The Strategic Plan
During the 2010-2011 academic year, UMD faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and community leaders prepared a Strategic Plan for UMD, a plan designed to guide the university through the next five years or more.
Initiated by Chancellor Lendley C. Black, the process allowed over 2,000 people to serve on committees, add comments at meetings, or submit input online.
The plan articulates a refined mission, vision, statement of core values, and set of campus goals, all acting as guides for decision-making at UMD. UMD took the planning process seriously, crafting not only goals but specific action steps.
The plan sets UMD apart from other institutions. Specific phrases in the document reflect the input received and pay tribute to UMD’s roots as a land-grant and a sea-grant university. That designation refers to UMD’s charge to protect natural resources as well as educate Minnesota’s citizens. The new plan also champions the opportunity to strengthen ties with Duluth and surrounding communities. It makes a commitment to diversity and to serve the educational needs of indigenous peoples.
This strategic plan challenges UMD to strive for more accomplishments and achievements, and creates a structure to fund initiatives deemed important. “One of our opportunities is to expand our presence and reach so that we have a much greater national reputation. That, I think, is very much within our grasp,” Black said.
One visionary message in the plan is to encourage living-learning communities, where students and faculty take instruction outside of the classroom for more meaningful experiences. An increasingly diverse society and the current economy, with its international connections, are reflected in the plan. “We live in a global society,” Black said. “The plan acknowledges that diversity and innovation work together to make an impact around the world.”
The power of the plan comes from the thousands of stakeholders who added their viewpoints. Their message turned out to be clear and centered, taking UMD in a new direction, while building on the past. “The plan provides a sharper focus on UMD’s distinctive attributes and its niche among the best higher educational institutions of its type in the country,” Black said. “Modest growth and a concentration on doing more of what we do best will allow us to continue standing shoulder to shoulder with the finest universities anywhere.”
Dennis Falk, professor in the Department of Social Work, led the 12-member executive team and the 35-member committee who worked on both plans. “The exciting thing is that the campus community is already engaged in the action steps,” he said. “Because we made the planning process and the execution of the goals a priority, we are already well on our way.”