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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Frequently Asked Questions

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  Academic Master Planning: Frequently Asked Questions

Why develop an academic master plan now?
As the environment in which our institution operates continues to change at an increasing rate, as well as in new and innovative ways, an academic master plan serves as an important guide in assuring our academic programs and services continue to advance our academic vision, mission and values. An academic master plan provides a framework for linking vision, priorities, people, services, resources and space within the academic core of the institution and informs other planning efforts on campus, such as facilities, enrollment management, technology, etc. Without effective integrated planning, our work can become fragmented, disjointed, counterproductive, and wasteful of valuable limited resources.
How will planning task forces be developed?
Planning task forces for teaching excellence & innovation, academic advising, student engagement & success, and research, scholarly, & creative activity will be comprised of faculty, administrative and service faculty, staff, students, and deans using the same methods that are used to establish other task forces on campus.
How will academic degree program strategic planning occur?
Academic degree program strategic planning will occur within the academic colleges and departments. Departments will be asked to consider the academic programs it currently offers and develop program plans looking forward toward the next three academic years. This effort should clarify program plans and/or desires that are likely already known within the department, but not formally articulated in any consistent manner to the broader campus community. To support this work, data and information, a common template, information sessions, and workshops will be provided. 
Why are we developing a three-year versus five-year academic master plan?
The context in which we work (e.g. student needs, employer needs, partnerships, diversity, and globalization) is changing at a rapid pace, making the development of a plausible valid five-year academic plan unrealistic. This is especially the case, if we desire for our academic programs and services to be responsive and relevant. At the same time, it is fully recognized that as we articulate plans looking three years out, we certainly have visions of the future…five years…10 years and further.
Is the timeline for developing our academic master plan reasonable?
The amount of time an institution might spend in the planning process can vary greatly. However, the most common length of time is one year. Keep in mind the plan is only that, a plan. What is most important is what happens after the initial planning process takes place, pursuing, revising and achieving our goals.
Will I have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft academic master plan?
Yes, the campus community will have two opportunities to review and comment on the draft academic master plan during the Spring 2015 semester.
What is the role of sub-meets, such as Planning, University Extended Education, and Assessment & Evaluation in academic master planning?
The Planning, University Extended Education, and Assessment and Evaluation Sub-Meets are an important part of our shared governance process. The Sub-Meets have a collaborative role in helping to guide and shape our academic planning process. In addition, representatives from the Planning, University Extended Education, and Assessment and Evaluation sub-meets will serve on the Academic Master Plan Drafting Team helping to synthesize, shape, and revise our final academic planning document.
How and when will faculty, administrative and service faculty, staff and students be involved?
Faculty will have opportunities to engage in multiple aspects of the planning process. From academic program planning that will occur within academic departments, serving on planning task forces, participating in visioning sessions, to providing feedback and comments on the academic planning document draft.
How does this planning process connect with other processes on campus?
Academic master planning is a core component of integrated planning. Once established, the academic master plan will inform other planning processes on campus, such as enrollment management, information technology, facilities, etc.
Why are the academic task forces organized by topical areas (e.g., student engagement and success) versus organizational units (e.g., colleges, departments, or divisions)?
The areas of focus identified for the academic planning task forces cut across multiple, if not all units within the Division of Academic Affairs. Our planning work is therefore organized in recognition of the coordination and collaboration that will be required for success.
How does this planning work connect with the recent Minnesota State System publication, Charting the Future for a Prosperous Minnesota?
Our planning work is placed within the context of the core commitments articulated within Charting the Future for a Prosperous Minnesota: 
  • Ensure access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans
  • Be the partner of choice to meet Minnesota’s workforce and community needs
  • Deliver to students, employers, communities and taxpayers the highest value/most affordable higher education option
The planning horizon for the Academic Master Plan is three years. What if we want or feel it necessary for our program plan to go beyond three years?
The academic master planning process will utilize a three-year horizon to guide our work. However, as a part of the process and templates utilized, there will be opportunities for a program or task force to identify longer-term aspirations.