Baylor University

Pro Futuris: Q&A with Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis

Sept. 21, 2012

Pro Futuris, the new strategic vision for Baylor University, received final approval by the Baylor Board of Regents during their May, 2012 meeting. Roll out and implementation of the vision began immediately as academic units, departments, and related entities began discussing areas of specification and acts of determination for their work. BaylorNews asked University Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis, who was appointed by President Ken Starr to lead the strategic planning process, to share her thoughts on implementation of the new vision.

Q: As you look back on the lengthy development process that ultimately led to the launch of Pro Futuris, what stands out most to you?

In the coming weeks, faculty, staff and students, and our guests, will see reminders of the launch of Pro Futuris across campus. Among these are pageantry in Founders Mall and Burleson Quadrangle, displays in the entry of Waco Hall, and designations on signage for projects that result from the aspirations in the new vision. Additionally, an illustrated publication has been distributed to all faculty and staff with a limited number of copies available for ordering online. Anyone who would like a copy of the publication to share, or Baylor alumni who would like

a copy for themselves, may request the publication online at

www.baylor.edu/profuturis/order.

A: The President's Executive Council first talked about drafting a new strategic plan on August 1, 2010. We immediately began to study other universities' processes and plans and sought advice from other university leaders. By November of that year, we put a stake in the ground and set out a timeline and expectations for what was intended to be a very inclusive process. With great discipline and focus, we adhered to the timeline that resulted in over 2,000 individuals providing input into the vision and tens of thousands being informed along the way via the website, Baylor Magazine and many other communication outlets. This was without question a group endeavor and we all share in the success of the process and the resulting vision.

Q: As Pro Futuris now becomes a part of the work we do daily as a university, what will the areas of specification mean to each part of the university?

A: The areas of specification tell us, very broadly, how we are to achieve the aspirational statements. While our aspirational statements identify the why of what we will do, the areas of specification provide additional direction for what we are to do. Most of the things we achieve at the university level will be connected to success we've had at the school, division or department level. Therefore, just as the vision was built from the ground up, we expect our constituents - faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends - to help us interpret the areas of specification and join us in making our vision a reality.

Q: What role do acts of determination play in the success of the strategic vision?

A: Our desire is that as departments align plans and create acts of determination, they don't necessarily think about them as add-ons to what they are already doing. In some cases, they'll be thinking about ways they can re-imagine things they're already doing in light of the vision. But, when we look at opportunities to begin new initiatives, we'll be asking what things we need to stop doing so we can accomplish the great things we should be doing.

In addition, our president has asked that as we think about our acts of determination, we benchmark against other institutions and consider carefully the coming changes in higher education. We shouldn't be parochial in our pursuits. We will have to make compromises, but our actions should be ones that, on a whole, advance the University and address how we can best fulfill our distinctive role as a national research university with an unwavering commitment to our Christian identity.

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