Implementing Our Plan: Next Steps

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Update from Provost Hanson 

I am pleased to report that, last Friday, the Board of Regents unanimously approved the new strategic plan for the Twin Cities campus.

The plan calls for the University to move with new energy and imagination to address the most critical and complex challenges of our state and global communities. We are committed to drawing on our exceptional breadth and our unique location in order to build new collaborations across disciplines; to deepen our campus-community partnerships; to be a magnet for field-shaping researchers and teachers; and to create 21st-century learning experiences to prepare our students for life, work, and global citizenship.

Strategic Plan

More fundamentally, the plan calls on us to build on our existing strengths, to embrace excellence and reject complacency - and to support an invigorated campus culture of pride, ambition, and innovation.

View Final Strategic Planning Report (pdf)

View Executive Summary (pdf) 

View Video of Board of Regents Discussion (segment starts 12:35)

The final plan incorporates comments made by the Board and the campus community on September's penultimate draft. Responses were highly positive overall, and I thank all of you who took the time to offer your constructive comments.

We drew on your suggestions to clarify or underscore some key points - including the importance of disciplinary strengths, even for interdisciplinary efforts; the centrality of global engagement for our 21st-century mission; the way in which our commitment to access, equity, and diversity is critical to our strategic vision and to every aspect of our core activities; how crucial it is that our University be a good place for faculty and staff alike to build careers where they can do their best work; and the importance of the health sciences among our academic priorities.

The final plan more clearly asserts that the three Grand Challenges topics sketched out in the research section are examples of strong transdisciplinary work that is already under way. As in earlier drafts, the final version recommends a set of criteria for the evaluation and selection of a full slate of grand challenges that we will embrace as institutional priorities.

Next Steps

A collaborative process for selection of grand challenges will be among the first implementation priorities. The strategic planning framework is already being integrated into the normal processes of academic planning, including compact and budget processes for academic and administrative units. The goals of the plan will be connected in a variety of ways with those of academic and administrative units and the system campuses. Additional "next steps" are outlined in the full report (pdf).

I will keep you informed about implementation steps and how faculty, students, and staff can continue to engage in the process. We intend for this plan to be a dynamic one that is advanced collaboratively. We will rely on you - faculty, students, and staff - to help refine the plan, set meaningful benchmarks to track our success, and ensure that the plan remains a good roadmap for achieving shared aspirations and goals.

I want to thank again the members of the Strategic Planning Workgroup, who capably stewarded the planning process, as well as the five extended teams of faculty, students, and staff who helped map issues and action steps. Their diverse voices, thoughtful perspectives, invigorating discussion, and exceptional diligence shaped a bold and achievable plan that draws on our fundamental land-grant mission and will position us well for an exciting future.

This update, in modified format, was emailed by Provost Hanson on Oct. 15 to Twin Cities faculty and staff.