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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).