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UMD Strategic Plan Update (2011-2013): Executive Summary of Completed Action Steps
Report Completed by
John A. Arthur, Faculty Fellow for Strategic Plan (2013)
The UMD Strategic Plan (SP) was enjoined by the campus community and stakeholders a little over three years ago under the direction of Chancellor Lendley Black. As Faculty Fellow for the Strategic Plan, and on behalf of the Chancellor’s Office, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all who worked tirelessly to enable the SP to become a reality.
Based on my current assessment of the implementation of the action steps in the plan, I am very pleased to report that we have made very significant headways in the implementation of the numerous action steps of the action steps.
Goal 1: Promote integrated curricular, co-curricular, and living-learning undergraduate experiences that achieve UMD’s student learning goals and prepare students for lifelong learning, globally engaged citizenship, and success in their academic, personal, and professional lives.
Under goal 1, we have implemented a new Liberal Education program to strengthen undergraduate education to promote an investigation of the world from new perspectives, new ways of thinking that will be useful for students.
UMD has formalized the Strategic Enrollment Council (SEM) as a vehicle for coordinating enrollment management targets and decisions while bringing a shared goal for the implementation of effective strategies to identify, recruit, retain, and graduate all our students.
As part of goal 1, UMD has implemented a new Learning Commons including a Writing Center in the Kathryn Martin Library to provide teaching and learning support for students, faculty, and staff, including the implementation of integrated and active learning strategies to redesign course offerings and to sharpen the delivery of curriculum content. The establishment of multicultural living and learning units in the residence halls, UMD seminars to promote student learning, the implementation of a multi-media production lab, and the establishment of a new Cultural Entrepreneurship program are just some of the highlights of completed action steps for goal 1.
Goal 2: Create a positive and inclusive campus climate for all by advancing equity, diversity, and social justice.
Our accomplishments under goal 2 are very noteworthy. UMD has provided training to campus leaders in Intercultural Development Inventory with the goal of enhancing the capabilities and competencies of faculty and staff to accurately understand and adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. A new undergraduate degree program in Social Work has been implemented. The pre-doc program has added to the number of minority faculty, including the establishment of faculty and staff of color association to give voice to underrepresented groups in campus governance structures and decision-making and foster the mentoring of faculty and staff. There is continued implementation of diversity training programs and discussions for faculty, staff, and students about campus climate across the campus in areas of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. During the period of assessment of the SP, UMD has witnessed a growth in the number of underrepresented students during academic year 2013-14. UMD provided targeted grants for community stakeholders to promote and strengthen out partnerships with community stakeholders in the areas of diversity.
For example, UMD support for Youth of Duluth program designed to develop leadership and academic skills of minority children. The completion of the Campus Climate Survey of Underrepresented Groups, the 2012-13 campus climate survey of faculty and staff, and the completion and implementation of diversity-focused training for students in key areas of campus life (housing, athletics, and Kirby Board) were action steps tools designed to move the campus toward the goals of equity, social justice, diversity, and an inclusive climate. In curricular matters, UMD implemented new interdisciplinary initiatives to diversify and broaden the range of diversity-focused curricular (Spanish studies major, Asian Studies major, Russian and Chinese studies minor).
Goal 3: Establish UMD as a center of excellence for graduate studies in the Upper Midwest.
A number of completed action steps solidified our progress toward this goal. Two new graduate programs (the MA in Tribal Governance and MA in Psychological Sciences) were started. A third was the reintroduction of the Masters in Liberal Arts. To further strengthen graduate programs, SP grants were awarded graduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts, School of Fine Arts, the College of Education and Human Services Professions, and the Swenson College of Science and Engineering to conduct market and feasibility surveys with the objective of increasing their enrollments. Action steps were also implemented to formalize policies for Directors of Graduate Studies on campus to ensure a unified approach to graduate student enrollment services, including protocols to highlight the comparative advantage of UMD’s graduate programs in the Upper Midwest.
Goal 4: Advance UMD’s stature as a major campus for research and creative activities, leveraging our region’s unique natural, human and cultural resources.
Here as well, we have made significant progress. The SP awarded small seed research money to support faculty development and to provide leverage for seeking research funds from external agencies. Eleven of these grants were awarded in 2013. The plan supported the establishment of a Mental Health First Aid Certification Program in LSBE and funded a foreign languages and literature speaker and film series to promote intercultural awareness; funded 14 new UMD-Community Partnership and Outreach Grants to leverage our resources to address and improve upon the quality of life of our citizens in diverse areas such as the arts, recreation, educational leadership programs for at risk children, sustainable food, energy conservation, and bike paths to campus; and implemented an electric charging station by Parking Services, including the installation of several rain gardens, biofiltration areas and two green roofs on campus as well as the completion of UMD Solar Research Project atop Malosky Stadium and the Bagley Outdoor classroom to promote renewable energy.
Goal 5: Strengthen ties with Duluth and surrounding communities in an intentional, visible, and mutually beneficial partnership.
The implementation of a number of action steps moved the campus toward the fulfillment of goal 5. First, UMD hosted students, faculty, and staff from throughout the University of Minnesota system at the second annual Student Engagement Leadership Forum on Sustainability (SELFsustain). Second, the SP funded 14 grants specifically targeting sustainability on campus, including community-based sustainability projects, including the implementation of a UMD partnership with ISD 709 to strengthen access to university and college education for Duluth area minority children. The SP provided funds for creating UMD Bike to Campus Program to promote environmentally friendly and healthy transportation; the completion of a strong and consistent brand and visual identity for UMD.
Aided by the SP, UMD has made significant headway in better telling the UMD story. For example, “How did you come to be here” and “Infinite Stories” both designed to represent the many shades of life at UMD while promoting and recognizing the multiple places, voices, and peoples on campus.
Goal 6: Utilize UMD’s infrastructure; technologies; and information, human and financial resources to support the campus in a sustainable manner.
We continue to make steady progress toward the full implementation of the action steps in goal 6. A few highlights of completed action plans and accomplishments include the completion of the campus master plan; establishment of a sustainability focused living learning community in Housing and Residence Halls; and significant increases in Duluth Transit Authority ridership which hit the 5,000,000 mark in January 2013.
Under the SP, UMD has taken bold steps to reduce disposal water usage; recycling efficiencies enhanced on campus (half of what is generated on campus is either recycled or composted); and 4 new composting collection bins installed around campus; and the renovation of Kirby Plaza to better serve students by centralizing the delivery of student life services to ensure efficiency.