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Susan MartinThe Office of the Provost will take the lead this semester in launching VOL Vision, a planning process to engage the campus in a robust dialog regarding UT Knoxville’s future.

I hope that each of you will consider joining us in this important activity.

The VOL Vision process will build upon earlier efforts to create a campus strategic plan. Our most recent effort, during the 2007-08 academic year, involved 150 faculty, staff and students in discussions about campus priorities. As significant changes have occurred in the state and nation’s economic and higher education setting, it is now time to bring our campus community back together for these vital discussions.

It is more important than ever to understand as a campus who we are, where we are going, and how we will get there. VOL Vision will provide that roadmap by laying out a campus vision and statement of strategic priorities for the coming years. We hope to produce a finalized plan by mid-fall semester 2010.

Later this month, we will ask for your feedback in a variety of ways on new materials which are based on past drafts and a recent visit with our external consultant, Kathleen Paris of the University of Wisconsin’s Office of Quality Improvement.

Faculty members Ed Cortez, Joan Heminway and Dixie Thompson, who currently represent our campus as fellows in the Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program, will lead the feedback process by engaging faculty, staff, administrators and students to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns.

Our goal is to formalize a plan that represents the best thinking on how UT Knoxville will navigate a challenging and sometimes uncertain future, but also one that brings unparalleled opportunities.

We will keep you posted about this effort. You will receive additional information soon about several opportunities to be involved in this process. We look forward to engaging with you in this process, and we welcome all of your suggestions and comments. Thank you for all that you do for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.