Fast Forward Syracuse teams continue to gain momentum and add faculty, staff and students to each of the three program initiatives—Strategic Plan, Campus Master Plan, and Operational Excellence.

More than 500 people attended a Town Hall meeting with Chancellor Kent Syverud and 15 members of the Fast Forward Syracuse Committees on Sept. 22. Many questions were asked by faculty, staff, and students to learn more about the University-wide initiative. A video of the Town Hall can be viewed here.


What’s happening?

Strategic Plan

With the help of the campus community, teams are working on a shared vision for the University and identifying clear academic priorities needed to achieve that vision. The Strategic Plan prioritizes the University as a whole—rather than focusing on specific schools, colleges, departments, and support units, and it is intended to serve as a vehicle by which the University becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Engagement at every level is crucial to the development of the Strategic Plan. In the Summer Progress Update, seven Strategic Plan working groups were announced to the campus community. The Steering Committee has finalized the team members from a broad representation of faculty, staff, and students and identified the responsibilities of each group.

The full membership of the Working Groups and their charges can be read here.

The Strategic Plan Steering Committee has also released draft vision and mission statements that reflect the University’s history and strengths as an institution, as well as its ambition. The University vision and mission statement drafts are open to all for comment and input on the Vision/Mission page of the Fast Forward Syracuse web site through Oct. 1. They will be finalized and submitted to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees for approval at their November meeting. It is necessary to complete this part of the strategic planning process first so that the Working Groups and the Steering Committee can use the vision and mission as jumping off points for their work. The Working Groups are reaching out broadly across the campus community to gather additional, more specific information relevant to their charges.

Two Open Fora are scheduled to fuel discussion and provide the University community with the opportunity to share ideas about possible directions to pursue. Members of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee will attend and listen carefully to ideas that are shared.

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 4-5:30 p.m., Maxwell Auditorium

Monday, Oct. 6, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 010 Crouse-Hinds Hall


Campus Master Plan

The Campus Master Plan Advisory Group is evaluating how to revitalize the campus physical environment to better support the University’s academic and research mission. Elements of this plan include a series of physical planning
scenarios, a mobility study of paths and pedestrian movement, an energy and infrastructure study, and aspects of our campus safety and emergency planning. Three architectural-planning firms presented to the Advisory Group and a final selection of the firm will be made in October.

Following the selection of the firm, next steps include meetings to provide campus constituents the opportunity to provide input, comments, and concerns about how the University’s physical spaces meet the needs of the University community. The firm will also be gathering large amounts of information from the University, including space utilization data, campus maps, and facilities analyses.

Operational Excellence

One of the goals of Operational Excellence is to thoughtfully analyze and improve core activities and processes to help the University operate more effectively and efficiently. Since the Summer Progress Update, teams of Syracuse employees have begun to design changes that will better serve students, faculty, and staff and drive savings for reinvestment in University priorities that will be outlined in the Strategic Plan.

  • A team is working to pool our purchases of office supplies to get better prices.
  • A team is designing smarter travel policies and procedures that will save money and make travel planning and reconciliation easier for all travelers​
  • A team is optimizing our printer and copier purchasing to leverage our size with vendors
  • A team is designing a new policy process that will better inform and empower employees
  • A team is evaluating our bookstore’s ability to better meet student and the University’s needs
  • A team is designing a new way to track and manage our outreach to alumni and donors
  • A team is working to reduce the burden associated with sponsored research administration
  • A team is looking at speeding up common human resources processes
  • Several pilot teams are redesigning their organizations to be more effective and efficient

More than 80 faculty, staff and students are involved on initiative teams and have reached out across campus to ensure that multiple perspectives are being considered on these initiatives. Team members will be posted on the Fast Forward Syracuse web site shortly. Members of the campus community—more than 200 individuals―have provided input on potential solutions. Incorporating ideas from the people who actually perform core business practices will help outcomes improve effectiveness and create authentic change.


What’s ahead?

The University community is invited to attend Strategic Plan Open Fora meetings—Sept. 30 and Oct. 6―to invite discussion and provide an opportunity to share ideas about the Strategic Plan, one of the components of Fast Forward Syracuse.

Work is also underway to refine the Fast Forward Syracuse web site to provide more content, working team participants, and information to the campus community. In the coming months, faculty, staff and students may notice an increased volume of surveys soliciting input. Your participation is optional and voluntary, but encouraged to help teams focus their efforts and help the University operate more effectively and efficiently.

The Program Management team will provide updates about Fast Forward Syracuse to invite collaboration, insights, and communicate progress. To submit an idea, review the Vision or Mission statement, or read the latest updates, visit