We’ve received a number of requests to provide an update on the University Libraries’ strategic directions process, both from colleagues inside and outside of Ohio State.

So, here it is…

We recently conducted a series of focus groups with internal and external stakeholders to gather input from diverse voices as we review and redefine our strategic intent. Faculty, students, academic and administrative leaders, donors, and Libraries faculty and staff participated in a series of facilitated discussions designed to gather perspectives on current activities and elicit suggestions for future directions. Libraries faculty and staff also participated in sessions designed to create a better understanding of our shared organizational values and vision.

The results from these activities are in, and we are learning a lot from what stakeholders are telling us. Our facilitators reported out the following high-level themes for planning, gleaned from more detailed input.* Our stakeholders are asking us to focus on:

Visibility and positioning of the Libraries

Being more visible in and across the campus community and beyond; more engaged in partnerships, research, teaching, etc.

Specialized skill development in the Libraries and collaborative initiatives

Examples include translational data analytics, data visualization, specific language skills, project management and more

Scalable and ongoing methods for working with librarians

In instruction, interdisciplinary projects and programs, research practices, technology applications, metadata

Content and access

Digital and print resources and access tools as well as physical facilities

Communication and marketing

Telling the Libraries’ story and strengthening support

Culture shift in higher education

Higher education is changing and OSU’s culture is changing, toward greater collaboration and interdependence across the organization

Libraries’ organizational culture

Speed and transparency of decision making, empowerment of staff at all levels, ongoing needs for learning and growth, and opportunity to align all libraries and faculty/staff under one umbrella

From these high-level planning themes, our Strategic Planning Group extracted the following topic areas for deeper exploration/environmental scanning by breakout groups, drawn from our newly-formed Management Committee:

Innovative models for supporting/leveraging

  • Teaching & Learning (1)
  • Research (2)
  • Land Grant/Outreach & Engagement (3)

New/Specialized Skill Development (4)

Scaling Services and Service Relationships (5)

Improving Discovery, Access and Usability of Content and Expertise (6)

Culture Shifts in Higher Education

  • Affordability/Access (7)
  • Interdependency/Partnership/Leadership roles (8)

Building an Empowering Organizational Culture (9)

In the December/January timeframe, reports covering these nine broad topic areas will be reviewed by both the full Management Committee and the Strategic Planning Group and used, along with stakeholder feedback, to draft a set of strategic directions to be shared with all Libraries faculty and staff and external stakeholders for feedback and iterative improvement. Also in this timeframe, the Strategic Planning Group will summarize and refine the results of the values and vision sessions, also to be shared broadly for additional input.

In the February/March timeframe, the Strategic Planning Group will incorporate values and vision statements into the draft strategic directions document, craft a communications/dissemination strategy for both internal and external constituents, solicit and incorporate another round of feedback, and massage the document into its final form.

The plan is to finalize our new Strategic Directions by the end of March, and then launch departmental goal setting activities, aligned with this strategic intent.

And then we’ll iterate our way into the future within our new agile management framework. But, more on that in a future post…

Wish us luck!

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries

* A reminder to OSUL faculty and staff that strategic directions information, including reports from stakeholder sessions, timelines, draft documents, etc. is available for your review here in Buckeye Box.