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2020 Visioning Summits Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the vision?

If this initiative is successful, we will have created a compelling mental image of what we want UC Merced to be like in 2020 and beyond. Once developed, we will have a strategic tool that we can use to inform, inspire and guide our work.

Who should participate in creating the vision?

This effort is open to everyone in the UC Merced community. In fact, the greater the participation, the better the chance of success. Therefore, we want to generate ideas, insights and feedback from as many faculty, staff and students as possible across the entire campus. 

What is the timeline?

On March 8-9, 2016, the campus held two all-day, campuswide summits and launch an online tool where we encouraged students, faculty and staff to co-create a vision with us.

  • March 8-9 Summits: Staff and faculty representing a broad cross section of our campus community participated in the visioning summit on campus.
  • March 8-9, Virtual Summit Gatherings: The events were livestreamed from the Gallo Gymnasium and using a customized online tool, “Covision,” that enabled participation in the day’s events online.
  • March 21st-April 4th Asynchronous Summit: For those not available to participate on March 8-9, the notes and presentations will be made available for input between March 21st and April 4th.
  • April 21st, 2016: A second summit was held for the campus community to review the shared vision that we will have developed and the steps we can take to get there.

What is “Covision” and how does it work?

The March 8-9 events and the Asynchronous Summit used “Covision”, a software platform that runs in a web browser featuring a set of simple tools to support stakeholder input.

During each of the summits, questions were posed in the browser. Responses are posted in a reply box, and all posts are shared in a readable file. Regardless of which summit you participate in, only a web browser will be required to view information and contribute ideas. A “theme team” looks at your input and collates your feedback into overarching themes and these themes will be discussed in a town hall meeting format. 

In order to maximize the experience during the summits, we encouraged all who wished to participate to do so via a hardwired ethernet connection, rather than by wi-fi. We also encouraged those who participated remotely to do so in groups of three to five. 

By mid-2016, we will conclude the process with the public release of the Vision and Change Alignment Map. Our hope is to have this remain a living document that will guide our work as we move forward together.

What happens at the events?

The summits will be interactive, fast-paced and graphically facilitated by The Grove Consultants International, recognized leaders in this field. They successfully guided strategic visioning efforts with the National Science Foundation, Yosemite National Park, Nike, Levi Strauss and recently with our own School of Engineering to help them to create a vision and develop an aligned operational strategy.

  • You will learn about UC Merced’s current and near-term challenges and opportunities.
  • You will share your perspective, and hear those of others, regarding UC Merced’s long-term future.
  • You will respond, react and develop upon the preliminary shared visioning work developed by campus leadership.
  • You will participate in the launch of an ongoing dialogue about the future of the university.

What topics were covered?

The summits were focused on developing a comprehensive vision of the campus as we move toward the year 2020. Given the extended timeframe, you can expect thoughtful, broad stroke, high-level discussions on our academic mission, how we work together and how we define a successful student experience.

• The March summits focused on the questions “Why Change” and “What is Our Future Vision”.

• The April summit focused on how the “Future State Vision” evolved based on the input from the March summits, how we can move to action and what principles and priorities are needed to manage all of our change projects successfully.

Who sponsored and supported this initiative?

This effort is broadly supported by campus leadership with the full backing of both the Chancellor and the Provost.

They have charged a special team to lead this process called the Change Alignment Team or CAT. CAT is co-chaired by Michael Reese, Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services, and Erik Rolland, former interim dean of the School of Engineering and faculty in Management currently tasked to help lead this change effort from the faculty side.

Joining them are:

  • Andy Boyd, Executive Director, Business and Finance Strategic Initiatives Center
  • Gregg Camfield, Vice Provost, Faculty
  • Richard Cummings, Division of Planning and Budget
  • Brian Gresham, Director of Administrative Operations and Financial Planning, Division of Student Affairs
  • Ann Kovalchick, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer
  • Brian Powell, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
  • Jason Martin, Organizational Development Consultant, Business and Finance Strategic Initiatives Center
  • Anthony Sali, Strategic Initiatives and Communications Coordinator, School of Natural Sciences
  • Susan Sims, Chief of Staff to the Provost