October 20, 2015

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I am pleased to report that the University-wide strategic plan is progressing and ask that you “hold the date” for town hall meetings next month on each campus -- an opportunity for you to participate in the strategic planning process.

Each session will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. and will be held Nov. 9 on the Springfield campus, Brookens Auditorium; Nov. 18 on the Urbana-Champaign campus, Beckman Auditorium; and Nov. 30 on the Chicago campus, Student Center East.

I will be at each session along with the campus chancellor, and we look forward to robust and thoughtful discussions about the future of our three University campuses. As I said at the outset of this initiative, our vision will be far-reaching and its foundation will be wholly student-centered.

The town hall meetings will be augmented by smaller group discussions intended to gain insights and perspective from University constituencies with common interests, such as units devoted to student affairs or the same academic disciplines. And there will be some open-door sessions at which people can drop by and say what’s on their mind in an audience-free zone.

The goal continues to be a concise and highly impactful plan for the University’s future to be recommended for Board of Trustees approval next spring. Guiding our work is a 22-member steering committee of students, faculty and staff from across the U of I system. A strategic planning website has been established. On the website is a list of steering committee members, a process timeline, summaries of planning retreats held this past summer, and background materials that make for some stimulating reading.

And there is my favorite feature of the website: “Your Input-Your Story.” It is a clever exercise to tell an insightful story in six words. You are invited to share with the steering committee your six-word story about the vibrant future you’d like to see for the University of Illinois.

I encourage you to be involved in the strategic planning initiative, and I look forward to seeing you next month.