Tell us about the process and/or journey the university undertook to implement its strategy?
I’ve been in this position for five years. I’m the second person to hold the position, so when I came on board, we developed the global strategic plan for the university. We did that through engaging every possible partner on campus. We spoke with deans of different colleges and schools, we spoke with department chairs, we spoke with faculty members and faculty committees, we spoke with international students, we spoke with student affairs colleagues, we spoke with everyone we could to say; ‘What does it mean for you, where you sit with your work? What does it mean for Notre Dame to be the premier global Catholic University in the world? What does it mean to be an international institution? What can we, as an office, do to help facilitate your goals and dreams? Again, bringing them into the process, so that they have a stake in making us more international. All of that listening to and then working with our Office of Strategic Planning to create a four-point plan for the university.
They were, firstly, to strengthen our global gateways and centres – all of the research platforms and study abroad platforms we have all around the world; that we be recognised as a leader in the field of global education and make sure that we’re all going out into the world and presenting what we do differently; supporting global faculty research and then finally, internationalising the campus at home.
So, no matter who you are on campus, you should be able to plug into one of those four key areas and feel that you have a role to play and you’re obligated to play it. That process has been great. We’ve had to over-communicate everything, we’ve had to make sure the lines of communication remain open. We’ve also had to work on cultivating better relationships – both on campus and off – to make all that happen. And that starts to become an iterative process, where people feel more and more comfortable doing that and understand that it’s expected, and that allows us to get to our goals. That’s what we’ve seen so that’s been really exciting and rewarding.