2020 Design Team Process

Since the start of efforts to craft a new strategic plan for the University of Kansas, there has been an emphasis not simply on strategic planning, but also on strategic doing. Provost Bichelmeyer has stressed that real advances come through defining objectives and then working to secure key results.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early spring 2020 forced KU students, staff, faculty and administration to approach learning, scholarship and work through new perspectives. As the pandemic raged and communications focused, rightly, on campus-wide health and safety measures, eleven design teams were formed to address the Jayhawks Rising institutional priorities. The teams, which met during the summer and fall of 2020 had the dual charge to help mitigate related challenges emanating from the pandemic. The work of these roughly 200 students, staff, faculty, and unit leaders helped ensure progress on Jayhawks Rising continued.

Design teams addressed “The Four Questions of Strategic Doing:”

  • What COULD we do? What are all the possible opportunities using assets we already have?
  • What SHOULD we do? We can’t do everything so which opportunities are most likely to lead to measurable success?
  • What WILL we do? Where will we start and how will we commit to it?
  • What’s our 30/30? Every 30 days, we will spend 30 minutes reporting on progress.


FY'22 Strategic Planning Process

In early 2021, objectives and key results (OKRs) were reviewed from the design teams as well as an evaluation of external metrics (AAU, KBOR, etc.) to finalize the institutional priorities and corresponding objectives and metrics that represent our Jayhawks Rising Strategic Plan. In the spring of ’21, a new public-facing website was launched to share the university’s three core institutional priorities of creating a clear and ambitious direction to fulfill our mission to educate leaders, build healthy communities and make discoveries that change the world. The site displays the institutional objectives and metrics that align with the core institutional priorities.

In order to begin strategic doing and execute a plan, an implementation process was developed for FY’22 that involves three stages. These stages include the following: 1) reflect and re-energize the campus community on our mission and vision, 2) develop a foundation by appointing Objective Leaders to set 3-, 5-, and 10-year targets for metrics, and finalize strategies informed by a wide array of input collected 3) begin strategic alignment by engaging strategy owners and participating stakeholders in strategy execution through action plans with identified milestones.

The high-level summary of the strategic plan implementation process for FY’22 are below. Please note that dates may be subject to change.

Re-energize and Reflect (April '21 - May '21)

  • Objective Leaders identified and provided overview of annual strategic planning process, including overview of their role as leader
  • Preview of new Jayhawks Rising website to Design Team members, Objective Leaders, Deans and Vice Provosts
  • New Jayhawks Rising website launched to campus community
  • “Strategic Plan FY’22 Fall Preview” sessions held with 2020 Design Teams and various constituent groups to reflect on process, and reenergize around common mission, vision and values

Develop Foundation (August '21 - December '21)

  • Objective Leader Workshop
  • Target metrics, strategies, Strategy Owners, Stakeholders and high-level action steps defined
  • Target metrics and strategies approved by Provost and shared with campus community
  • Jayhawks Rising website updated with identified strategies for each objective

Strategic Doing Begins (January '22 - June '22)

  • Objective Leaders actively engage Strategy Owners and Stakeholders focused on strategy implementation
  • Units work together to implement strategy by designated milestone dates
  • Progress is monitored quarterly to mitigate risks, and provide support and guidance
  • Annual pause & reflect to celebrate successes, reflect on where we've been and where we're going, and kickoff process for next FY

Jayhawks Rising Relaunch (May 2021)

Jayhawks Rising Timeline Milestones

A preparatory exercise involving a small but broadly representative group of staff and faculty from all KU campuses. The goal was to identify characteristics that define KU at its best.

Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Launch for Lawrence and Edwards Campuses

Jayhawks Rising kickoff and campus exercise and feedback analyzed; volunteers solicited.

From Strategic Planning to Strategic Doing

Friday, Feb. 28, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Kansas Union Ballroom

Smaller conversations continued, Design Teams formed from Strategic Planning Kickoff volunteers and campus leadership.

Design Teams announced to campus

These groups, which involve more than 200 individuals on the Lawrence and Edwards Campus, were tasked with developing areas of focus (Objectives and Key Results – OKRs) for KU’s Strategic Plan as they also addressed overlapping changes and challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Design Team membership

Design Teams submit initial recommendations, and work begins to address recommendations for Fall 2020 semester.

Implement Design Team action plans. Teams continue to identify objectives for the next 30-day and 60-day periods.

Synthesis of Design Team OKR Feedback

Collection and evaluation of appropriate external metrics from sources such as the Association of American Universities, Kansas Board of Regents, US News, etc.

Creation of a new public-facing website that incorporates all institutional priorities, as well as the objectives and metrics.

Objective Leaders have an institutional connection to improve the outcomes for their particular objective. They will oversee team creation with constituents from across campus and will work to further refine objectives and desired actionable strategies.

Students at a KU basketball throw newspaper confetti in the air

Get Involved

The work continues – Jayhawks Rising is just beginning. Your involvement will help ensure KU establishes and pursues the right goals and that our actions are woven throughout work taking place in offices and programs across our campuses.

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