Strategic Plan Approved by Board of Regents

Friday, October 10, 2014

The new Strategic Plan for the Twin Cities campus was unanimously approved today by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.

View Final Strategic Planning Report (pdf)
View Executive Summary (pdf)
View Video of Board of Regents Discussion (segment starts 12:35)

Strategic Plan

The plan was presented to the board by President Kaler and Provost Hanson as the culmination of many months of discussion and planning by the campus community, stewarded by the Strategic Planning Workgroup and five collaborative teams of faculty, staff, and students.

In remarks to the board, the provost stressed that the plan "presents a vision for building on our defining strengths to reinvent our land-grant research university at a time of great change, challenge, and opportunity."

The Strategic Plan will build on signal strengths and opportunities of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities as one of the country's most comprehensive research universities, fortunately situated in a complex and vibrant metropolitan area and guided by a durable land-grant mission.

The plan aims to:

  • combine University strengths more broadly and deeply to address "grand challenges"—the most pressing and complex problems facing the state, nation, and world;
  • support excellence and reject complacency; build an invigorated campus culture of pride, ambition, and innovation;
  • create a "University of Transformational Opportunity" where there is flexibility accompanied by responsibility and accountability and where field shapers can do their best work; 
  • build a culture of mutual engagement and create more partnerships between the University and our community, business, government, and nonprofit stakeholders across Minnesota and beyond; and
  • create new 21st-century learning and career pathways for students; develop curricular and cocurricular opportunities that will be attractive to Minnesota's most ambitious, talented, and motivated students--indeed, attractive to the nation's and the world's most talented students. 

Final report informed by campus feedback

A draft report was reviewed by the Board last month. The final report incorporates feedback received from the Board and campus community between that time and today.

The provost noted that responses to the plan were mostly extremely positive. "A number of responses offered thoughtful, constructive suggestions about aspects or details that needed to be clarified or underscored."

Examples included the need to emphasize the importance of disciplinary strengths as key to interdisciplinary opportunities; global engagement as implicit to our 21st-century mission; access, equity, and diversity as critical to our strategic vision and every aspect of our core activities; ensuring that our University is a good place for faculty and staff alike to build careers and to pursue excellence; and the importance of the health sciences among our academic priorities.

Selecting Grand Challenges, implementing the plan

The final plan also underscores that the three Grand Challenges topics sketched out in the plan are three examples of strong transdisciplinary work addressing grand challenges that is already under way at the University of Minnesota. The plan recommends a set of criteria for the evaluation and selection of the next grand challenges that will be embraced as institutional priorities. A process for selection will be developed in the implementation phase of the plan.

Implementation will also be effected through attention to the Strategic Plan in the normal processes of academic planning. This will start immediately with compact and budget processes. The goals of the plan will be connected in a variety of ways with those of academic and administrative units and the system campuses.

Also launching this fall will be continuity and implementation teams to shape next steps and develop benchmarks. Campuswide engagement and communication processes also will begin this fall.