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Staying on Course: New Group to Continue SPWG Progress

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tasked with engaging the University community in addressing four strategic priorities that Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., president, announced in his 2014 investiture address, the Strategic Priorities Working Group (SPWG) spent a year gathering data and brainstorming to create “action items.” Now, a new group will gauge the progress of those efforts.

“SPWG’s work is essentially done,” said Gina Florio, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and physics, who cochaired the 15-member SPWG with Michael Simons, J.D., dean, St. John’s School of Law. “We engaged the St. John’s community and developed a set of action items for the University, and now that plan is being acted upon. That’s where the Strategic Priorities Review Team (SPRT) comes into play. The role of SPRT will be to evaluate and measure those actions.”

SPWG was originally charged with enlisting various sectors of the University community in developing approaches to the implementation of the four strategic priorities: ensure student success; recognize and retain the best faculty, staff, and administrators; enhance our teaching and learning environment; and expand global and community partnerships.

The new group was carefully selected based on recommendations by deans and senior administrators along with members of the Academic and Administrative Assembly (AAA) who have expressed interest in joining SPRT. According to Simons, SPRT will be similar to SPWG in the sense that it will be a diverse group drawn from different sectors of the University. The new team will be comprised of more than 40 members, 10 for each strategic priority and three members who will be tasked to coordinate the four strategic priorities review teams.

“One of the key themes that came out of SPWG’s work is the concept of shared ownership, and the structure of shared responsibility and shared accountability,” Simons said. “That means having good metrics and targets and ensuring that we’re all working together to meet them.”

While the primary responsibility for implementing SPWG’s action items rests with the President’s Advisory Council (PAC), SPRT will be responsible for reviewing, monitoring, and assessing the extent to which the University—as a whole and through its individual units—is meeting those targets and recommending revisions to action plans, metrics, and next initiatives.

“The important thing with a plan like this is to make sure it doesn’t just sit on a shelf,” said Simons “SPRT will ensure that it really does lead to action.”

View a list of Strategic Priorities Review Team (SPRT) members »