I am excited to share more information with you about the launch of our University-wide Strategic Planning process that will set our course for the COVID-19 recovery phase and the next five years. Especially after this past year of COVID-19 challenges, including a sense of disconnection and even isolation for some, it is my great hope that this process engages the entire university community.

I wanted to outline some of the major components of the process so that each of you knows how you can become involved. Your thoughts, ideas, and input on where we are heading in the years to come are encouraged and important. While the pandemic continues to dictate much of our immediate focus, we must begin identifying the larger institutional efforts that we will undertake in the years ahead.

This important initiative will be guided by a Steering Committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students who were highly recommended by members of the leadership team. I asked the team for nominations of individuals who are imaginative, outspoken, able to inspire others to participate in a team effort, and who can step out of their comfort zone to challenge all of us to think beyond the boundaries of our current understandings of a university. Perhaps above all, I was looking for individuals who had a strong record of helping our students succeed. The composition of the steering committee is not intended to be representational of any particular groups, and I realize some groupings such as adjuncts, NTTs, or all representatives of internal governance groups, are not represented, but those individuals will be considered to serve on the subcommittees which will be more representational based on the expertise that will be called upon.

The role of the Steering Committee is, precisely as the name suggests, to steer the university community through this process. This group will facilitate a broad and inclusive process that engages our many stakeholders—from students to Board members—to help us create a Strategic Plan that guides and shapes what the University of New Haven will look like in the upcoming years. Committee members are listed below.

One of the immediate activities we will undertake to gather wide input is a Visioning Survey that will be sent to the University community. I encourage you to respond in this process to such questions as “What makes our University unique?” or “What threats do we see that we could reframe as opportunities?”— without feeling constrained by past practices, our current business and educational models, or thinking that your ideas are too lofty or contrarian. Your answers will help drive our thinking and raise awareness of possible opportunities and threats.

From this input, we will form subcommittees around priority areas that emerge. Dozens of additional faculty and staff members will be asked to serve on these subcommittees to conduct focus groups among key stakeholders and gather additional input. I hope and expect that discussions will be frank and the thinking bold. Through creativity and collaboration, I am confident that this process will yield a Strategic Plan that will strengthen the University for the future and bolster our momentum and trajectory of success.

This important work begins this week. Later in the spring, an initial strategic framework will be presented to the Board of Governors and other important groups, for critical feedback before we further build out the framework, identify objectives and initiatives, and focus on the implementation timetable.

Thank you again for your unwavering commitment and all you have done–and will continue to do–for the University and our students.

With best wishes,

Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D.


Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Angela Ambers, Associate Professor, Forensic Science; Vahid Behzadan, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Matthew Caporale, Executive Director, Career Development Center; Candice Deal, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor, Accounting; Cindy Gallatin, Chief, Digital Learning Initiatives; Matthew Griffiths, Chair and Professor, Mathematics and Physics; Rose Keithan, President, Graduate Student Council; Sofia Martinez, President, Undergraduate Student Government Association; Summer McGee, Dean, School of Health Sciences and Steering Committee Chair; Karl Minges, Chair and Assistant Professor, Health Administration and Policy; Ophelie Rowe-Allen, Dean of Students and Steering Committee Vice Chair; Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, Director of the Ph.D. Program and Associate Professor, Criminal Justice; and Sheahon Zenger, Director of Athletics.