modes of innovative performance; exemplary training for graduate and undergraduate students preparing for postgraduate careers of leadership, creativity, and service; an abiding commitment to diversity broadly defined across national, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, religious, disability, and socio-economic boundaries, and the sharing of our expertise with external communities in service to our state and nation.

Our challenge is to advance our highest ambitions for the research, educational, and public service missions of our college with fewer resources than are available today. The CLA 2015 committee is charged with developing a series of recommendations for building the academic distinction of the college, as well as improving, narrowing, and refining the college's academic mission The committee should consider possible opportunities for increasing our strength across the humanities, social sciences, and the arts; for innovative ways of delivering graduate and undergraduate instruction; for increased interaction between faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates; for building faculty, student, and staff diversity; and for creative ways of engaging in outreach activities with other educational institutions in the state, including the U of M system, and the urban and regional community. The committee should also recommend ways in which the college could generate new revenue beyond private fundraising that would enable us to create distinctive curricula over the calendar year and raise new funds to support our academic enterprise. Although fiscal constraints make the planning process more pressing, it is vital that the changes that we ultimately make will strengthen the core mission of our college in education, research, and public service.  

There are two stages to the CLA 2015 planning process. The first stage requires that the 2015 committee provide counsel about collegiate budget and planning (the "compact process") for FY11. President Bruininks and Provost Sullivan have asked all colleges at the University to plan for a 2% reduction for FY11. We will have the opportunity, however, through the compact process to request that 0.75% of those funds be returned to the college for our highest priorities in 2010-11. I ask, therefore, that the 2015 planning committee provide recommendations about the 2% reduction and the 0.75% request. The second stage of the planning process will be devoted to the establishment of a set of recommendations for the college to pursue over the next five years as it repositions itself for the new environment of public higher education.  

Provost Sullivan has provided a set of guidelines and questions for colleges to consider as they engage in their planning process. The guidelines themselves closely parallel the recommendations emerging from the report Financing the Future of the University that was presented to the Board of Regents by President Bruininks on 9 October 2009In responding to these questions, the Provost advises that our answers "must promote the quality and excellence of our programs; promote synergies among teaching, learning, and scholarship; leverage resources from numerous sources; and advance the strengths, reputation and comparative advantage of the college." The questions are:

a.       What programs and areas must be strengthened or expanded?

b.      What programs should be maintained at current levels of support or reduced levels of support?

c.       What programs and areas should continue, but be substantially reduced or consolidated?

d.      What programs should be discontinued or eliminated?

e.       How can academic programs and areas better leverage existing human capital resources, including rationalizing teaching loads; sharing new, more energetic curriculum; consolidation; better use of classrooms and laboratories; and the development of new academic programs?



The CLA 2015 Planning Committee's charge may be summarized as follows:


1.      Provide counsel and recommendations about the ways in which CLA should meet its 2% reduction in O&M resources for FY11

2.      Provide recommendations for strategic investment to inform the college's FY11 compact request

3.      Provide recommendations for repositioning CLA to achieve higher levels of academic excellence in research, teaching, and service by 2015 and recommend strategies to realize this plan during a period of constrained or shrinking resources and a concomitant narrowing of focus in FY12/ FY13 and beyond.

4.      Develop metrics for assessing progress towards collegiate goals and the effectiveness of the chosen strategies.


The Planning Committee will work together with current collegiate governance bodies (CLA Assembly; Council of Chairs; CI&A; BAC, P&A Board) and any cross-collegiate committees or groups (e.g., DUS's; DGS's; internationalization; undergraduate education; Administrators' Forum), currently standing or that may be formed, to provide broad discussion and significant engagement in the planning process across the college. Members of the CLA 2015 Planning Committee are not expected to serve as representatives of the interests of particular departments or specific groups but encouraged to bring their diverse perspectives to the committee to advance CLA as a whole.


Timeline and process:


The college will submit its FY11 compact document in mid-February 2010. In order to complete the first stage of the planning process, the CLA 2015 Planning Committee will engage in focused work between now and the end of January. We aim to convene the Planning Committee once before the semester concludes and use this initial meeting to provide the necessary fiscal background and set the stage for the intensive discussions on academic and fiscal issues that will follow.


Additional meetings regarding this first stage will be scheduled in January both before and after the start of the semester to complete the first stage of the committee's work. I ask that the Planning Committee submit its recommendations to me for the FY11 compact by 1 February 2010.


The second stage of the planning process will continue into the spring and fall semester 2010. It is anticipated that the committee will be able to use this time to continue its work on the steps that should be taken to improve, narrow, and refine the college's academic mission and develop new strategies for generating revenue. The CLA 2015 Planning Committee will work collaboratively with the consultative bodies of the college and solicit ideas from CLA faculty, staff, and students as it shapes its recommendations.


Important deadlines:


1 February 2010:

Recommendations due for FY11 compact request (charges 1-2)


1 April 2010:

Status report on the progress to date on 2015 planning (charges 3 and 4)


15 October 2010:      

Final recommendations due from the CLA 2015 Planning Committee


It is anticipated that a collegiate planning document, the CLA 2015 plan, will be finalized in the late fall 2010, and that this plan will inform collegiate priorities and initiatives for FY12 and beyond. I am grateful for your willingness to serve on this important committee and for your commitment to the college in addressing these critical short-term and long-term questions. I look forward to working with you to chart a course for the college that advances our academic excellence, and that strengthens our profile as a national and international destination for graduate and undergraduate students within the new reality of constrained state funding and increased reliance on new sources of revenue.