The following excerpt is from President Rosenberg's Memo regarding iREAL

Although we have two years remaining in our current World’s Ahead Strategic Plan 2010-2015, I would like to initiate a robust discussion and the development of the 2015-2020 strategic plan to be conducted over the next fifteen months. The 2010-2015 strategic plan, built around the concept paper “Hit the Ground Running” and subsequent working papers written by faculty and staff under Provost Wartzok’s direction, has proved to be a worthy guide for academic planning and implementation at FIU. This approach has served us well in guiding decision-making and program development. By most indicators, we are on, or ahead of, our targets.

While we continue to implement our Worlds Ahead Plan, the time has come to take the first steps in the development of a new plan, one that both builds on our significant accomplishments and prepares FIU for a future in higher education that is still technologically and pedagogically evolving. This new strategic plan will be completed by Fall 2014 to ensure full involvement of the FIU community.

The first steps in the development of a new strategic plan should result in a concept paper that addresses many of the questions we discussed this past year during my visits to each of the colleges/schools. It became clear to me that many faculty colleagues share a sense of concern about the changes facing us and our ability not only to survive, but to thrive, in the rapidly changing educational environment.

To begin responding to these changes, I am appointing the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, to head a commission that will be called FIU - integrating Research, Engagement, Assessment and Learning (FIU iREAL).

This commission will consist of ten members of our community, including students, faculty, professional staff, alumni, and community leaders. The commission will be asked to help us answer the essential question that I posed during our conversations this past year: can we continue at FIU to do what we have always done and expect that we will be able to sustain ourselves well into the future?

The pace of change in knowledge creation and information distribution presents challenges and opportunities for FIU. Multiple movements are emerging, and, for FIU, business as usual is no longer an option. For instance, a movement toward flexible learning, open courseware, and social media is opening new approaches that we must understand and embrace where appropriate. The do-it-yourself education that can be fully credentialed is right around the corner.

While it is still early in terms of understanding the implications of these movements, what is clear is that significant change is coming. FIU has an opportunity to move forward given our relative youth and entrepreneurial bent. It is essential that faculty, professional staff, and students engage in soul-searching and a robust dialogue about options and actively participate in the work of this commission.

Accordingly, I am asking the commission to present a white paper by early Fall 2013 that identifies the external and internal issues that we must address if we are to prosper in the midst of the rapid changes that are impacting our operating environment.