Provost Peter Kilpatrick, Deputy Vice Provost Joseph Orgel, and Dean of Students Katherine Stetz joined Student Government Association (SGA) senators Wednesday night to share the university’s strategic goals. The goals are coming from the as-of-yet unreleased strategic plan, which aims to replace the previous five year strategic plan “Many Voices. One Vision. 2014-2019.” The new plan is set to be released at the end of October.
The provost outlined four “strategic priorities” in the plan: “grow and develop the student body," increase the university’s ranking as a top-level technological university, increase the university’s financial standing, and lead the “development and delivery” of education.
Stetz, who spoke before the provost, said this presentation was the result of SGA members working with her over the summer more this summer than in the 18 years she has worked at Illinois Tech.
Kilpatrick said the new strategic plan “really is in many ways a continuation of that plan and in many ways is a pretty bold shift from that plan.”
“The focus of the plan is, probably more than it's ever been, is on undergraduate students,” Kilpatrick said, later adding, “the number one strategic priority in the plan is to grow and develop the student body, with an increased emphasis on student success during your time here at Illinois Tech and after graduation.”
This is the same phrasing used in the previous plan’s first strategic priority: “Growth and Development of the Student Body.”
The second priority of the University, according to Kilpatrick, “is to fully realize our identity as the premier technological university in Chicago and top 5 in the country.” He ambitiously compared Illinois Tech to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Georgia Tech, CalTech, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
Increasing the university’s financial standing is the third strategic priority. To explain the need for this, the provost said “Illinois Tech, for a long time, was kind of on the ragged edge of our revenues exceeding our expenses.”
This prompted a later question from SGA president Eric Scott about tuition raises. Kilpatrick responded by saying “that’s not how we planned to increase [revenue].”
In an interview, Scott said of Kilpatrick “I’m very glad he was here. I can very much get behind a lot of the initiatives he brought up.”
When pushed to talk more about his question about tuition raises, Scott said, “It would be my ultimate goal to ensure that any students who are struggling financially could continue their enrollment at IIT even with a tuition increase. I would like to get that guarantee from Kilpatrick and Cramb.”
The final strategic priority, as phrased by Kilpatrick, is “to be a leading university in the development and the delivery of education and research programs.” This includes developing programs in microdegrees, certifications, and other programs that cater to non-traditional and mid-career students. Kilpatrick cited larger trends in the higher education industry as the impetus for this push.
Taylor Muñoz, from Vandercook College of Music, and Vincent Yu, from the College of Science, were also confirmed as senators at the meeting.