Updated Plan for Pitt will be a 'living document,' Gallagher says

Slide fro chancellor's presentation on Plan for Pitt differences


The five-year Plan for Pitt presented by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher to the Board of Trustees last week is still the final draft — board members have until the September meeting to weigh in with any comments — but implementation of the first concrete actions should begin this fall, the chancellor said.


The Board of Trustees welcomed three new members and paid tribute to Kathy Humphrey, outgoing senior vice chancellor of Engagement and secretary to the Board of Trustees. Read more on Pittwire.

While the new strategic goals differ from the previous Plan for Pitt in the way they’re organized — now three pillars stressing “our people, our programs and our purpose,” instead of six focus areas — Gallagher said the biggest difference is how the plan is integrated into the University’s budget management and operations and strengthens Pitt’s ability to execute its goals.

“The implementation planning is dramatically scaled up from what we had five years ago,” he said. “We have the school and program-based planning that was very strong, but we now have a robust University-wide campus program that is integrated with our annual budget and our management tracking programs.

“This takes the framework and each year develops concrete initiatives and actions that are defined, tracked, funded and carried out,” he said. “This is where measurable objectives are laid out, where the funding and budgets and the responsibility for these programs is established, and then when these projects are successfully completed, advances our progress toward our strategic goals.”

The new Project and Portfolio Management Office, under the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, will help manage University-wide projects and provide tools and guidance for unit-level projects. It will both support and enhance the shared governance processes, a University spokesman said, and be separate from the University Planning and Budgeting Committee.

“In the months ahead, members of the PPMO will begin developing implementation plans related to specific Plan for Pitt initiatives,” the spokesman said. “The members will be considering the governance of these initiatives — and the strategic plan more broadly — as they engage in this work.”

The office will be led by Melissa Schild, assistant vice chancellor for Strategic Planning and Performance, who also was the lead on the developing the new Plan for Pitt.

The University also is in the middle of developing a new responsibility center management budget model, which gives more budgetary authority and autonomy to schools. The Pitt spokesman said, “It will also include central strategic investment funds that can be allocated to University-wide initiatives. A governance structure for this new model is under development and will be relevant to the distribution of these strategic funds.”

Gallagher emphasized to the Board of Trustees that, “The plan I’m presenting today is not mine. This is very much a collective effort across the entire University involving key stakeholders from within and from without the University.”

The process started in 2019 with more than 100 people involved in the steering and goal committees. Hundreds more participated in workshops, responded to surveys and submitted ideas.

“The document we will look at today is really the North Star for our strategic efforts,” Gallagher told the board. “It lays out the direction … we’re going as a University and it starts with two things: one is our mission and value — the stable steady part of our direction — but it also layers in the strategic actions that we need to take in response to the changing environment around us that will shape our actions so that we can be successful in our mission.”

The three pillars of the plan are:

  • Our People: We are a diverse community of scholars, learners, partners and leaders dedicated to a common cause: the pursuit of knowledge.

  • Our Programs: Our initiatives and operations fuel opportunities of the highest quality in three key areas: academic excellence, research and scholarship, and community service.

  • Our Purpose: We improve lives and communities — at every scale — by creating knowledge and leveraging our expertise to tackle some of society’s greatest and most pressing challenges.

“This plan is the start and not the finish,” Gallagher said. “I hope it does not live, even though it’s a very attractive document, on a coffee table. I hope it’s a working document that drives our planning each and every year.”

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 724-244-4042.


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