Dear Emory Community:
In 2005, when we at Emory announced our strategic plan - our road map, as it were, toward our vision for Emory - we committed ourselves to reviewing our progress down the road. We held this out as a requirement, not just for measuring how close we might have come to reaching our goals, but also for making any course corrections that might have become necessary in the intervening years.
During this past year, after three years on the road, the Strategic Implementation Advisory Committee, chaired by Provost Earl Lewis and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Fred Sanfilippo, led the deans, strategic plan initiative leaders, cabinet members, and others in taking stock. The process was both deliberative and, certainly, deliberate - in the sense that it was methodical, comprehensive and painstaking. Our updated strategic plan sums up the conclusions of that process and provides a summary of the progress we have made toward our vision as an intellectual community.
By way of introduction to our updated strategic plan, I would note several important points. The first is that our vision statement appears to be still the right one for Emory at this time. It does all three things that a good vision statement should do: it names our aspirations as a university; it confesses that we have not yet achieved our vision for ourselves; and it holds us accountable as a community for making progress toward our vision.
In the past three years we have made genuine progress in our major themes, thanks to the hard work of the faculty and staff members who daily think about, plan, carry out, and build on the various initiatives being worked out under each theme.
At the same time, our review process has clarified for us a number of distinctions and refinements to our original plan, so that we can now describe better the end we originally had in view. Our vision has become sharper. The section on the newly renamed framing principles of the strategic plan will give you a better sense of just how our vision has become clearer.
Likewise, while we continue to be well served by the road map we set off with - a map that offered a variety of paths toward the same vision - it has become evident that not all of those paths will now get us where we want to be as efficiently as we need to get there. Indeed, some of those paths now look like dead-ends. Others are running so closely parallel to neighboring paths that we will do just as well to merge them. What you will find in our revised strategic plan is an accounting of where we have reached general agreement about how best to move forward in view of those unanticipated roadblocks or opportunities to build bridges. In any case, the exploration has been worth the effort.
The timing of our review was fortunate: we had begun the process well before the extent and duration of the economic downturn had become known, and we were already well along in our consolidation of some initiatives and programs as we began also to wrestle with the wider impact of the economy on our university. We were fortunate also that we had long been planning to launch publicly our Campaign Emory to raise the funds needed to invest in our strategic priorities.
Since announcing the campaign publicly last September, we have continued to attract resources specifically devoted to certain of our initiatives, from Emory Advantage to religions and the human spirit, and from predictive health to faculty development. With a heavy emphasis on providing more resources for students, faculty and staff to succeed personally at Emory, Campaign Emory is essential to determining whether Emory will succeed institutionally.
I remain ever grateful for those who have given so much to helping move the University forward over the past five years. And I remain confident that we have mapped a fitting and challenging direction for Emory to continue moving forward over the next five years.
28 September 2009