A Letter from Dr. Jake Bucher

“The Reciprocal Determinism of Doing and Dreaming”

For those who were able to attend the October Town Hall, you heard the President’s goal for a “culture of planning.” With the University Strategic Plan and Enrollment Plan finalized, the draft of the Academic Plan is now available for review. I will reiterate that this is a draft, shared in the spirit of collaboration. The work that the Academic Affairs Leadership Team and I have put into the draft is intended to provide vision and broad parameters, and we turn to you now for feedback on things that are unclear, unnecessary, inappropriate, and/or missing – as well as things that are valued and/or vital. I would personally appreciate your engagement both for how you see the overall Academic Plan, as well as how you see yourself fitting into it and being a bearer of it.

I won’t risk redundancy by restating what is in the opening comments of the plan, but I will highlight a couple of things. First, you’ll notice that this is a three-year plan. As we all know, three years can be a blip in higher education – and so it might not seem to be enough time to make impactful changes. Still, I think where our work is most impactful is work that can be done – and needs to be done – soon to steady us so that we are ready for larger/longer work. Related, strategic plans are often inspirational, designed to create excitement about “newness.” Throughout my career I have found success justifying excitement by delivering on big new ideas, and so I worry that this plan lacks that dramatic newness, that new ahead-of-market program, that it is the equivalent of going to the doctor for a cure and getting a prescription for better diet and more exercise. But again, I believe we have to do the things listed in the plan so that we may then dream big – and a period of doing rather than dreaming is the most strategic thing for us at this time.

While I have worked to provide a vision and guidance for the plan, it is ultimately our plan and as we enter this phase of its development – I hope you’ll engage and share supports and endorsements, and criticisms and suggestions, for how this advances Academic Affairs and our institution, and for how it frames opportunities and outcomes in your specific work. Please see the following opportunities for engagement:

Open Forums/Discussions (brief overview of drafted plan, followed by discussion):

  • November 13 9-10 a.m. (Zoom)
  • November 16 3-4 p.m. in Claver 315
  • November 17 11 a.m.-noon in Claver 315
  • November 22 11 a.m.-noon (Zoom)
  • December 4 noon-1 p.m. in Claver 315
  • December 13 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Zoom)

Individual/Open Office Hours in the Provost Suite:

  • November 27 and December 11 from 9-10am
  • November 30 and December 7 from 2-3pm
  • December 1, December 8, and December 15 from 11am-1230pm

Anonymous Feedback


If the above dates and times do not fit your availability, please reach out directly and we will find time to meet. Similarly, if there are any units who would like a separate whole-unit conversation, please let me know.