Academic Agenda Addresses
The Academic Agenda: A New Planning Process
by Michael Atkinson
Provost and Vice-President Academic
March 5, 2002
This year, I am going to talk about the planning process at the University as the President indicated, and I hope to leave enough time for some conversation.
It has been my experience that most universities don't really embrace the whole planning enterprise with a lot of enthusiasm. Most institutions of higher learning, except maybe the University of Saskatchewan where we are planning it seems most of the time, are populated by planning skeptics.
There are lots of good reasons for that. We live in a market economy. Planning doesn't have a very strong reputation where price signals determine most of our decisions. Strategy of mutual adjustments to one another has been more successful than any attempt to blueprint or script very complex behaviors. And we don't have to think about the Soviet Union for examples of this, when we, ourselves, try to plan the labor market to try to get the right number of nurses graduated, the right number of teachers, or rocket scientists. It turns out to be a very difficult job, and we often get it wrong. Economists expect individuals to make rational choices. But they are not very optimistic about institutions like universities.
[Photo of campus in the early years slide] Then there's also the question of how you plan when the environment shifts so radically. No one really expected the student revolts of the 1960s, and the collapse in economic productivity in the 1970s wasn't expected either. In the 1980s, we actually thought we knew something was coming. We thought that there would be a major drop off in enrolments with the end of the college-aged boomers, but that didn't happen. And then in the 90s, I didn't hear anyone predicting that the federal government would come roaring back into post-secondary education and its funding by putting aside large amounts of monies to fund research infrastructure in Canadian universities. So there are lots of wild cards.
And then if that wasn't enough, there is a strong academic critique of the whole planning business. At least two generations of social scientists have told us that individuals have very limited cognition. The cost of information is very high, there are internal contradictions embedded in any kind of enterprise, and there are significant dangers in social engineering. They've told us that planning is, at best, imprudent, at worst tyrannical, and always bureaucratic. We have been told instead to think about trying to create a "learning organization" so that when our expectations and hopes and our plans are inevitably frustrated, at least we can move quickly toward the next, rather temporary, equilibrium.
And yet, in spite of all of this skepticism and all of the obstacles that are thrown up in the way of planning, we can't quite extinguish the urge to plan. [Farcus sharks slide] Even when we are told that planning has risen and fallen and is unlikely to rise again, we still are drawn to the enterprise. There are still planning organizations, planning associations, and planning units. University presidents and provosts are forever dreaming up exercises to produce more planning documents so they can show them to boards of governors who are typically made up of planning skeptics.
I think the reason that we continue to plan lies in our desire and need to connect somehow with one another. [Memorial Gates slide] I've heard faculty members say that they are going to listen to the President's strategic plan to see how well it fits with their strategic plan. And while that may strike you as a kind of amusing, if not a terribly farfetched, perspective, it is actually, when you think about it, encouraging that people at least want to consider an alignment of their values with the values of the institution.
I think we also plan to affirm a belief in quality. Our suspicion, I think, is that if we don't plan, then we will drift; and if we do drift, we are likely to drift downwards. Planning gives us a chance to affirm our commitment to ideals of scholarship, education, and service. And because these ideals shift a bit in terms of how they are presented, we plan to try to catch up, to try to stay on top, and we plan for the experience of doing these things together.
My sense is that at the University of Saskatchewan, we are doing these things, but we are not doing them wonderfully well. The experience of planning is, to be sure, often uplifting on those occasions when we sit down and talk to one another about issues that genuinely matter in terms of the long-term future of the University. But we don't do this very often. We certainly don't do it often enough. And when we do it, sometimes people are still persuaded that there are hidden agendas lying about, and it is those that they respond to.
Our planning is generally characterized by what David Braybrooke and Charles Lindblom many decades ago now called "disjointed incrementalism." They said we tend to concentrate on incremental adjustments to the status quo. Options that would move us very far away from the familiar we don't take a look at. And that means we don't look at too many options at all. And our planning is disjointed. It takes place at a number of points in a number of areas by a number of people, none of who are particularly interested, as a matter of priority, of connecting up with one another. [Farcus "out of order" slide]
Now, disjointed incrementalism has its strengths. In fact, Braybrooke and Lindblom wrote their book to defend it. And perhaps the most important strength of a kind of disjointed incremental approach is that it allows us to shift our goals fairly quickly, depending upon shifts in the environment, shifts in our means, shifts in demands. So we can change direction as an institution. We can do it fairly quickly, and we can try to avoid trying to achieve what is really unachievable.
But if we rely exclusively or too heavily on disjointed incrementalism to get us where we want to go, we soon confront its weaknesses. First, disjointed incrementalism is, by its nature, rather short-term oriented. And at this University, while we do talk about the long-term a lot, our actual planning horizons are fairly modest, in fact, very modest. We talk about the kind of university that we want to have in the distant future; but even in our planning committees, we lavish attention on the latest crisis.
Second, the ability to shift goals that disjointed incrementalism has, depending on who we are talking to, doesn't actually inspire confidence that we have any enduring goals. We aspire to align our actions with our goals, but our goals are often general, sometimes maddeningly vague. And we typically have a lot of goals. We are inclined to be inclusive, not necessarily because we love one another, but we want to cover our bets. And we want to make sure we have some allies.
Third, and somewhat paradoxically, no matter how quickly we can move our goals around, our actual pace of internal change is extraordinarily slow, and many of the changes that we do make end up being reversed. One of the reasons, I think, is that tenured faculty tend to show an almost devotional attachment to the department as an organizational entity. And the departments are often unaware of or indifferent to - and I say this as a former department head - broader institutional imperatives. So they're slow to innovate. When they plan, they typically think in terms of positions, perfectly reasonable. But because permanent positions come available very infrequently, departments and colleges don't plan all that often.
And lastly, we are disjointed, so we don't try to integrate our planning efforts very much at the University of Saskatchewan. This slide will be familiar to many of you. [Planning Initiatives slide] These are some, not all, but some of the planning exercises we are presently undertaking. This wouldn't be bad if it weren't for the fact that commitments that are being made in some of these areas have big implications for commitments that are being made in others. And often times, when it comes time to connect them up, it's too late to do so with any sense of efficiency.
The University has been described as an "organized anarchy." It is certainly not a conventional command-and-control environment. In many organizations, in the private sector in particular but also in the public sector, planning really consists of an environmental scan followed by directives from management. I don't have to tell you that planning in universities doesn't work this way. We do not control our environment, you do not control your colleagues, and I do not control the deans. So planning isn't really about control. At most, and at its best, it is about alignment - it's about getting agreement on some level, and I hope it is not just at the most amorphous level, but at some level getting agreement, connecting up our hopes with one another's hopes, and affirming our values.
Now, that's my view about planning, and it may sound a bit romantic, but if you've heard any of my previous talks, you'll know that I am a little bit romantic. When we talked about planning with people on this campus and elsewhere, they weren't very romantic about it. They didn't talk much about "alignment", and they talked even less about sharing hopes and values. But they did talk about disjointed incrementalism. They didn't use that term, but they did talk about it, and they talked about it mostly by focusing on the downside.
As the President indicated, we've been talking to people over the last six months about planning processes here and at other institutions. [Consultation process slide] We've had a series of interviews and shared some of the results of those interviews with you at other sessions. We've also taken a look at planning processes at other universities. [Other places slide] Some of you were here when folks from the University of Alberta came and talked about what they are doing. We visited them, and we went down east and talked to McGill, McMaster, and the University of Toronto. We've consulted with people in other institutions and had a pretty good look at their websites to see where they are. So we've engaged in a fairly extensive consultation process, and we have also taken a look at the literature on planning and universities. [Literature slide] And that literature - you can wander into Coles book store or any place like that and know that there is all kinds of new stuff on how to plan, mostly how to plan your financial future - but if you look at the business literature, there is quite a bit of faddism there. I don't mean any disrespect to the faculty in the College of Commerce, but the popular books at least do contain fads on business, but the literature does have some permanent kinds of messages. One of them is that you have to get presidents and senior leaders, not just deans and other folks, but also leaders of council and the board and people like that, you have to get them on side, you have to get them believing that the process needs to be done and can be done. You have to connect budgets to plans, and this has been going on now for a number of years in other institutions - an open attempt to connect budgets to plans. It's not easy, because as you know, the academic work of the university is very much in the hands of the university council. The budgetary financial work of the university is very much in the hands of the boards. Some how, you have to find a way to connect them. You've got to find a way, the literature says, to reach across silos, connect up, because otherwise, you will be planning college by college, department by department, without an eye to where the institution as a whole is going or even the other sub-units within it. So there are some basic messages, as well as some basic messages that we can take away from other places.
This is an identification of features of planning processes at other places. Not every institution can claim to be comprehensive, consultative, and all of that. But many of them are moving towards these sorts of planning principles. Comprehensive, trying to take a look at the whole institution, not just pieces and bits. Certainly outlining, and you see it everywhere, specific goals, specific priorities. And now more and more, institutions are moving to a multi-year framework for their planning. They are not attempting to re-invent everything, so plans tend to be built on other plans, and they simply get better. It's not a question of wiping the slate clean and starting all over again, pretending that nothing happened. There is lots of good work that can be built on. Senior administration is almost always involved. They don't have to lead absolutely everything at absolutely every stage; in fact, it is far better that they don't. But they need to be involved at the point of initiation, and they need to take some ownership and help others take some ownership for the process. So those are some of the things that we learned from other places.
What we learned from our interviews, and we have summarized these before, but I'll review them for your benefit. Many of you out there spoke to us and told us these sorts of things - that we do not have, at the moment, a document which outlines concrete achievable goals that everyone on campus can really associate with in some fashion; that we don't have a lot of planning documents that really will help us plan in the big areas where planning is required. Now there are some, to be sure. This university has planned its physical environment, I think, very well. Some of you will attend meetings and have attended meetings on the campus master plan for example. It's not that there are no documents out there that guide our activities, but when we take a look at the things that matter to us, and that includes our students, we don't have an enrolment plan, at least not one that we have been working with for the last decade or so. We don't really have a faculty complement plan, although there are many little plans in a lot of different places, and people have plans in the sense that "when that person retires, I plan to get that position." So we don't have any broad institutionally based planning doctrines, or not too many. We have people tell us that they have an inability to take hold of and look at the whole institution. I'm told now that our annual budget is over $500 million. The operating grant is about $130 million. If you add on student tuition, you are up to around $200 million for the operating fund. But that is $200 million out of $500 million. There is a lot of business at the University that gets done away from the operating fund. That is just one kind of measure of comprehensiveness. Our ability to actually be comprehensive and look at the whole institution, people have said we are lacking. [Deficiencies slide] And when I say people, I mean, among others, the provincial auditor. And it is, I think, a fair comment. Those observations are being made of not just other universities, but also of other institutions. For example, those of you have paid attention to Enron over the past couple of months will be aware of that.
We were told in our interviews that we are pre-occupied with the annual budget process, and that is for sure. I can tell you that we go from one budget to the next, hoping that we can pull the budget in line with everybody's aspirations, that we won't have to cut back, that we won't have to do these things. It is an annual challenge. But people are telling us that it's not exactly a mode that we want to be in - annually trying to move from one budget to the next. We need to be thinking longer term; we need to take more ownership of the future for ourselves. We need to plan when we plan together. We need to include, among other things, a common format, a common schedule. We need to do it together. And we need a capacity, we're told, and I certainly agree with this, to re-distribute resources in some fashion, so that we make sure that we are resourcing our priorities. Finally, and perhaps the most important thing of all, we were told that the existing system is closed, kind of mysterious, inaccessible. And even people who are deeply involved in the process told us that. So it is not just a question of people who are observing the budgetary planning process.
What I am going to share with you now, quickly, are six design elements that we think are going to be important and that we are going to work on over the next little while, over the next couple of years. We are going to work on these design elements to try to address the comments that I've just outlined. [Critical Design Elements slide] Each one of them is critical, and these are basically conceptual components. I'm going to start with one that many of you are aware of already, and that is the whole idea of strategic directions. [Strategic Directions slide #1] [Strategic Directions slide #2] The President has worked hard to come up with a strategic directions document, and increasingly now, he is turning it over to the campus community for comment and revision. A set of strategic directions for the institution is extremely important at this point in time. It will assist us in positioning the University, which, like it or not, we need to do in a more competitive environment that the President has stressed. It will also give him an opportunity to share with alumni and other potential contributors to the institution our sense of direction, our sense of where we are going to go, our sense of where we fit in, and we will be fitting in at a national level. We won't be fitting in exclusively, regionally, exclusively in Saskatchewan; we will be fitting in on a big-plate picture. Peter has undertaken to do quite a bit of consultation. I won't recite all of it, but I will make note of the fact that there is a website that captures a lot of the feedback and encourage you all to review it. But the important thing is that if we are going to have integrated planning, we have to have a set of strategic directions to guide us.
The second piece consists of some foundational documents, University-wide documents, strategic in nature that cut across the campus and the various unit structures and provide some detailed guidance on key planning dimensions. [Foundational documents slide #1] [Foundation documents slide #2] There are some of them that you will be aware of. I said before that we'll build on these documents, not do away with them. The key foundational document for us at the University of Saskatchewan is "A Framework for Planning" adopted by Council in March 1998. It has been a remarkable guide to us, all of us, for the future of the institution. Others include, and this one is close to my heart, the "Standards for Promotion and Tenure". You may not think of it as a foundational document, but I will say that I don't know that there's another document that entirely captures our aspirations for ourselves and for our faculty colleagues as those standards documents do. The enrolment plan is in version 0.7 - I would like to think that it is farther along than that, but that means, by the way, that it needs to be thirty percent more complete before I can share it with everybody - but it is out there in the Council committees and elsewhere, and we are talking about it, and many of you will have heard presentations on the enrolment plan before. I'm looking at about two or three months for version 1.0. By that time, I'm hopeful that we will have in the Council committees and in the Board settled on some of the key issues, at least to the point where we can share them with you. Some of you will be aware of and have heard presentations on the "Framework for Aboriginal Initiatives". The Core Area Master Plan I mentioned already, and we are really in the process of putting that together. This is going to be a new planning framework for the physical environment that all of us cherish here at the University of Saskatchewan. There are other documents that have been put together, such as a document called "Contributing Together", put together by the administrative leadership of the University, which we will share broadly with the community. Another includes the information technology plan put together by Rick Bunt. We are in the early stages of putting together a complement plan for our faculty. We are in the very early stages of putting together an internationalization plan. These are documents that I think the institution desperately needs, not in the way of strategic directions, but actual implementation documents that are concrete and specific and have particular goals in mind for the institution as a whole.
The third basic design element is this idea of comprehensive oversight. [Comprehensive oversight slide #1] [Comprehensive oversight slide #2] Integrated planning, the actual term, suggests that we have different planning processes that need to be integrated. Planning and budget need to come together. Our different funding sources and budget lines need to be connected up to one another. And certainly, our units around campus, and there are many. The campus is not made up of just departments, colleges, and administrative units. There are a lot of other institutes and centres and others that need to be connected up clearly inside a planning process. And so, comprehensive oversight means that everybody is involved in the planning enterprise. It is not just an academic thing. It is going to require some participation from all academic and administrative units. We are going to look at all funding sources, try to clarify lines of responsibility. It is a big job, a very big job. As Laura Kennedy, the Associate Vice-President of Financial Services often says, we have just begun to scratch the surface on this one.
Number four is a multi-year budget and planning process. [Multi-year budget slide #1] And really what we are talking about here is literally planning for a number of years ahead. Not just speculating, but trying to get our plans in some specific form, and that will begin with a big environmental scan where we will take a look at a setting, university-wide planning parameters, look at our key assumptions, selected indicators. [Planning parameters slide] Some of those indicators will be macro-economic in character, like our growth employment inflation rates, commodity prices, things like that. We need to know these things, and we need to be working from the same script on these matters. Some of them will be institutional. We will estimate what our government grant is likely to be in 2005 and 2006, tough as that might be. Tuition, where are we going on research funding, where we think we are going to be. Salaries and benefits lurch from year to year, from collective agreement to collective agreement. It doesn't really work for us if we can't anticipate what those are likely to be. So I'm very hopeful that the first part of the multi-year budget and planning process will involve a strong environmental scan that will allow us to share with colleges and share with departments and administrative units what we think that the world will look like over the next several years in terms of these key planning parameters. We will then take a look at a four- to six-year planning framework. [Multi-year budget slide #2] Identify a clear schedule, what's going to happen inside those years and require our resources of course to be aligned with the priorities over this period. The next slide will give you a sense of what we're hoping to achieve during these periods. [Global timelines slide #1] The front end is clearly important as we identify those planning parameters, share them, and then of course take a look at college and unit plans. That will be extremely important too, and this will take place in 2003 and 2004, during which we will evaluate those plans and begin to make some allocation decisions. The period following, starting in 2004-05, will be largely monitoring, but not just that; I expect that their will be some additional allocations in that year as well, because it turns out in most institutions that it does take quite a bit of time to go through plans and make budgetary allocations for a multi-year period. The next several years will involve monitoring, and at the end of it, we will do an evaluation and develop the next set of planning parameters for the next period. [Global timelines slide #2] This is clearly a sketch, and we will be able to share with you a more precise timeframe in a few months, but it gives you an idea about what we expect to happen over the next couple of years.
The fifth element is college and unit plans. [College/unit plans slide] We are working here to address the question of planning from the same template in the same format at the same time. The college and unit plan template has undergone a number of reiterations already. I think it has reached a point when we can almost say "yes, this is what it is going to look like." The idea here is to make sure these college and unit plans are in fact aligned with the University's overall priorities. [Purposes of college/unit plans slide] Those strategic directions that I indicated right off the top and also the concrete plans encompassed in the foundational documents. And also the establishment of internal priorities and a documentary base for resource allocation. A lot of people come through the budget cycle asking for funds of one kind or another, but there is no sound documentary base for many requests. They are very specific and project-oriented, but they do not connect into anything, and they often do not show how institutions and units are going to change their own behavior or use their resources to actually move the project forward. So the college and unit plans will put a premium on all of those things and of course on the whole idea of performance indicators of some kind. Those college units that have had the benefit of SPR will of course use the SPR results in their college plans. Those who don't will have to anticipate what they think those responses are likely to be. I'm hoping the proposed template will be pretty simple and will focus on the very areas that folks have told us really matter for the future of the University. If you've been to Peter's presentations, you know that some of the strategic directions involve the recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty, improving research productivity, an increasing role for graduate students, and so on. [Features of proposed template slide] So we will need the college and unit plans to actually match up to those strategic directions. Nothing is going to be perfect here, we're not going to get a perfect connect, but some kind of connection is necessary.
And then finally, and in response to the need for some kind of budgetary flexibility, we anticipate the introduction of an academic priorities fund that we can actually use over that planning period to resource the priorities in various colleges and units and in interdisciplinary areas as well. [Academic Priorities Fund slide #1] [Academic Priorities Fund slide #2] We will be able to use a portion of the tuition fee increases, I hope a significant portion of the Saskatchewan University Funding Mechanism allocation - we're not exactly sure how much money this will be; it's not going to be enormous, but it will be enough to make a difference in key areas - and a portion from existing funds. At the moment what we have, what you've told us and anyway I know, is that we have an incremental, occasional funding of priorities when we actually can fund priorities, and we do when circumstances connect up. The province gives us a little bit of unexpected money and we are actually in a position to fund some priorities. Nothing lavishly, most of it in the way of trying to catch up and repair some of the damage those years of under funding has done. The academic priorities fund is intended really to be a bit more systematic. We have some experience in this from priority determination, so we know this can be done, and what we are going to try to do is to institutionalize some of the best parts of that model. The idea here is to fund our own priorities. We know that others, whether it is donors or the government, will try to fund theirs. The University has to have a mechanism to fund our own priorities. It will mean that colleges and units will have to put funds at risk, give up funds over a period of time, which they may or may not get back. We're anticipating something in the total of about four to six percent of operating budgets would be put at risk for these purposes. In units at other institutions that have engaged in this, it's a great opportunity to take a long, cold look at what you are doing and to make a case that what you're doing and what you want to do connects up with what the university wants to do and makes sense academically. And in those cases, units are typically funded appropriately, or at least funded as best we can.
So those are the critical design elements, and there will be some re-organization required. [Operational requirements slide] I won't spend a lot of time talking about it, but certainly we are going to need to institutionalize the examination of plans and the allocation of resources, and I don't think that we can use the existing system that we have. The President's Executive Committee, which consists of the President, the three Vice-Presidents, the Executive Director of Alumni and Development, the University Secretary, and the Communications Director, ends up taking on a lot of issues that probably should be moved to other decision-making places. We need to look at how we, internally, are making decisions, and I expect that we will change the executive decision-making structure a bit, and we will add to our analytical capacity to look forward.
Anybody who has studied organizational change is going to know that what I've just talked about embodies some kind of bias. I mean, even the system that we have right now embodies bias. So we should be conscious when we change organizational structures, and these aren't massive changes. These are, I think, sensible ways of trying to do business, but there is a certain bias built in. So, rather than deny that there is any bias, let me just suggest some of them.
From the point of view of faculty members - not people in administrative positions, but faculty and staff members, people who hold no formal administrative leadership roles - these processes are biased in favor of strong leaders. We are not talking about 'type A' personalities everywhere or anything like that, but we are talking about people who will be insightful and responsive, not autocratic, but in a system like this, it is important to have strong leadership. [Farcus "type A/B" slide] Units will do best in this system if they can align their plans with those of other units and the university as a whole. There is a bias here toward leaders who are capable of doing that.
There is also, I think, a bias towards connecting the financial and the academic. Most academic units are familiar with curriculum changes and with hiring decisions, and much of what we call planning takes place in those environments. It's really only at the college level, and sometimes - I have to be honest with you - not even there that we really start to get into the whole idea of resource planning. Given that the sources of funding for the University are now so complex and are likely to become even more so, and given that governments have shown very little interest in restoring base-budget funding, if you want to make change in this environment, you are going to have to devise new ways of matching revenues and expenditures. Integrated planning will put a premium on being able to illustrate the return for investment that would accompany any new initiative from the operating grant. Deans and department heads and others who simply ask for money, and who are good at that, and that's good I guess, but that won't be enough in this system, it won't be enough simply to be persistent in asking for funding and demanding that your particular project gets some kind of priority. You will have to connect up into a broader process.
There is also, I think, from the point of view of Council, some biases in what we are talking about here toward stronger, more formal links with administrative planning - that is, with the activities that are taking place in the colleges, administrative units, and the central administration. At the moment, these linkages between Council and these other units are, I think, too weak. They are too heavily dependent on individuals and personalities, and part of that is because our Council is fairly new. We need to find a more formal mechanism of connecting the business of Council with the business of the rest of the University. It is absolutely vital that we do this.
[Formal roles and responsibilities slide] I think Council has to take a look at its own decision-making structure, its committee structure, with an eye to figuring out how it can avoid engaging in redundant activities. In my view, that means fewer committees, better organization of agendas, and a strong measure of integration into these planning initiatives. Council must never lose its independent base of authority. It cannot become absorbed with agendas that are created by the administration or somewhere else. But, speaking as a Council member, I think we also have to do a better job of connecting Council to the decision-making processes in the University. What's the point in having Council do all of its work if it is not connected up? Others have done it in other institutions, and we can do it too. But it does require the leadership of Council to consider and reconsider the existing balance between autonomy and effectiveness.
From the point of view of the Board, there's a bias, I think, toward a more comprehensive view of its responsibilities and a more deliberate way of identifying and resourcing priorities. Integrated planning is biased against end-runs; it's biased against allowing administrative priorities to overwhelm academic ones. As in most matters of university governance, it seeks to balance our academic ends and our administrative means.
So I think that integrated planning will likely prompt the Board to take a look at its own governance arrangements and make sure that Board members can actually comment on and help shape the University's long-term future. That's really one of the reasons why people go onto boards. It's not the only reason, but it is a reason. Members of the Board do have opportunities to do this now but in a rather ad-hoc fashion. And one thing that you will notice, and again this has been addressed in other places, is that there is very little connect between the Board of Governors on one hand and the Council of the University on the other. I think that integrated planning suggests we should explore those possibilities. At the University of Toronto, they've done this uniquely. They have put the two together to form a uni-cameral system. I don't think that there is any likelihood of our going there, and most other institutions haven't done that either. But they have figured out ways to have joint membership on committees so the Council and the Board can feel that they are connected up and pulling in the right direction, at least in the same direction.
None of what I have talked about today or outlined here will really revolutionize decision-making at the University of Saskatchewan, not in my opinion anyway. For those who cherish the organized anarchy, don't worry, it will be here long after we've absorbed these processes. Still, I know these sorts of changes and getting into this stuff is disturbing, and I've already said that some people might feel threatened by this.
In my second of these annual presentations, looking a long way back when I was a lot younger than I am now, I stressed the theme of social capital, making the point that working together and developing some kind of joint ownership of our aspirations improves the level of trust among us. [Campus aerial view slide] But it is fair to say that processes that like the ones we've outlined that put cherished practices and priorities at risk are likely to damage social capital, and that point has been made to me. While I have stressed the positives of working together, some of the processes that have been introduced have actually put a quite a bit of stress on the University as a whole.
Integrated planning at the conceptual level may be popular, and I haven't heard anybody who says, "Well, integrated planning is not a good idea, but I'm in favor of disintegrated planning." I mean, most people think that it's even common sense, but its implementation is likely to create difficulties. And we've tried to minimize those risks by opening the process up, and we will continue to do that. In the end, transparency and openness is the key to all of this.
And we will publish, when we get it ready, the President's statement, and I hope it won't be just the President's statement. I hope it will be warmly endorsed by the governing bodies of the University. And the ideas that I've put together here today, we will put those out as well, so that people can take a look at them and comment on them and understand what the kind of new processes will be. As we actually introduce the process, we will work toward a strategic plan for the University, because we're going to have to do that too - the President has made it clear that with all of this, we have to create, at some point or another, a strategic plan, and it will come after we see the unit and college plans. As we put it all together, it will be up to us to share the various constraints that we are working under, and the choices that we are making. It is my hope, as we do this, that the process of using up social capital will be matched and overtaken by the process of creating it.