Eight common themes emerged from more than 2,000 comments provide at the four Phase Four Town Halls. They are presented in rank order by frequency among all comments. The first four themes received, by far, the most comments.
Each theme includes a key insight that is derived from responses participants gave when asked to complete the following prompts: I like... I wish... I wonder.... Visit the themes sorted by prompt to review the sub-themes.
Review the Summary of Phase Four Input to learn more about how these themes emerged and what their impacts are on Think Big.
The Strategy and the Process
Insight: By far, the most common theme was an encouraging response to the strategy, the process that created it, and to specific elements within it. Within this Common Theme, affirmations for specific strategy elements outnumbered positive comments about the overall strategy and the process 3 to 1. It is especially encouraging that we have a strategy that can be expressed simply (though it needs refinement), but is not simplistic. There are many ways for individuals to see themselves in the strategic direction. At the same time, we hear that we must double down on inclusiveness and think more broadly about engaging the entire campus. There is still much work to be done. The ideas need to be more refined, and as we move to implementation we must become more detailed and specific in our thinking and the guidance provided to campus.
Insight: This university is longing for culture change in the face of challenging circumstances. We seek a unifying purpose and way of striving together, and we believe these early thoughts from Think Big point us in a productive direction. The Think Big process serves as a proof-of-concept about what broad engagement in pursuit of a shared vision can look like. The marketing research revealed that an important path to long-term success is for individuals to take greater ownership in our collective success. There is undeniable energy for growing on this dimension. The invitation for more participants to be part of this effort remains open and welcoming.
Organizational, Structural and Academic Implications
Key Insight: Details. Details. Details. The Think Big strategy sets the right direction, but success is all about implementation. Individuals on campus long for guidance on how they can contribute. And, as is to be expected, there is curiosity about the impact this thinking will have on our organization. All good questions. Another thread that emerged in this Common Theme is our commitment to upholding academic rigor through this process.
Implementing the Strategy
Key Insight: There is a great desire to take hold of the strategy and implement it. Individuals want to know how they can be set up to succeed, what resources might be made available, and how they can help. This is an invigorating and encouraging response. The University’s senior leadership has already moved on some fronts, but there will be much more to come as implementation reaches full speed.
Generative Ideas or Refinements
Key Insight: The Think Big strategy elicited numerous ideas about how to improve it. As a portion of all comments, no single idea surfaced as a common theme. However, a lot of excellent thinking was offered. These comments have been and will be used as we work on implementing Think Big.
Plans for responding to the data
Key Insight: Like all good research, the findings led to more questions. In particular, what we can do to change perceptions among high school guidance counselors and prospective students.
Improving Marketing and Communications
Key Insight: We all want stronger, more focused and more compelling marketing and communications. The Think Big strategy provides the platform needed to deliver that.
Paying for it
Key Insight: As with any new initiative there are natural questions about how we will pay for it.