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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, associate dean and professor, College of Design: Grand Challenges Curriculum Team co-lead (with Carissa Schively Slotterback, associate professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)
  • Al Levine, vice provost for faculty and academic affairs: 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, senior associate vice provost, 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).