Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan 2005

MISSION

The preamble to H-Net’s mission statement reads: H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online transforms a vision into an organization. The vision is of creating and enhancing international, electronic communication within communities of scholars, teachers, advanced students, and related professionals and of facilitating the electronic transmission of information by those committed to research, teaching, learning, public outreach, and professional service in the humanities and social sciences. To realize this vision, scholars, teachers, advanced students, and related professionals have created electronic networks and resources dedicated to advancing research, teaching, learning, public outreach, and professional service within their own specialized areas of knowledge.

GOALS AND STRATEGIES

COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES & AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT 
Goal: Provide thoughtful, creative leadership in the adoption and assessment of communications and publications technologies for scholars, teachers, students, and the public in the humanities and social sciences.

Strategies:

  • Disseminate and communicate new research, commentary, teaching methods and resources, news, and information through a powerful, flexible, and updated web resource.
  • Explore new means of supporting edited communications and discussion through multiple, integrated technologies consistent with H-Net’s mission and audience interests.
  • Promote responsible use of technologies to identify, cultivate, and serve audiences in the humanities & social sciences
  • Seek and serve global audiences through multiple language networks, unicode standards compliance, and translations of H-Net resources into common languages.

Actions:

  • Plan for migration of content delivery technologies to web-based formats for editing, publication, and service.

EDITORIAL & NETWORK DEVELOPMENT (Vice-President, Networks) 
Goal: Help to build new generations of scholars and teachers trained, educated, and committed to the responsible, professional use of gatekept digital resources in the humanities & social sciences.

Strategies:

  • Identify and recruit field experts with strong professional standards and profiles to serve as network review, web, and discussion list editors.
  • Create and then adapt courses of training for H-Net’s editorial community, that familiarize editors with professional standards for online editing and communication.
  • Provide leadership across disciplines and in partnership with learned societies to obtain professional recognition for documented, certified service as an H-Net editor in particular and as a creator of scholarly or educational materials in general.
  • Identify and recruit new networks in fields that are poorly or insufficiently served online.

Actions:

  • Create a Manual of Practice for H-Net editors, to serve as a standards-generating document for online editors.
  • Pursue aggressive recruitment program to attract senior as well as new scholars to HNet’s editorial community; create an incentives and services program for editors and advisory board members, including an awards program for superior achievements as an editor, and line funding for editorial support services.
  • Enhance editorial communications and professional development through an annual “best practices” conference of editors, stakeholders, and sponsors of H-Net.
  • Provide editors with educational, training, and professional development opportunities in new media.
  • Invigorate network advisory boards with training and continuing education materials for network advisors.
  • Develop a master network development plan to identify and target underserved fields and audiences.

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT (Vice-President, Research & Publications) 
Goal: To draw upon the combined power of field-based networks to attract, disseminate, publish, and critique new and established research and educational materials from H-Net’s subscribers, contributors, and editors.

Strategies:

  • Expand and improve scholarly, professional book and new media reviewing in electronic and networked formats.
  • Create and foster an information commons of open-source, open-content, shared networked resources.
  • Provide for the permanent archiving of ephemeral (discussion logs) and persistent (essays, commissioned material) content.

Actions:

  • Implement an enterprise-wide content management system that encourages information sharing in a protected networked environment monitored by field experts.
  • Develop an intellectual property and terms-of-use framework that enables H-Net to join Creative Commons.
  • Create commonly-agreed standards, practices, and policies for H-Net reviews.
  • Upgrade the Reviews Management System to streamline workflow, increase copyediting turnover, and eliminate redundant versions of reviews.
  • Integrate state-based networks into a public history, public humanities portal.

EDUCATION & OUTREACH (Vice-President, Teaching & Learning) 
Goal: To expand and exploit the educational and teaching resources for schools, postsecondary institutions, and public humanities developed through H-Net’s online communities.

Strategies:

  • Encourage the use of H-Net’s resources by students and teachers.
  • Incorporate educational objectives into network mission statements.

Actions:

  • Create and maintain an inventory of existing network educational resources on H-Net’s web site.
  • Pursue partnership with the Organization for American Historians to assess the immediate and long-term impact of the federal Teaching American History program on professional historians.
  • Implement a teaching portal based on open-source content management system, that enables comprehensive searching, browsing, gated uploading, and discussion of teaching and educational materials.
  • Create an internal award for best teaching-related uses of H-Net’s resources.

PARTNERSHIP & PROFESSIONAL SERVICE
Goal: To collaborate with governmental, learned, professional, and educational organizations in the common project of advancing and understanding the public policies and uses of new media for communications, publication, service, and teaching; use H-Net’s communications capacities to provide cost-effective announcements and employment notification services for professionals.

Strategies:

  • Identify prospective partners for new media-based projects in the humanities & social sciences.
  • Create a partnership program for sponsored giving, support of H-Net networks, and audience development.
  • Join with partners where appropriate to educate and advocate for the advancement of open access, educational, and scholarly resources.
  • Provide an updated, comprehensive online academic and job posting service free to users.
  • Provide a searchable online events and announcements service free to users.

Actions:

  • Pursue partnership with the Organization for American Historians to assess the immediate and long-term impact of the federal Teaching American History program on professional historians.
  • Deploy H-Net network resources where possible in support of disaster alert, education, and recovery services.
  • Continue support for the Creative Commons, Open Archives, Open Content, and open source initiatives.
  • Seek membership in the American Council for Learned Societies.
  • Update and improve the programming and data management capacity of the Job Guide and Announcements services.

ADMINISTRATION, FUNDING & STRUCTURE
Goal: Develop a strong and stable infrastructure to meet standards and sustain leadership capacity.

Strategies:

  • Maintain a strategic planning process that articulates H-Net’s priorities through the next three-year period.
  • Identify and align staffing needed to meet critical core network and content development functions and capitalize on unique organizational strengths.
  • Build and strengthen H-Net’s relationship with Matrix and Michigan State University.
  • Strengthen the current funding base that supports core operational and capital needs, improves editorial skills and capacities, and advances innovative programs.
  • Support staff development to enhance editorial and management excellence.
  • Promote the effective use of H-Net’s administrative committees to consult, advise, and draft policies and standards for H-Net’s operations and editorial community.

Actions:

  • Work with H-Net’s administrative and technology host to implement a reliable, flexible, and accurate backup and restore facility for all of H-Net’s digital materials.
  • Negotiate a formal agency and shared resources agreement between H-Net and the responsible authorities at Michigan State University.
  • Obtain dedicated programming and design support at MSU for H-Net projects and site maintenance.
  • Create and implement a three-year fundraising plan aligned to H-Net’s priorities and strategic plan.

ASSESSMENT & EVALUATION:
Goal: Engage in a continual process of assessment to improve H-Net’s ability to achieve its mission.

Strategies:

  • Collect and analyze data to assess the use, usability, and effectiveness of H-Net’s electronic, training, and partnership programs.
  • Support opportunities for staff to remain current with professional standards and practice.
  • Collaborate with H-Net’s administrative host to apply viable systems of evaluation and recognition of staff contributions to H-Net’s activities.
  • Review the strategic plan annually and make necessary and appropriate adjustments.

Actions:

  • Create, distribute and analyze comprehensive surveys of H-Net’s editors, users, subscribers, and members.
  • Commission an outside review of H-Net’s operations and governing structure.
  • Implement a reliable and confidential voting system for H-Net’s elections and decisionmaking processes.
  • Create a marketing and publicity kit and plan for H-Net.