Fast Forward Syracuse begins 2015 with a focused effort on collaboration and generating ideas to continue the momentum on improving Syracuse University. The Academic Strategic Plan sets the direction for the entire initiative with the Campus Master Plan Framework and Operational Excellence providing outcomes that will support the University’s academic mission. With the help of student leadership, nearly 20 additional students have joined teams, and their insights are providing student perspective to raise awareness and drive change.

The goals of Fast Forward Syracuse are to be strategic in how we plan for the future; foster and encourage the best ideas for how we can improve; change how we operate in order to best serve students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the broader community and world; and prioritize the institution as “One University” — rather than focusing on the specific schools, colleges, departments, and support groups — so the University ultimately can be greater than the sum of its parts.


The Academic Strategic PlanLiddyfeature

In her new role as Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy is leading the development of Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan. While the plan will be an all-University plan, it is understood to have the academic mission—inclusive of teaching, learning, and research—and the undergraduate and graduate student experience at its core.

The development of the plan is a major undertaking overseen by the Strategic Plan Steering Committee, facilitated by Liddy. Under the steering committee, seven Working Groups are looking at key areas of the University, such as undergraduate excellence, research, and veterans and military affairs, to recommend strategies for improvement and areas of distinction to frame the Academic Strategic Plan.

With 28 members on the Steering Committee, more than 120 people involved in the Working Groups, and more than 1,000 ideas and individual pieces of feedback from the University community, the effort has involved University members including—students, faculty, and staff—from all across the campus who are committed to sharing ideas and the work in this critical effort. Preliminary ideas are starting to emerge from the Working Groups which have incorporated many campus voices into their research and ideas. For example, the Working Group on Undergraduate Excellence held a two-day retreat this month to help the group form preliminary recommendations based on all of the information gathered throughout last semester. Other groups have weekly meetings to review campus input and begin to develop preliminary recommendations.

In February, work will begin on drafting and reviewing the Academic Strategic Plan in preparation for comment by the campus community mid semester and review by the Board of Trustees in May 2015.

In addition, more than 150 members of the campus community provided feedback on the proposed Vision and Mission statements during the comment period in fall 2014. The Steering Committee is reviewing comments on the Vision and Mission statements to make final recommendations for approval and implementation in March 2015.


 Campus Master Plan Framework15854thm_d5c1fc2c5c31b99

Sasaki Associates returned to campus this month to continue conversations with the Advisory Group and campus constituents and present some discovery finding and analysis. The team is currently completing an evaluation of the physical campus systems, such as campus mobility, landscape structure, environmental systems, and student housing. Sasaki is focused on creating multiple academic environments, campus and landscape design, and growth scenarios for future development. The scenarios will suggest recommendations such as improvements to campus streets and landscape spaces; space moves for improved adjacencies, efficiency, and collaboration; redevelopment of key buildings for enhanced on-campus life or program growth; or other ideas that will emerge over the coming months and define preliminary framework principles that reflect the goals of the University’s Academic Strategic Plan.

Additional meetings have been scheduled for Sasaki Associates to provide the campus community with more information about the Campus Framework discovery and analysis process.

Monday, March 2, 12-1 p.m. – Open Forum at Hendricks Chapel

Monday, March 2, 4-5 p.m. – Open Forum at Hendricks Chapel

Wednesday, April 22, 4-5 p.m. – Open Forum at Hendricks Chapel

Thursday, April 23, 12-1 p.m. – Open Forum at Hendricks Chapel

Additional details of these meetings with be forthcoming. The project is on track for a draft of the Campus Framework to be presented to the Board of Trustees in May 2015, with final plan completion in August 2015.


Operational Excellence

Several cross-functional teams including faculty, staff, and students, were given the charge to re-think how the University buys goods and services to fully leverage our purchasing power as “One University” and being good stewards of student tuition.

Fourteen Fast Forward Syracuse initiative teams are zeroing in on the most promising areas to achieve immediate cost savings for the University. As previously mentioned, they are starting to design the actual process changes required to realize savings. The work on two of the initiative teams is proceeding to implementation and cost savings to the University which will begin to be realized in Fiscal Year 2015.

Office Supplies: Effective March 1, 2015, initiative teams have recommended that office supply purchases made by faculty and staff on campus be made through the Purchasing Office’s on-line market place, eProcurement, and purchases of office paper must be made through the Office of Materials Distribution, the University’s central warehouse department. Each year, the University spends over $1 million on office supplies and although negotiated rates are 10-30 percent lower than retail prices, many faculty and staff are unaware of these discounts and miss the opportunity to take advantage of potential savings. The Purchasing Office will be reaching out to faculty and staff across campus over the coming weeks to ensure University employees receive the training needed to use eProcurement for the purchase of office supplies.

Printers and copiers: Also effective March 1, 2015, a new policy for purchasing new printers and copiers will go into effect. The new policy will lower costs, promote security and sustainability, and continue to meet the needs of the University. This initiative team performed an analysis of the equipment, pricing, and purchasing processes on campus. The team has recommended that purchases be channeled through fewer vendors, reducing the models available for purchase, and include IT support staff in the equipment selection and approval process to reduce the $2 million a year the University currently spends on printers, copiers, toner, and maintenance. The Purchasing Office and members of the initiative team will reach out to IT staff across campus over the coming weeks to ensure adequate communication of the new policy and process. Training sessions and documentation will also be provided.


What’s Ahead

Broader communications are planned to continue to engage and inform the campus community about the three components, and most importantly the goals of the Academic Strategic Plan as the driving element of Fast Forward Syracuse. Sasaki Associates will return to campus in March and April for meetings and to share information about the Campus Framework. New policies will go into effect March 1 to help Syracuse University leverage our spending and be more efficient. Every effort will be made to ensure there are ongoing opportunities for the University community to be engaged in a shared dialogue. If you would like to learn more or give your feedback to the Program Management Office, please email