What is SDI?
The UA Strategic Direction Initiative (SDI) is an organizational change effort that seeks to:
- Embed continuous improvement in the University culture
- Identify and resolve problems related to functions and services offered to our stakeholders
- Enhance flexibility within the University System to meet the changing needs of students
- Develop our responsiveness to the State and Global issues that affect the University’s environment
- Seek and build on innovations that could return value to the University and the State of Alaska
- Create awareness that the University of Alaska has a tremendous economic impact on Alaska’s public and private business sectors
- Support leadership that creates a climate of constructive change, innovation, and advancement of our mission
Based on listening sessions across the state, UA is thoroughly examining constituent comments and will be using this information, along with other existing information, in realigning, reshaping, and retooling itself to meet the educational needs of the future.
What does SDI stand for?
SDI stands for the University of Alaska Strategic Direction Initiative. It’s part of Shaping Alaska’s
A project to recognize the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines
And to celebrate and accelerate its transformation into a 21st century Statewide system for higher education and workforce development.
What is your role with SDI?
Help identify the issues/problems,
Help determine the change we want to achieve, and help identify the best path toward progress in achieving that change.
It is everyone’s role to be a part of shaping Alaska’s future and support the change efforts that will make us a better and stronger University in the 21st Century.
Be proactive, ask questions of your Department manager, your dean, or anyone in a leadership role and find out how you can get involved.
What are the guiding principles?
- There is no timeline. The idea is to get it right not get it fast.
- SDI is about making our culture more focused on continuous improvement, especially with respect to student success and service to students.
- We want to effect changes that will make us the “University of Choice” for our stakeholders.
Who is involved in the SDI Effort?
Students, staff, faculty, alumni, and any citizen who is interested in the state of higher education in Alaska. Each of these groups makes up our stakeholders.
What is the SDI process?
- Faculty, staff, students and alumni wrote questions about issues that were important to a University of Alaska education.
- UA held 80 listening sessions to gather information from all stakeholders.
- UA summarized information gathered.
- UA will identify where we have a problem or issue. We identify the problems/issues that should be addressed and investigate them.
- Determine what results are desirable – this may be a benchmark level we will work to achieve or simply an indication we want to improve in this area.
- Faculty and staff will identify a collection of paths that can be taken to achieve the desired results. The resource requirements and cost benefit of each path will be assessed.
- Determine which path is best to achieve the desired results. Faculty and staff will pick this path.
- Implement and monitor the changes or innovations made. Continue to assess our achievements and move toward ongoing improvements.
What problems will be working on?
We do not know the full extent of the issues or problems we will be working on, but we do know some of the directions that have arisen in our Listening process so far. They include:
- Enhanced advising services to help more students achieve their educational objectives
- Growing our technology to meet the needs of all our students in both rural and urban Alaska
- A transparent seamless flow between our Universities that breaks down barriers for students and those serving their needs
- Timely communication throughout our campuses
- Building on organizational transparency, professional development and continuing education
- Supporting flexible methods of providing instruction to a diversified student body
What Themes Are Emerging?
UA President Pat Gamble set the tone for leaders attending the Strategic Direction Initiative meeting in Fairbanks on July 23. He challenged the three Chancellors, their leadership teams, statewide leaders, along with faculty, staff, alumni and student governance leaders who took part in the meeting to take the necessary steps to bring about needed change in the university. During the meeting five themes began to emerge.
The five Strategic Direction (draft) themes are:
- Student Achievement and Attainment
- Productive Partnerships with Alaska’s Schools
- Productive Partnerships with Public Entities and Private Industries
- Research and Development to Sustain Alaska’s Communities and Economic Growth
- Accountability to the People of Alaska
To find out more about SDI Projects in Action, please click here.