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Oldham announces strategic plan 'on steroids'

By Sarah Reese
On January 31, 2013

President Philip Oldham's dream for Tech is taking flight this semester with the release of Flight Plan: Focused for the Future. The strategic plan involves four focus areas and key goals aimed to better several aspects of Tech's campus.
"It's a strategic plan on steroids" said Oldham. "What Flight Plan really did was look at the competitive marketplace for higher education. It's a very data driven process to see how we stack up against other institutions and how can we go about addressing those differences."
Oldham developed Flight Plan in October of last year. The president and his development team met with a company of consultants before branching out to faculty, staff, students and alumni to obtain feedback and suggestions.
The combination of these ideas resulted in the four focuses of Flight Plan.
The plan aims to improve the undergraduate experience and transform the campus' technology. It also plans to create distinctive programs while invigorating the faculty and expand financial resources while modernizing the campus' infrastructure.
Flight Plan is not an experiment for the president. Oldham said he has seen success with this kind of planning in previous years.
"There was a program like this in place at UTC when I accepted this position. It was very successful," said Oldham.
Flight Plan is still in the preparation phase. A projected date for completion has not been set.
Oldham, however, is confident that ideas will become projects within the next two months.
"It's critical that we move into implementation as rapidly as possible," said Oldham. "My goal would be by the end of February, first of March to be out of the planning phase and into implementing the strategies that move us forward."
A plan with such high ambitions will require significant funding. Oldham is adamant that Flight Plan's goals fit well within the University's budget.
"It doesn't affect the amount of resources we have to allocate. However, when we start to allocate those resources, we'll be looking at it through new lenses. We'll be asking if those resources are furthering our goals," said Oldham.
Oldham and his committee are still encouraging students to express their ideas and suggestions. "Students can respond electronically and we're cataloging that. In fact, I'm reading most of them myself. But if students or groups want to come to me and have those conversations, those are the kinds of conversations we're looking to have." 
Many students who are aware of Flight Plan are optimistic about its goals and objectives.
Courtney Walker, sophomore agriculture business major, remarked on the plan's implementation.
"I'm excited to see this plan in action," said Walker. "I'm going to be here for a few more years so I'm anxious to see the changes. I would really like to get involved in the feedback and share my ideas."
For other students interested in submitting commentary to the Flight Plan committee, visit tntech.edu/flightplan/home.


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