Academic Strategic Plan

Interim Provost Liz Liddy speaks with Day of Conversation attendees

Interim Provost Liz Liddy speaks with Day of Conversation attendees

With the July 23 announcement that the development phase of the Academic Strategic Plan: Trajectory to Excellence is complete, the University will begin to address its institutional priorities and move the University closer to achieving its vision and mission. The plan outlines a structure for institution-wide decision-making while charting a course forward.

In January, Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy appointed Professor Shiu-Kai Chin as a Provost Faculty Fellow charged with guiding the implementation and developing the Academic Strategic Plan Implementation Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee, supported by working groups made up of faculty, staff, and students, will focus on several overarching tasks:

  • Developing specific objectives that result in actions to meet the identified goals within each theme
  • Determining criteria for achieving goals and objectives
  • Collecting evidence of our effectiveness and progress toward achieving those goals and objectives
  • Continuously assessing goals and recommendations in order to meet emerging challenges and opportunities

As these tasks are developed, all Academic Strategic Planning processes will be aligned with Middle States Self-Study accreditation requirements—an ongoing process that ensures academic quality and accountability for higher education institutions.

Campus Framework

Sasaki Associates returned to campus during the summer to continue conversations with campus constituents and local community members.

After listening to input and sharing preliminary ideas with stakeholders, Sasaki Associates will produce their final report this fall.

The Campus Framework provides a roadmap for the future and works in coordination with the University’s Academic Strategic Plan to guide the transformation of Syracuse University’s campus environment in support of the University’s mission.

Operational Excellence

Cross-functional teams, including faculty, staff, and students, continue to re-think how the University buys goods and services to fully leverage the purchasing power of “One University” while being good stewards of students’ tuition.

Based on preliminary metrics and results, the campus community has responded positively to new policies. The support and recognition of these new policies and initiatives will help the University operate more efficiently and continue to develop smarter spending practices.

The latest team-led initiative to release its policy recommendation is from the Travel and Entertainment initiative group.

Jason Brown is the University's W.B. Mason sales representative
Jason Brown is the University’s W.B. Mason sales representative

In an effort to offer improved service and clear guidelines for all University-funded, sponsored research or grant-funded travel, Syracuse University is implementing a revised travel and entertainment policy effective Sept. 1. Hundreds of faculty and staff have attended information and training sessions during the summer and additional sessions are planned.

The new policy names BTI The Travel Consultants, a Syracuse-based independent travel management company, as the University travel management partner for airline tickets, hotels, and car rentals. In addition, the University will implement Concur, an online travel portal available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, for domestic and international travel. The new policy applies to faculty, staff and students who travel in official University capacities, both domestic and international, and need to be reimbursed for their expenses. Information and training sessions are still ongoing.

The new Telecommunications and Mobile Device policy launched July 1 and is designed to help supervisors identify faculty and staff members whose roles with the University require them to have a University-provided cellular smartphone and/or a cellular-embedded tablets or laptops. The new policy names AT&T as the preferred cellular provider and seeks to increase data security and plan flexibility, while reducing costs. Consolidating vendors should help the University realize an estimated annual savings of approximately $250,000 and allow for more effective management of data plans.

The Office Supplies Initiative, launched March 1, has identified a preferred vendor, W.B. Mason, for all office supply purchases through the Purchasing Office’s online market place, eProcurement.

Purchases of office paper must be made through the Office of Materials Distribution, the University’s central warehouse department. Since its launch, measures have been instituted to track savings and ensure service continues to meet quality standards. Projected savings for this initiative are approximately $128,000 in FY16.

A new policy for purchasing new printers and copiers also went into effect March 1 to lower costs, and promote security and sustainability. The Purchasing Office has encouraged faculty and staff members to partner with their IT departments to make appropriate equipment selections that is estimated to result in a projected savings of $134,000 in FY16.

What’s Ahead

As the Academic Strategic Plan moves ahead with its implementation phase, Oversight Committee members—a mix of faculty, staff, and students—has convened to begin the next phase of action and develop specific objectives. Sasaki Associates issue a final report this fall. New policies and processes that will achieve cost savings and improve efficiencies on campus are the focus of the Operational Excellence program. The Travel and Entertainment Policy will continue information and training sessions to prepare for the September 1 launch. Initiatives for facilities supplies and lab supplies have made significant progress over the past few months. Expect to hear more as these initiatives finalize analysis and business cases during the fall semester.

For more information on the Fast Forward Syracuse program visit