Reading Imagine RIT: Foundation and Structure

fillThe RIT Strategic Plan is founded in a set of institutional commitments that express the character, traditions, and aspirations of the university. These commitments are asserted in the RIT Vision, Mission, Values, and Guiding Principles.

The goals and strategies of Imagine RIT are laid out across four broad and intersecting themes, or Key Result Areas (KRA’s). These KRA’s are the areas of university activity within which we must be successful in order to realize the vision of the plan and stay true to the university mission; they organize the goals and performance commitments of the plan and emphatically express current university priorities. The Key Result Areas are:

  1. Student Success
  2. Innovation, Creativity, Research, and Scholarship
  3. Organizational and Operational Excellence
  4. Stakeholder Satisfaction

The KRA’s stand in a special inter-functional relation to each other, in much the same way that the elements of a full sentence work together to express a central concept.

KRA 1, “Student Success,” is the subject of the sentence. Student success is RIT’s pre-eminent driver, measure, and rationale and has been the cornerstone of every RIT strategic plan. It animates the work of our dedicated faculty and staff and informs our curricula, policies, and practices.

KRA 2, “Innovation, Creativity, Research, and Scholarship,” is a critical modifier of Student Success. The successful RIT graduate of the 21st century must be an intellectual and cultural border-crosser—one who is open to new experience, understands the importance of breakthrough thinking, and is fluent in multiple approaches to innovation and creativity. If we ask this of our students, we can ask no less of our faculty, whose professional activities are indispensable models to our students.

KRA 3, “Organizational and Operational Effectiveness,” is the critical verb of our strategic sentence. Achieving the outcomes stipulated under KRA’s 1 and 2 requires impeccable stewardship and continuing development of our resources. We need careful and inspired planning to provide us with sufficient means to realize our vision, and we need a system for assessing the quality of our educational inputs in which the community has full confidence.

KRA 4, “Stakeholder Satisfaction,” is all about outcomes, about reviewing our success in the above areas from the point of view of our major constituencies—current and prospective students, faculty, staff, and alumni. If these groups are satisfied with their experience of RIT, we will see positive results across all KRA’s.

Founded in community-held values, principles, and aspirations, Imagine RIT is a highly results-oriented plan, constructed on the premise that the identification and attainment of the proper quantifiable goals and outcomes ensure the measured achievement of our strategic destination. The core of Imagine RIT is its 14 Strategic Goals, each of which is expressed in distinctly measurable terms and tied to a sequence of annual targets that extend to the year 2015 (?). Most of the 14 strategic goals are further developed by a set of closely related “performance commitments” also tied to annual targets. The annual targets do not appear in the Strategic Plan proper, but they inform the Strategic Plan scorecard, which records annual results for each goal and allows the university community to review our strategic progress at a glance.