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The 2020-2025 Biological Sciences Strategic Plan

Contents

Contents

Introduction

Strategic Plan Framework

BIO Core Values

A Framework for the Future: Focus Areas and Goals

Biological Sciences Strategic Plan Alignment with the College Plan

Strategic Planning Process

Acknowledgments

 

Introduction

The Department of Biological Sciences (BIO) is one of seven exceptional departments within the College of Science (COS) at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP).  As one of only eight polytechnic universities in the United States, we offer a unique educational experience designed to foster real-world education through a ‘learn-by-doing philosophy.’ Our BIO faculty and staff are committed to preparing students to succeed in their chosen field.  We offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Biology as well as minors in Botany, Microbiology and Zoology.  The Master of Science Degree in Biological Sciences enhances knowledge and competence of the student in his or her field of specialization and develops skills for further specialized training on the Ph.D. level. Graduates of our programs proceed to contribute to the biotechnology industry, environmental sciences, agriculture, medical sciences and education. As we move forward, we commit to increase the department’s value to the COS by preparing graduates who are leaders in discovering how living systems work and interact with the environment.

"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed" – Charles Darwin

Ángel A. Valdés, Ph.D., Department Chair & Professor

 

Strategic Plan Framework

The BIO strategic plan was developed using an inclusive and collaborative process that invited a variety of key stakeholders to participate. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with faculty, staff, and students, to gain a thorough understanding of the current situation and desired future outcomes of this department. In total, just under 1,500 comments were analyzed to develop this plan.

The vision, mission, and values established as part of the COS strategic plan hold true for its departments and all members of the organization. But departments within a college or organization have essential roles and responsibilities in making the vision reality.  The primary functions of this strategic plan are two-fold: 1) to understand the unique role of BIO in helping to fulfill the COS strategic plan and, 2) to articulate what the college-wide core values mean for BIO’s decision-making and organizational interactions. It is only through clear understanding of both that allows the department to then set clear, specific goals and management strategies needed to realize its strategic objective. The plan serves as the BIO strategic objective from 2020 to 2025. The goals described in this plan will better define the role that research has in preparing students for careers in biological science, promote a supportive and inclusive culture and focus on partnerships that provide high quality facilities to further faculty and student success through research and learning.

The COS Vision

Fostering curiosity and a culture of scientific discovery

The COS Mission

Educate, mentor, and inspire students through scientific inquiry and hands-on learning

The BIO Strategic Objective

We discover how living systems work and interact with the environment. 

COS Core Values

Core values are the basis upon which we strategize, make decisions, and interact with each other and our stakeholders. The values of Curiosity, Integrity, Collaboration, Inclusivity and Innovation represent what is important to the whole of the College of Science. 

 

BIO Core Values

BIO has added definitions representing cornerstone behaviors we embrace to shape the culture we desire. These principles guide our internal conduct and external relationships to ensure we stay true to our strategic objective and provide a critical foundation for developing the goals and strategies that follow in this plan.

CURIOSITY

We embrace a culture that engages and values the desire to discover and learn about biology.

INTEGRITY

We promote open, honest and respectful communication in our research, teaching, meetings and publications.

COLLABORATION

We advance collaboration through a commitment to learning, scientific discovery, collegiality, communication and consensus.

INCLUSIVITY

We value and empower everyone to contribute in meaningful ways while maintaining professionalism and collegiality.

INNOVATION

We stimulate creative thinking to promote scientific discovery and student success.

 

A Framework for the Future: Focus Areas and Goals

The focus areas and goals described in this section address existing and developing issues, challenges and opportunities that we have identified as most important to the current and future vitality of education. These goals resulted from a thorough analysis of department practices, opportunities, challenges and organizational member values, including faculty, staff and student input.

Each focus area is supported by one or more goals and a number of strategies which in turn are supported by planned actions. Detailed operational plans will be developed and implemented annually in support of the goals outlined here.

Focus area: Student Sucess

Goal #1: Biological Sciences creates an environment that supports learning, growth, well-being, and an appreciation of all forms of diversity. 

Goal #2: Biological Sciences prepares students through excellence in teaching and advising to succeed professionally and to improve society and the environment.

Focus area: Research and Teaching

Goal #3: Biological Sciences creates an inclusive teaching and research environment that builds critical thinking, problem solving and confidence.

Goal #4: Biological Sciences engages faculty and students in high quality research.

Goal #5: Biological Sciences prepares graduate students of diverse backgrounds for research and  professional careers.

Focus area: Collegiality and Professionalism

Goal #6: Biological Sciences fosters leadership and development opportunities and celebrates professional excellence in a collaborative environment.

Goal #7: Biological Sciences provides a supportive environment for students, faculty, and staff that is grounded in open, democratic, inclusive, and collegial communication.

Focus area: Resources and Facilities

Goal #8: Biological Sciences provides access to high quality facilities and resources for teaching, learning, and research.

 

Biological Sciences Strategic Plan Alignment with the College Plan

BIO Strategic Plan

COS Strategic Plan Focus Areas

FOCUS AREA: STUDENT SUCCESS

Goal #1: Biological Sciences creates an environment that supports learning, growth, well-being, and an appreciation of all forms of diversity. 

Goal #2: Biological Sciences prepares students through excellence in teaching and advising to succeed professionally and to improve society and the environment.

FOCUS AREA: STUDENT SUCCESS FOR ALL

 

FOCUS AREA: RESEARCH AND TEACHING

Goal #3: Biological Sciences creates an inclusive teaching and research environment that builds critical thinking, problem solving and confidence

Goal #4: Biological Sciences engages faculty and students in high quality research.

Goal #5: Biological Sciences prepares graduate students of diverse backgrounds for research and professional careers.

FOCUS AREA:  TEACHING AND RESEARCH ARE THE CORE OF THE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE (COS)

 

FOCUS AREA: COLLEGIALITY AND PROFESSIONALISM

Goal #6: Biological Sciences fosters leadership and development opportunities and celebrates professional excellence in a collaborative environment.

Goal #7: Biological Sciences provides a supportive environment for students, faculty, and staff that is grounded in open, democratic, inclusive, and collegial communication.

FOCUS AREA: BUILDING A THRIVING CULTURE

 

FOCUS AREA: RESOURCES AND FACILITIES

Goal #8: Biological Sciences provides access to high quality facilities and resources for teaching, learning, and research.

FOCUS AREA: RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND GROWTH

 

Strategic Planning Process

The College of Science Department of Biological Sciences established a strategic planning team in January 2020.  From January 2020 through May 2020, the core team followed a Strategic Directioning framework and the Organizations of Character ModelTM [1] to ensure a comprehensive work product that addressed planning needs as well as successful plan implementation. A subgroup continued to develop details of the plan over summer 2020, with the full team conducting its final review in October 2020. The following list describes the processes and decisions the team worked through during development of this plan.

  1. Agree to project scope and timeline and adjusting to move online with shorter duration meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Initialize understanding of the “current situation”.
    • Identify key stakeholders: BIO Faculty, Staff, and Students.
    • Gather a variety of stakeholder input through focus groups and one-to-one interviews.
      1. Face-to-face focus group sessions

Each focus group was asked the same questions to understand what key indicators represent BIO future success, behaviors that are working and behaviors that are not working, what the group needs most from BIO.

  1. Define Cornerstone behaviors to create a conscious understanding around each COS core value
    • Identify ways to demonstrate and connect the core values with each key stakeholder
  2. Faculty, Students, Staff and University/COS peers
  3. Claim the future by discussing important goals, feedback and what success looks like.
    • Analyze and identify themes from all information received.
    • In context of the COS vision and mission, identify the BIO strategic objective
  4. The strategic objective is the long-term desired condition or change resulting from departmental work and programs. It is what makes the department different and why it matters to the COS.
    • Identify goals and strategies to further the department strategic objective and the COS vision and mission.
    • Prioritize Year 1 strategies.
  5. Provide opportunity for stakeholder feedback to the draft plan.
  6. Finalize strategic plan.

[1] The Organizations of Character ModelTM can be found on the K2OHSolution website https://www.k2ohsolutions.com/organizational-development/

Acknowledgments

We owe enormous thanks to the many individuals who volunteered their opinions, shared their knowledge, participated in focus groups or interviews, donated their time and helped develop this plan. Thank you to our students for their honest and constructive feedback. Finally, thank you Dean Baski for her generous support of the BIO Strategic Planning Team.

Strategic Planning Team

Ed Bobich

Nancy E. Buckley

Wei-Jen Lin

Erin Questad

Elizabeth Scordato

Jamie C. Snyder

Ángel A. Valdés

Yuanxiang (Ansel) Zhao