THE PROCESS of the consolidation of Augusta State University (ASU) and Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) has created the opportunity for what we strongly believe can be the next great American university, Augusta University (Augusta University).
This Strategic Plan is our map outlining the initial steps of this journey, and these first steps are critical. We know that the transition from "good" to "great" will not happen overnight and that, although we now have one name and one leadership, the act of consolidation has only just begun. To this end, we must position ourselves competitively in order to meet the challenges of today and realize our vision for becoming a great comprehensive research institution tomorrow.
For clarity's sake we note that we use the term "research" to mean that research and discovery are part of the mission of the university; although it does not mean that every faculty member will be expected to be a researcher. In turn, the term "comprehensive" is used aspirationally. While Augusta University certainly encompasses a broad range of disciplines, we do recognize that it will take us a number of years to achieve true comprehensive results.
As you read through this plan it is important that each of us, as individuals, see ourselves within the Strategic Plan; in turn, each unit—department, center, office, college, etc.—should also see its own path somewhere in the plan. For the plan articulates the direction that the entire enterprise should be taking and that all of us should embrace. While we may not all agree on every single point presented, as with any collective process, the plan represents our best attempts at creating consensus on the institution's strategic direction and priorities.
The strategic plan begins with the mission and values of the institution, which infuse the vision statement of what Augusta University will become in the future—for both the short and the long term. Subsequently, the plan outlines six Strategic Priorities, for the university and health system, which prioritize the use of resources and effort. These Strategic Priorities are the roads we should travel on, or the directions we should take, as seen from 30,000 feet—those big, visionary, and sometimes-obvious concepts of what we should be.
Under each Strategic Priority are a series of Organizational Goals. These are the
more specific outcomes we, as a collective enterprise, intend to achieve under each
Priority. Each Organizational Goal is described in a brief paragraph. And we decided
that rather than including specific tactics or objectives, we would leave these up
to each individual unit to formulate and craft.
Instead, we include a statement of how these goals might be implemented. In fact, the descriptive paragraphs outlining each Organizational Goal are not intended to provide tactical prescriptions, but rather to give units across the enterprise ideas or suggestions as to how we might accomplish each goal. Notably, the ideas in these statements are not intended to be all-inclusive, and each unit should feel free to come up with innovative ways to meet the intent of the Organizational Goals most pertinent to their unit.
As we travel into the future, building a new comprehensive public research university, the fourth such institution in the state and the only public institution with an integrated academic health center in Georgia, we need to take this Strategic Plan with us as a guide.
Finally, the plan is designed to take the enterprise—the whole of the university, its aligned health system, and our branch campuses across Georgia and around the world—down the road toward success—but for no more than the first five years of Augusta University's existence. As for all transformational initiatives, flexibility will be important, with the plan requiring periodic assessment, and reorientation if needed. The Strategic Plan should not be a document pulled out and dusted off once a year, but a plan that we absorb and breathe. It should be a guide that shapes our hard work and budgeting plans as we move forward—together. And we recognize that in short course a new plan may need to be crafted to meet the changing conditions and the expected growth of the university and health system. That will only happen with each of our focused and dedicated efforts.