About the Strategic Planning Process

"Engaging Excellence" is the umbrella under which Upstate has launched its strategic planning process. By building a collaborative effort across many areas, Upstate spent years laying the groundwork for the Strategic Plan.

While the plan was launched in early 2010, the entire process is important. It shows that over the past years thousands of individuals have helped shaped our strategic focus through their ideas and insights.

Former President Smith launched the Engaging Excellence effort in Fall 2006. After some preliminary research, he identified the need for cross-functional teams to create recommendations for a long-term strategic plan. In addition to charging the teams, he challenged the entire university community to "create the best place possible in which to work, learn, and serve." From the start, the process had a clear-cut direction: build on what works and fix what does not.

A wide range of university stakeholders—students, faculty, staff, emeriti, alumni, civic and social service leaders, corporate partners and neighbors—participated in the various phases of Engaging Excellence. Their involvement included team meetings, town hall meetings, retreats, surveys, interviews, web-enabled submission of ideas, site visits and research of best practices.

As a result of the preparation phase of Engaging Excellence, the Teams made 380 recommendations. This grew to a final tally of 450 improvements in operations, programs, and facilities.

Engaging Excellence Process: 2006-present

Pre-work and Research: September-December 2006

Before the Teams first met, the campus engaged in a variety of research and preparation.

  • President's 120 Day Agenda rolled out a series of initiatives
  • Environmental Scan
  • SWOT analysis among Upstate leaders
  • Analysis of existing initiatives undertaken
  • Web site and interactive e-mail developed
  • Team charters developed; co-chairs, team members, facilitators, recorders identified
  • Master Facilities Plan begins
  • UH Strategic Plan (already underway) is supported by Engaging Excellence

Creating Recommendations: January 2007-June 2007

  • Five Teams are launched to create recommendations to place in a 10 year strategic plan (final 5-10 years includes buildings/construction)
  • Teams are:
    • Students
    • Faculty
    • Clinical Enterprise
    • Research Enterprise
    • Employer of Choice
    • (IMT Team is later added)
  • Celebration of Team accomplishments are held mid-way and at the end of the work
  • Final Team output—380 strategies and recommendations are sent to President and Executive Council

"Quick Wins" Implemented: April 2007-January 2008

Quick Wins were good suggestions that emerged from the Teams that did not require much cost or planning.

  • Some were physical improvements, others were changes in procedures
  • 65 Quick Wins were implemented

Analyzing Resources for Recommendations: July 2007-December 2007

The Team Recommendations represent the work that needed to be done on campus before Upstate's Strategic Plan can launch. These included physical changes as well as changes to procedures.

  • Executive Sponsors for each Team (drawn from the Upstate's Leadership Council) create teams to determine operational and financial resources for the Team recommendations
  • Executive Sponsors invited to planning sessions to review recommendations, resources, and priorities
  • Presentation and approvals for recommendations to Leadership Council
  • Approved recommendations are presented to the President and Executive Team for final okay
  • Physical Plant, Environmental Services celebration hosted by the President to recognize employees

Values Initiative: October 2006-ongoing

Values were specifically noted as a campus need early in the process. The entire campus was invited to participate in forming this set of shared values

  • Leadership Retreat participants began discussion on values
  • "Champion" dinner identified values and next steps
  • Eight focus groups were formed to discuss values (patients, students, faculty, administrators, employees, volunteers)
  • President announced the values initiative at open forums
  • "Values Rooms" were hosted for a two-week period to elicit university-wide vote and comment
  • Web-enabled values voting launched
  • Leadership review and final values identified; Planning committees for determination of integration into culture; Communications Plan
  • Define leadership roles and responsibility
  • "Our Shared Values" unveiled at Town Hall Meeting, May 2008
  • Creating a culture of engagement
  • Website developed, integrated into HR site

Implementing Recommendations: February 2008-September 2009

  • Presidential Open Forums to announce outcomes of Team recommendations and implementation
  • Steering Committees and Implementation Teams identified to implement operational recommendations: six steering committees; 29 implementation teams
  • Charters, work plans, templates, training
  • Web redesign; IT web enabled reporting
  • Quarterly celebrations; monthly breakfasts
  • Communications Plan developed
  • Quarterly reports available on the web
  • Strategic-focused planning groups formed:
    • Practice Plan Task Force
    • Strategic Enrollment Committee
    • University Hospital Strategic Plan
    • Research Strategic Plan
    • Sustainability Task Force
    • Regional Task Force
    • Information Technology Plan
  • Steering Committees present final Engaging Excellence Team reports to the president and his leadership team
  • Final presentations available on intranet
  • From 380 recommendations, over 450 operational, program, and facility improvements were made
  • Celebration for all team members hosted by the president on Nov. 30 to celebrate accomplishments

Formulating the Final Strategic Plan: February 2009-January 2010

  • President Smith charges the Strategic Planning Committee
  • President Smith and the Executive Team identify goals and priorities for the university
  • The Strategic Planning Committee divides into subgroups to review/confirm strategies; develops metrics and targets for plan
  • SUNY Chancellor's strategic planning process and emerging themes reviewed to ensure alignment
  • Communications Plan developed
  • Website content migrated from Engaging Excellence Implementation to EE Strategic Planning process
  • On-line participation enabled
  • President launched Strategic Plan on January 26, 2010

Monitoring the Upstate Strategic Plan: January 2010-Present

  • Data is collected by designated content experts for each of the strategies
  • Data is compiled and submitted annually to the Office of the President
  • Designated individuals present the new data, explanations, and any suggested measurement revisions to the President and Leadership Council for discussion and approval
  • Strategies and metrics are revised as appropriate
  • The Annual Report Card is updated with the revised data
  • Narrative explanations of 'Other Achievements' which detail significant milestones not necessarily captured by data alone are added for each goal
  • The Upstate Strategic Plan Annual Report Card is updated and distributed institutionally