From the start, Indiana Tech was committed to ensuring that its strategic planning process was a true team effort.
That commitment began in August 2017, when Indiana Tech President Karl Einolf, Ph.D., asked Jeri Burkhart, senior enrollment manager, and Dr. Steve Dusseau, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, to serve as co-chairs of the strategic planning initiative. Upon their acceptance, Jeri and Steve worked with Matt Thibeau of MJT Consulting to develop a survey and distribute it to all Indiana Tech employees, students and alumni asking for committee member applications and nominations. To ensure that the process be driven by the university community itself, Cabinet members and President Einolf were not eligible for nomination. Ultimately, 65 names were submitted for consideration.
In the fall of 2017, Jeri and Steve asked Dr. Susan McGrade, president of the faculty senate, and Tim Allwein, associate vice president and director of the Office of Quality and Accreditation, to join them to develop the Strategic Plan Leadership, Communication, Facilities and Infrastructure, Research and Data Gathering teams. A student representative, Cameron Owens, was added to complete the seven-person Strategic Plan Leadership Team and six members were chosen for each of three other teams. Now, with the 25-member Strategic Plan Task Force (SPTF) in place, an orientation meeting was conducted to help everyone understand their role. Shortly thereafter, the Facilities and Infrastructure Team met with the Campus Master Plan Committee to ensure these two important efforts would run in parallel.
Later that fall, a work-in-progress list of peer and aspirant schools was developed so Indiana Tech could set benchmarks and identify its comparative strengths and weaknesses. The Campus Master Plan Committee and the SPTF also engaged in the first of two meetings to understand the possibilities for the future of Indiana Tech’s facilities. Also, several informational meetings were conducted with stakeholders in Fort Wayne and some CPS locations to gather ideas from the campus community about the university’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
Late in 2017, students, faculty and staff were surveyed to inform the SPTF’s initial strategic focus areas. The SPTF and Cabinet reviewed all SWOT and survey data to develop strategic focus areas for the plan, which evolved into an initial draft of strategic goals and objectives. In addition, the results of the university brand study, which was conducted by Washington, D.C.-based marketing research, brand strategy and creative services firm SimpsonScarborough, were presented to faculty and staff through in-service and town hall meetings so they could be understood in context with the strategic plan. Then, on Feb. 22, Dr. Einolf presented draft strategic goals to the Indiana Tech Board of Trustees for discussion and review.
The success of the plan, from concept to reality, is a reflection of the commitment of the entire campus community. The goal in making the process collaborative was to access the very best ideas of Indiana Tech’s stakeholders, regardless of their position, association with the university or location. In achieving that goal, Indiana Tech not only made the process effective but, more importantly, it positioned itself well toward Building a Century of Excellence.