A new advisory council will soon convene to carefully plan the future of Penn State.
The Blue and White Vision Council will work to develop a strategic plan for the university for the next five to 10 years.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Karen Peetz first introduced the idea for “The Blue & White Advisory Council” at the Aug. 25 special meeting of the board.
Peetz said the mission of the group would be “to broaden and expand our own thinking and perspectives.”
During the regularly scheduled board meeting on Sept. 14, Peetz announced the establishment of the group was underway and that current Penn State senior fellow Stan Ikenberry would advise the group.
Ikenberry is a former University of Illinois President who recently came back to Penn State. He also served as a professor and senior vice president at Penn State before his time at Illinois.
The new advisory council will include about 20 members, with about eight trustees and about 12 university academic leaders and students, Ikenberry said. Peetz and President Rodney Erickson will jointly appoint the members.
Ikenberry said most of the members have already been notified of their appointment and the list of appointees should be released “within the next few days.” The council members will not be paid for their service.
“It’s primary aim is to take a strategic look at the future, where Penn State is today, and where it wants and needs to go in the next few years,” he said.
The council will focus on four major areas of the university.
The first area is the university’s “academic character,” Ikenberry said. This area will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of academic programs and their futures.
Ikenberry said another important focus for the council will be the “technology revolution” and where Penn State needs to be in terms of technology.
Other areas of focus include the economic environment of the university as well as looking into the structure of Penn State’s commonwealth and special mission campuses for the future.
One of their primary goals will also be to advise the search for a new university president, which is scheduled to begin early next year.
Ikenberry said the council hopes to conclude its work by the end of the academic year, with their full strategic plan in place and submitted to Erickson and the board. The first meeting of the Blue and White Vision Council is currently set to meet on Oct. 26.
“It won’t be so much a final report filled with numbers, as it will be speaking to the broad strategic challenges facing the university,” he said.
Over the coming months, the council plans to work with the student government, the faculty senate and may also hire an outside consultant, Ikenberry said.
“We want to reach out to students and to faculty over the next six months to get their input,” he said.
University Spokesman David La Torre wrote in an email that the board is active in acquiring viewpoints of all kinds of constituencies when developing strategic plans for the future.
“You certainly want to make sure that you bring in stakeholders to ensure all constituent views are represented,” he wrote.
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