Sept. 10, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 1

Planning Effort On Track for Spring Report

Entering its second year, the Assessment and Planning Initiative - a broad-based effort to devise a long-term plan for the University's academic and financial resources - has produced more than 100 proposals for transforming Boston College.

The proposals, developed by groups of administrators, faculty, staff and students during the past several months, run the gamut of large-scale, high-profile ideas - establishing a new undergraduate or graduate school, for example - to infrastructure-related projects, such as streamlining the University's hiring process.

Over the course of the fall semester, these proposals will be assessed, fine-tuned and assessed again, and by next fall some, though not all, will be incorporated into a blueprint for the University's progress toward its 150th anniversary in 2013.

Offering an overview of the planning initiative last week, the project's director Prof. James O'Toole (History) praised the work of the teams and task forces, which were assigned to scrutinize the University's undergraduate and graduate schools as well as broad topical areas like undergraduate education, student life and Jesuit-Catholic identity. The variety, as well as sheer number, of proposals advanced by the groups, he said, provide some intriguing avenues for the University.

"It is clear that there will be several different levels of initiatives coming out of this process," he said. "First will be those truly big ideas, what we have referred to as 'galvanizing initiatives,' that will markedly change the nature of things at BC.

"Second will be those ideas that, while not quite as big, represent important new directions that we'll pursue. Third will be those things that we should already be doing now and will integrate into our academic or administrative operation."

O'Toole said the initiative's steering committee, chaired by Executive Vice President Patrick Keating and Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John Neuhauser, had made an initial review of the proposals during the summer and will do so again early next month. After final drafts of the proposals are completed in December, he said, the steering committee will more fully evaluate them, and begin setting funding priorities.

The committee is expected to give a preliminary report to the Board of Trustees next spring, and produce a final report around the start of the 2005-06 academic year.

O'Toole said the steering committee will continue to provide opportunities for the University community to discuss the planning initiative as it evolves during the next phase. Details on open forums and other events, as well as information about the initiative, will be available on-line. -Sean Smith

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