Self-Study advances

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    By JENNIFER GANTT ABSHE

    The Strategic Planning/Self-Study Committee has finished one more step of the process that will help BYU become a better university, said Provost Bruce Hafen.

    In an address at the 1994 Annual University Conference, Hafen said the study will “create not just a snapshot of BYU, but a motion picture — a continuing ‘MRI’ of the university’s inner workings that will establish greater accountability, more rational institutional decision making, and in short — a more excellent university.”

    H. Bruce Higley, director of Institutional Studies and a Strategic Planning/Self-Study committee member, said the committee met every day for almost a month as the issues were discussed.

    “I think the thing that came out as the most enlightening from the discussions was that we had to look at the university as a whole and not just specific areas,” Higley said.

    At least three people read each section of the self-study and then led a discussion from their readings. If there was a consensus, the recommendations were made, but if not, they were listed in the study as unresolved issues, Higley said.

    Higley praised the Strategic Planning/Self-Study committee chair, Jim Kearl, for his efforts.

    “Kearl did a masterful job of keeping us on track,” Higley said. “We got into major debate over some of the issues but I think the discussions were healthy. We considered recommendations fairly for each department, but some things weren’t as important or vital when put in balance with all the other needs across the campus.”

    Kearl said the value of the recommendations should be placed on their quality and substance, and not the time spent on the study.

    Some committee members had been on a previous long-range planning committee that was appointed in 1992, Hafen said. Then the administration decided to bring some of the committee members together with the committee that would work on the Accreditation study.

    The diversity of the committee members’ backgrounds was intentional, Hafen said, because they did not want anyone to feel like they needed to represent any specific area or department, but to approach the study with a university-wide perspective.

    The committee only plans on revising the recommendations made for the non-academic areas of the university, Hafen explained. At first there were going to be two committees but then the administration decided last July, after the academic committee was underway, that the non-academic committee would be combined with the academic.

    Hafen also said the Strategic Planning/Self-Study Committee was given guidelines to work within that were agreed on between the university administration and the Board of Trustees.

    “We have developed a brief statement of existing board and institutional policies that define the general parameters — the “givens” — within which this year’s self-study and planning will proceed,” Hafen said at the 1994 Annual University Conference.

    “The administration will take the report very seriously,” Hafen said. However, we do want to hear what the departments and other affected people have to say. Then the administration makes its own set of recommendations to the Board of Trustees.”

    “Each department will turn their responses to the self-study into President Bateman and he will share these with the dean over the area and the committee for discussion and feedback,” Hafen said.

    “Following these responses, we will meet with deans, chairs, executive directors, the Faculty and Administrative Advisory Councils and others as we prepare recommendations for board review,” states the January 8, 1996 Self-Study Update.

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