Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Carnegie Mellon Has a Plan for Me?

Upon starting this submission, I hadn’t the slightest idea where to begin. No one else had submitted for me to copy cat my submission off of nor existed a template anywhere I could find. So where did I begin? Why Google of course. The first article of week 2’s reading is entitled, “The Real Value of Strategic Planning” So I thought I’d start there. After a quick Google search of the term, “Strategic Planning” I noticed about halfway down the page, this: Carnegie Mellon’s strategic plan, developed in 2008.

There is perhaps no better place to begin learning than the place we all know the best. The plan is broken into 6 pillars, each of which contains a goal and several strategies to be used to achieve that goal. The pillars consist of, Research and Artistic Creation, Education and Student Life, Regional Impact, Globalization and International Initiatives, Carnegie Mellon Community Success and Finance and Infrastructure. Immediately, the sight of this document forced me to pose the question, “So – how are we doing?”

I use the question, “how” are we doing instead of, “what” are we doing because each of the pillars connects with me instantly. As a current, full time student who spends nearly every waking moment (and even a few not-awake ones) on campus, the fact that I immediately understood each of the pillars means something. It means they’re at least trying. So if the intent is evident the question then becomes, “how successful have they been?”

As a student, I am, of course, somewhat bias. I want to believe that CMU is succeeding strategically and will continue to for my own sake and the sake of my early career. Fortunately I don’t think I have any reason to lie to myself, the university appears to be on task. The first pillar lays out plans for research and artistic creation. One could argue they tackled this pillar first (and successfully) by allowing Disney to move in nearby in 2008. If employing a crew of Imagineers doesn’t scream artistic creation and creative inquiry, I’m not sure what does.

The second pillar identifies a desire for Carnegie Mellon students to, “contribute to and thrive in the ever-changing global community as socially responsible leaders and architects of change.” They plan to do so by continuing to hold high standards for its student body and keeping academic life rigorous. As a student I can honestly say, they’re doing just fine here.

The third pillar is regional impact. Simply put, CMU would like to have an impact on its surrounding area. The university feels a certainly responsibility to the region and feels it must act to make things better. While I can’t speak for the entirety of Western Pennsylvania, I can point out the numerous community service events offered just by the Heinz College. I think its safe to assume that the other colleges within the university do the same. Cumulatively, the efforts of each of the colleges will easily result in a tremendous amount of good.

Globalization and International Initiatives make up the fourth pillar. As a MISM, I can tell you, they’re doing fine.

As has already been evidenced by the first four pillars, Carnegie Mellon wants to be known as a place of success. The fifth pillar reflects that. The goal of this pillar is to, “create a viable, supportive, rewarding, and collaborative environment that enables our faculty, students, alumni, and staff to advance the university’s vision and mission”. As a student I feel the environment is a good one, but really, the success of this pillar is dependent on the success of the others.

Finally, the sixth pillar focuses on Finance and Infrastructure. This pillar, I cannot speak on intelligently without further research some of which may or may not be available to the public. But, one thing I can point out is that considering how much I’m paying to earn my education here, the cash inflow is plentiful.

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