Strategic Planning for University Research

Strategic Planning for University Research

Strategic Planning for University Research

Strategic Planning for University Research

Excerpt

Strategic planning for university research is a process of establishing the future purposes of a unit considering common understandings for developing its research with its chief partners and major constituencies. A strategic plan for university research is an outline of the intended future of an institution. Strategic planning is about the work of moving the whole institution, its partners, and its constituencies in a certain direction for particular purposes. It operates on the assumption that people with similar motivations can agree on what their mutual purpose should be and can form beneficial partnerships that will advance a shared interest. Strategic planning promotes an ordered development as opposed to the incremental growth from uncoordinated, individual initiatives. It requires considered and innovative thought about the future, which will impose a discipline and direction on the research efforts of all who come under its purview.

Research administrators are the architects of the nation’s future. Strategic plans are their blue prints. They design the organizational structures and select the leaders to guide the research planning, coordinate the activities of numerous principals within an expanding research enterprise, and set the research development agenda for institutions and agencies. It is research administrators who initiate and nurture the strategic planning processes and who project their visions and use their persuasive powers to lead research activities in certain directions. Teaching programs later follow the research. Since university research and education form the foundation for our technological civilization, it is imperative that the research community study strategic planning with the intent of improving it as it is becoming the preferred tool for the advancement of research and higher education.

Stategic planning is the newest, most powerful, and most effective technology for institutional development. It is a radical departure from traditional university modes of university growth. Currently, about one-fourth of the American research universities acknowledge using formal strategic planning. Approximately, one-twelfth are beginning such planning. Others are seriously considering its adoption.

Strategic planning for university research has become the base for state, federal, and institutional resource allocation, policy-making and policyanalysis. Currently, there is within the research enterprise a strong demand for greater standardization of information and improved joint planning. During the many decades that research universities have been partners with the federal and state governments, various methods of planning and several national information exchanges have evolved. Many established data bases and planning formats are obsolete or incompatible with new sys-

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