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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Comments Invited on Strategic Plan for TC Campus

Update from Provost Hanson 

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to share with you a draft of the completed Strategic Plan for the Twin Cities campus, and to invite your comments.

The plan, shaped by faculty, staff, and students over the past year, charts a course for the next decade, building directly on our university's unique strengths and opportunities. It aims to reinvigorate our institution as a 21st-century land-grant research university of ambition, innovation, and impact. It will create new learning and career pathways for students, build and retain a faculty of field-shaping researchers and teachers, expand campus-community partnerships, and combine university strengths more broadly and deeply to address "Grand Challenges"— the most pressing and complex problems facing the state, nation, and world.

I invite you to learn more about the plan and the planning process on this blog—and to share your thoughts and suggestions during a comment period that extends through September 25. President Kaler and I presented the plan to the Board of Regents last week, with the help of some of our issue team co-chairs. The Board's reaction to this draft was very favorable, but your comments can still help inform the final version, which will be presented for Board action in October.

I thank all of you who have filled out surveys, participated in campus forums, or followed the progress of the planning effort online. We all also owe special thanks to the 30 members of the Strategic Planning Workgroup, who worked with great dedication and imagination over many months to envision a dynamic path for our great university. And thanks, too, to the nearly 200 individuals who brought their diverse voices and perspectives to the issue teams.

Your engagement has made this process as inclusive and collaborative as we had hoped and has resulted in a plan that is exciting and full of promise. I look forward to robust conversation as we refine the plan and begin work on implementation.


Karen Hanson
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

This update, in modified format, was emailed by Provost Hanson on Sept. 16 to Twin Cities faculty and staff.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Strategic Plan Presented to Board of Regents

Draft report online | Comments invited through Sept. 25

President Kaler and Provost Hanson shared with the Board of Regents today the draft of the Strategic Plan for the Twin Cities campus.

"What you're about to hear is a roadmap for reinvigorating the University of Minnesota," the president said in introducing a presentation of the plan by Provost Hanson and members of the Strategic Planning Workgroup.

The plan articulates a vision and priorities for the next decade that build on the campus’ exceptional strengths and opportunities as one of the country’s most comprehensive research universities and one of the few located in a large metropolitan area.

It aims to create new 21st-century learning and career pathways for students, build more campus-community partnerships, and combine University strengths more broadly and deeply to address “grand challenges”—the most pressing and complex problems facing the state, nation, and world.

The plan calls on the University to:
  • Leverage its breadth and depth to take on society’s grand challenges through more cross-cutting research, creative scholarship, and curriculum; 
  • Support excellence and reject complacency by changing practices to create an invigorated campus culture of ambition, challenge, exploration, and innovation; 
  • Aggressively recruit, retain and promote diverse field-shaping researchers and teachers; and 
  • Build a culture of mutual engagement between the University and many partners and stakeholders that capitalizes on the U’s dynamic metropolitan location. 

Comment period—and online copy of report

Faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders have provided input through listening sessions--and are invited to comment on the completed draft between September 15 and 25.)

Comments will inform the final version to be presented for Board action in October. Once the plan is approved, it will be a framework for decisionmaking by the provost and deans, with implementation plans to be launched this fall.

To jump-start institutional transformation, three initial grand challenge areas have been identified that harness robust university expertise across many fields of knowledge, from the core disciplines of the liberal arts to the new frontiers of the biosciences:
  • Ensuring sustainable, healthy, secure food; 
  • Advancing industry while conserving the environment and addressing climate change; and
  • Building vibrant communities that enhance human potential and collective well-being in a diverse and changing society.
Six members of the Strategic Planning Workgroup joined the provost to discuss the goals and strategies developed by extended teams of faculty, students, and staff over the past year: professors Jakub Tolar, Joe Konstan, Renee Cheng, Liz Lightfoot, and Tim Kehoe; and graduate student Meghan Mason.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Strategic Planning Preview: Sept. 3 Campus Conversation

President Kaler and Provost Hanson will host a Campus Conversation to discuss the goals and recommendations developed through the strategic planning process for the Twin Cities campus. Members of the Strategic Planning Workgroup will help lead the conversation.

This is a chance for the entire campus community to preview the completed plan before it goes to the Regents and to provide feedback on future directions and next steps.

The plan will articulate a set of goals and strategies to enhance the excellence and impact of our campus, based on our special opportunities and strengths. It was developed with broad campus input over many months by the 30-member workgroup and extended teams of faculty, staff, and students.

View handout for the Sept. 3 Campus Conversation

Please plan to attend this important conversation in person or via UMConnect (join online the day of the event).

Wednesday, September 3
noon– 1 p.m.
Humphrey School/Cowles Auditorium

Participants from the Strategic Planning Workgroup: Renee Cheng (professor and associate dean, College of Design), Joe Konstan (professor, College of Science and Engineering), Christopher Uggen (professor, College of Liberal Arts), Timothy Kehoe (professor, College of Liberal Arts), and Liz Lightfoot (professor, College of Education and Human Development).

Campus Conversations are sponsored by University Relations as a forum to discuss issues of interest to the campus community.
Missed this conversation?
Watch a video recording here

Monday, June 30, 2014

Strategic Planning Listening Sessions

Update from Provost Hanson 

As promised, we continue at full steam this summer on strategic planning for the Twin Cities campus.

The Strategic Planning Workgroup spent many months over the last year deepening our understanding of the exceptional opportunities and distinctive strengths we have as a public land-grant research university in a vibrant urban setting, and extended teams of faculty, staff, and students are now “building out” the vision and the goals that have been cooperatively constructed by the workgroup and so many of you.

There is still much work to do as we develop concrete plans, however, and your views on the most promising directions to take would be especially valuable at this time. I invite you to join me and members of the workgroup at one of two upcoming listening sessions—to share your perspectives and to offer your suggestions on the plans that are taking shape: 

  • Tuesday, July 8: 11 a.m.–noon, 402 Walter Library
  • Tuesday, August 12: 11 a.m.–noon, McNamara Center/Ski-U-Mah Room

Please mark your calendars as well for a Campus Conversation in early September, when we will share the penultimate draft of a completed plan with the campus community: 

  • Wednesday, September 3: noon–1 p.m., Humphrey School/Cowles Auditorium. 

Some of your summer schedules may make it difficult to attend these meetings in person. If that’s the case, I hope that you will consider participating remotely via UMConnect. I also encourage you to submit questions or suggestions via the online comment form.

The new plan will articulate a 10-year vision to guide strategic decision-making, and it will include specific action steps for the next 3–5 years. I want to emphasize, though, that it will not prescribe new directions for all aspects of our many colleges, programs, and disciplines. It will instead suggest a specific set of goals and strategies to enhance the quality and impact of the University of Minnesota, based on a range of our special opportunities and strengths.

I also want to underscore that we intend for the plan we present in September to be understood as a dynamic one, subject to recurrent reexamination and revision. We need to be alert to new opportunities and willing to abandon failed experiments. We need to continue robust conversations with the campus community and with the Board of Regents to make sure that our efforts advance our mission, reflect our shared aspirations, and meet the challenges and contingencies of a diverse and changing world.

Thank you in advance for your engagement in this important phase of the planning process.

This update, in modified format, was emailed by Provost Hanson on June 30 to Twin Cities faculty and staff.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Strategic Planning Progress and Next Steps

Karen Hanson and six members of the campuswide Strategic Planning Workgroup provided a progress report June 12 to the Board of Regents Academic and Student Affairs Committee.

The provost provided an overview of the timeline and process, building off her March presentation to the full board.

Key points:
  • In March, we moved from the strategic visioning phase of the process into the "build out" phase, and we broadened the workgroup discussions by asking additional participants to join issue teams.
  • The planning effort will chart strategic goals for the Twin Cities campus that advance the core mission and values of the University of Minnesota (which remain unchanged).
  • The vision outlined by the Strategic Planning Workgroup: The University of Minnesota—Twin Cities will be preeminent in solving the grand challenges of a diverse and changing world 
  • Four goals in support of the vision: we will leverage our breadth and depth to take on grand challenges, support excellence and reject complacency, establish a culture of reciprocal engagement that capitalizes on our unique location, and aggressively recruit, retain, and promote field-shaping researchers and teachers 
  • About 150 students, staff, and faculty drawn from across the campus are involved in issue teams, charged with filling in the details of how we might pursue our goals. 
  • Over the summer, we will continue sharing progress with the campus community, soliciting feedback from stakeholders, and making sure the plan continues to be informed by diverse voices and perspectives 
  • Listening sessions will take place in July and August. Meetings with students are planned in collaboration with student governance groups. The completed plan will be shared in September with the campus community (at a Campus Conversation) and then with the Regents. (Note: see below for dates and times of campus forums)Online comments also are invited. 
  • The plan is meant to recognize exceptional opportunities and strategic strengths that differentiate us from other higher education institutions. 
  • The plan is meant to build on the many things we already do exceptionally well. It will set the stage for newly focused excellence and impact through several strategic directions that leverage the breadth of assets on the Twin Cities campus. It is not meant to be a prescriptive framework or definitive set of criteria for everything we do across or within colleges, programs, and disciplines.
  • Within the core plan framework, we intend for the plan to be dynamic, to be constantly be subjected to reexamination and possible revision. We will continue to have robust conversations with the campus community and with the Board about how to adapt the plan to our changing institution and the changing environment. 
A panel discussion briefly highlighted the work of issue teams now under way, as well as the ongoing focus on student interests within the strategic planning process.

Participating in the discussion were:
  • Renee Cheng, professor, College of Design: Grand Challenges Curriculum Team co-lead (with Carissa Schively Slotterback, associate professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)
  • Al Levine, liaison for special initiatives, Provost's Office: Grand Challenges Research Team co-lead (with Joe Konstan, professor, CSE; and Reuben Harris, professor, CBS)
  • Jakub Tolar, associate professor, Medical School: Supporting Excellence/Rejecting Complacency Team co-lead (with Chris Uggen, professor, CLA)
  • Amelious Whyte, assistant dean, Office of Student Affairs: Reciprocal Engagement Team co-lead (with Liz Lightfoot, professor, CEHD; and Catherine Squires, associate professor, CLA)
  • Tim Kehoe, professor, CLA: Recruit/Retain Field-shaping Researchers and Teachers Team co-lead (with Will Durfee, professor, CSE)
  • Meghan Mason, graduate student and Strategic Planning Workgroup member: Student Interests within the Strategic Plan

Note: Dates and times for campus strategic planning forums have been confirmed. Please plan to attend one or more of the following sessions, or join online via UMConnect:
  • Listening sessions: 
    • July 8, 11 a.m.–12 noon, 402 Walter Library
    • August 12, 11 a.m.–12 noon, McNamara Center/Ski-U-Mah Room
  • Campus Conversation (presentation of completed draft of plan):
    • September 3, 12 noon–1 pm, Humphrey School/Cowles Auditorium

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Planning Update from Provost Hanson

"The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities will be preeminent in solving the grand challenges of a diverse and changing world."

With this overarching vision, we are continuing to work on a strategic plan that will chart a dynamic future for a great 21st-century land-grant research institution. I write to update you on that work and to let you know how you can contribute your ideas and perspectives over the next few months.

The outline plan developed by the 30-member Strategic Planning Workgroup over the past few months commits the University to four goals in support of the general vision: to harness the depth and breadth of our research and curricular strengths to address grand societal challenges; to develop and maintain a culture that supports excellence and rejects complacency at all levels of the institution;  to foster reciprocal engagement with our various communities and capitalize on our specific location; and to aggressively recruit, retain, and promote field-shaping researchers and teachers.

Five teams are meeting throughout the summer on key issues related to each of the goals. These teams involve about 150 faculty, staff, and students, drawn from over 500 nominations. (Team members are listed here). The teams will propose action steps to support the vision and goals previously developed by the workgroup during many thoughtful and vigorous discussions.

The vision and goals have been discussed with the Board of Regents and were highlighted by President Kaler in his spring State of the University address. They were discussed with the campus community at a Campus Conversation in mid-April (links are featured on this blog) and, throughout the spring, with many other campus and community stakeholders.

This summer, we will invite you to participate in listening sessions, group discussions, and forums that will help the strategic planning teams bring the goals into sharper focus and identify appropriate steps to pursue those goals. Please watch for announcements of listening sessions in July and August, followed by a Campus Conversation at the start of the fall semester. I also plan to meet with the FCC, deans, senior leaders, and Regents at their summer retreats, to keep them abreast of the work of the teams.

This plan is meant to set a general direction for key strategic priorities and decisions over the next decade. We are committed to a plan that is bold but also achievable; one that builds on the innumerable things we already do exceptionally well; and one that we will continually discuss and refine as a campus community. The issue teams are trying to identify both incremental reforms and desirable institutional transformations that can be linked to action steps we can take over the next three to five years. We will also look for ways to connect or align the campus strategic plan with collegiate and other unit-level plans and initiatives.

Our timeline calls for the completion of the University's Twin Cities campus strategic planning document by fall semester. The plan will go to the Board of Regents for review in September and approval in October, followed by rollout during the 2014-15 academic year.

I invite you to continue to visit this  strategic planning blog to learn more about our work to date and to submit questions, suggestions, or comments throughout the summer. We want and need the plan to be informed by diverse voices and perspectives.

Your engagement will ensure, as President Kaler has said, that this will not be "your typical put-it-on-your-shelf-and-forget-about-it strategic plan." It will not be a closed and final document but will instead be a dynamic, collaborative plan responsive to changing circumstances and subject to ongoing assessment of the impact our efforts are making on the fulfillment of our mission.

Thank you for your contributions to this important effort on behalf of our extraordinary University.

This update, in modified format, was emailed by Provost Hanson on June 3 to Twin Cities faculty, staff, and the administrative email list (AEL).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Strategic Planning Issue Teams

The strategic planning work group has convened five campuswide teams to develop recommendations that will drive the strategic plan for the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.

The teams comprise nearly 150 faculty, staff, and students drawn broadly from across the University, selected from more than 500 nominations.

Their work will “build out” the strategic planning vision and goals developed by the work group and shared by Provost Hanson with the Board of Regents in April (view video or download Powerpoint summary).

Updates on the work of the teams, and opportunities for campuswide engagement and feedback, will be shared over the spring and summer.

See complete list of issue team members >

The strategic planning issue teams are:

Grand Challenges Curriculum
  • What does it take for the University to build a curriculum focusing on solving society's grand challenges?
Team cochairs: 
Renee Cheng, Professor & Head, School of Architecture
Carissa Schively Slotterback, Associate Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Grand Challenges Research
  • How does the University apply its research toward solving grand societal challenges?
Team cochairs: 
Reuben Harris, Professor, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, & Biophysics
Joe Konstan, Professor, Computer Science & Engineering
Al Levine, Liaison for Special Initiatives, Provost's Office; Professor, Food Science and Nutrition

Reject Complacency
  • How does the University change the culture in ways that support excellence and, with intention, reject complacency? 
Team cochairs: 
Jakub Tolar, Associate Professor, Pediatrics
Chris Uggen, Professor, Sociology

Reciprocal Engagement
  • How does the University better leverage its location and establish a culture of reciprocal engagement for the mutual benefit of the University and the community? 
Team cochairs:
Liz Lightfoot, Professor, Social Work
Catherine Squires, Associate Professor, Communication Studies
Amelious Whyte, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs

Field-Changing Researchers and Teachers
  • How do we go about aggressively recruiting and retaining field-changing teachers and researchers? How does transdisciplinarity shape our institutional planning in the arena of faculty responsibilities? 
Team cochairs: 
William Durfee, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Tim Kehoe, Professor, Economics