As the University and
society evolve, lessons and opportunities will be weighed in the
development of a new Strategic Plan.
Even as it continues to implement its current Strategic Plan,
the University of North Dakota has initiated an 18-month process
of developing the next one, due to be published in the summer
The University’s Planning and Budget Committee has begun
the environmental scanning process that typically starts the strategic
The new Plan, “Building on Excellence,” will not be
an “update,” said UND President Charles Kupchella.
It will be a complete rethinking of the University’s future
in light of changing conditions since 1999, when the process of
creating the current Plan began.
A four-item questionnaire is being distributed to UND’s
internal and external stakeholders for their input on global,
national and state trends, valued characteristics and mission
elements of the University which must be protected in any plan,
three to five top priorities for UND over the next five years,
and three to five of the institution’s strengths and weaknesses.
The questionnaire can be found on UND’s Web site by using
the strategic planning link at www.und.edu. All of the University’s
stakeholders are invited to participate, Kupchella said.
A series of forums exploring the same questions will be held on
and off the campus. Responses will be analyzed by the committee
in the spring as it identifies four to six priorities for the
University. The draft statement of priorities will be distributed
and discussed later in the spring before being narrowed down by
the committee. Each of UND’s 160-plus academic and administrative
departments will then be asked to develop action plans for their
units within that context, while the Planning and Budget Committee
and its subcommittees will address these priorities on an institution-wide
Writing of the detailed plans will occupy much of the 2004-2005
academic year, Kupchella said. The final printed document will
be rolled out early in the fall of 2005.
In the meantime, Kupchella said the University will continue to
aggressively implement its current Plan, published in the fall
of 2001 after a similar process. The University is tracking its
progress at both the macro and micro levels, he said.
For example, Kupchella says UND today has more of the characteristics
of a national doctoral-research university, with more graduate
students, new research infrastructure, and a growing level of
externally funded research, scholarship, and creative activity.
Sharpening of UND’s enrollment management strategies, he
said, has resulted in record numbers of students studying on campus
and significant progress in the University’s off-campus
programs. The quality of UND’s student body continues to
increase, with even higher admission standards set to go into
effect for those who matriculate in the fall of 2005.
Thanks to flexibility granted by the State Legislature, UND has
been the leader among the state’s colleges and universities
in reallocating additional dollars into faculty pay increases.
Nothing is more critical than ensuring that the University retains
its current faculty brainpower and hires outstanding newcomers
as opportunities present themselves, Kupchella said. The action
has slowed the downward competitive drift of UND salaries and
has begun to show an improvement.
Progress at the department level is being tracked through a unit
annual reporting process that for the first time this year was
required to be submitted electronically in a format allowing easier
compilation and analysis.
For example, UND can easily track activities initiated at the
campus level that are intended to improve the campus climate for
living and learning — one of the seven major priority action
areas of the Plan. Examples range from campus training programs
on the subject of federally prohibited harassment to efforts to
reduce bureaucracy wherever possible.
Priority action areas — the broad goals — established
in the current Plan, titled “Pathways to the Future,”
- Provide a quality curriculum with a solid liberal arts foundation
for each field of study to prepare students for rich, full lives,
productive careers, and civic leadership.
- Expand and strengthen the University’s commitment to
research and creative activity, both as a means of enriching
the learning environment and as a driver for economic development.
- Serve the people of North Dakota and the world more effectively
through applied and basic research, cultural experiences, and
economic development programs as well as through a comprehensive
array of educational offerings.
- Improve the campus climate for learning and living.
- Optimize and stabilize enrollment to achieve the desired number
and mix of students appropriate to the University’s mission.
- Optimize the use of information technology to improve student
learning, research, and the administration of the University.
- In support of all of the above, ensure that the University
has a well-prepared, enthusiastic faculty and staff, first-rate
physical facilities, an adequate financial resource base, and
an appropriate, efficient organizational structure.