A new, ongoing strategic planning process began in 2014 and will continue throughout the current academic year and beyond. This website serves as a reference and repository of information on UMC’s strategic planning activities.
University of Minnesota Mission Statement
Through its mission statement (available at http://regents.umn.edu/sites/regents.umn.edu/files/policies/Mission_Statement.pdf), the University of Minnesota dedicates itself “to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.” The mission is carried out on five campuses (Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities) through research and discovery, teaching and learning, and outreach and public service.
University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) Mission, Vision, and Values
(current mission, vision, and core values statements are available at https://www.crk.umn.edu/general/mission-values-and-purpose)
The mission of the Crookston campus derives from the mission of the University of Minnesota. A campus focused on teaching undergraduate students, the Crookston campus has a vital role in helping the University achieve its land grant mission through teaching, research, and service. Collectively, UMC’s mission, vision, and values drive action and excite passion about our future. The vision should be both inspirational and aspirational. The “structural tension” between the current condition and the desired future condition should catalyze activities and drive decisions to bring about that future. UMCs current vision served those purposes when it was developed in 2006. In 2017, UMC is again engaged in conversations about the future we want to create. With leadership from the new chancellor, these conversations will culminate in an updated vision and vision statement for UMC.
UMC’s Future Business Model, Institutional Identity Statement, and Strategy Screen, developed in 2014 and updated in 2015, further articulate and align UMC’s understanding of its place within the very dynamic world of higher education. These three documents have enhanced UMC’s capacity for strategic thinking, allowing UMC to respond in “real time” to opportunities and challenges as they arise. (Scroll further down to learn more about the framework documents developed in 2014.)
The University of Minnesota Crookston engages in a continuous process of strategic planning that aligns well with UMC’s participation in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) accreditation pathway in the Higher Learning Commission. During the annual summer planning retreat, members of UMC’s Executive Committee join together with representative members of faculty, staff, and students for one and a half days of discussion focused on a high priority opportunity or challenge. Strategic initiatives that arise out of the retreat are rolled out to Strategic Planning Leadership Team (SPLT) subgroups and campus departments who develop action plans.
In monthly meetings, the SPLT monitors implementation of the action plans and tracks progress toward achievement of campus-wide targets and goals. (The planning process is depicted in the illustration at above right. Note the arrows moving in a circle to demonstrate the never-ending nature of planning, action, and evaluation that characterizes real-world, real-time strategy.)
Currently, UMC has five active strategic initiatives:
- Strategic Philanthropic Engagement and Regional Support (SPERS)
- Strategic Enrollment Management
- Rural Economic Development
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Employee Engagement
The SPLT reviews reports on these strategic initiatives on a rotating basis. As reports become available, they will be posted online as part of the ongoing communication regarding strategic planning.
Strategic Philanthropic Engagement and Regional Support (SPERS)
The major goal of SPERS is to enhance and leverage support for the Crookston campus by engaging various internal and external constituencies, including current students and their families, faculty, staff, Crookston citizens, local businesses and community leaders to nurture a culture of awareness and pride. A major resulting accomplishment has been the development and implementation of the Crookston Campus-Community Connection or C4. This initiative is led by a planning board consisting of the Crookston chancellor and the mayor of the city of Crookston as well as business and community leaders, students, faculty, and staff. With its inaugural meeting in April 2015 and continued subsequent monthly meetings, this group builds on and enhances an already strong campus-community relationship. Topics of interest include strategies to generate greater community support for the campus as well as ways to inform and encourage the utilization of local businesses and services by students, faculty, and staff. An emergent issue and project has been to develop greater connectivity and communication between local businesses and academic departments on campus to increase awareness on both sides of internship and employment opportunities for current students and graduates.
Strategic Enrollment Management
The Strategic Enrollment Management Committee (SEMC) addresses the major challenge of how to achieve and maintain a critical mass of students on campus while also growing online enrollment. Major priorities include the development of a five-year strategic enrollment management plan for on-campus and online students. Previously separate units focused on on-campus and online recruitment were unified in 2015-2016 to increase recruiting efficiency and effectiveness. New recruitment materials have been developed, and new student orientation programs were enhanced to help transfer students better transition to campus. New targets for student retention and graduation rates have been established as part of the Regents Progress Card, and all UMC departments are implementing programs and services to achieve those targets. A mentoring program for new student athletes has been established based on a successful pilot in 2015-2016. Student Affairs units are developing more effective and efficient ways to ensure that online students have access to similar service and support as on-campus students.
Rural Economic Development
A priority goal of the Crookston campus is to establish itself as a premier resource for rural economic development. With the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies as well as the Economic Development Administration Center for the state of Minnesota located on campus, the Crookston campus has significant resources upon which to build. Both of these organizations utilize University faculty, staff, and students as well as Extension professionals, and the educational experience of Crookston students is enhanced by engaging them in projects and research studies related to economic development and entrepreneurship. Working with the current host (UMD) of the Northwest Region’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Crookston campus is developing plans to host a regional satellite SBDC office in 2017 and, eventually, assume responsibility as host. After two years of analysis and consultation, the leadership and organizational structure for the Crookston campus’s planned Center for Rural Economic Development has been developed, and searches will soon begin to fill three new positions, including the Frank W. Veden Endowed Chair in Rural Economic Development.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Recognizing the importance of preparing students for the highly diverse world into which they will be graduating, the Crookston campus is, with increased intentionality, integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into campus conversations and programming, with a goal to include higher retention and graduation rates for all students. Enrolling students from more than 40 states and 20 countries and from both very urban and very rural areas, the Crookston campus reflects the diversity of the greater world and, as such, is a “laboratory” in which students can safely and openly explore difficult topics with people who are different from them. With full awareness that this work will be ongoing for many years, Crookston’s highest priority goals for the 2015–16 academic year were to develop and implement plans and strategies to integrate more diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in the community. Training and development programs and activities were planned, implemented, and evaluated. More programs are planned for 2016-2017.
Work is just beginning on an additional strategic initiative that seeks to more fully elicit employees ideas and involvement with focus on the engagement and well-being of faculty and staff. The initiative stemmed from general open-forum discussions of Employee Engagement (E2) survey data results over the past three years and a growing campus culture of continuous improvement. A summer planning retreat in July 2016 set a basic framework for the initiative consisting of two topic areas for working groups: Staff Development and Leadership Development. The two working groups will develop opportunities for both faculty and staff members.
Real-Time Strategic Planning Foundational Work 2014-2016
Strategic planning work done on the Crookston campus from 2014 through 2016 laid the foundation for work being done in 2017. Below is some information on that work.
The Executive Committee July 2013 retreat, focused strategic enrollment management, resulted in a two-part strategy:
- Achieve and maintain a critical mass on campus.
- Continue to grow strategically online.
The Strategic Enrollment Management Committee (SEMC) was created in October 2013 to provide guidance in executing the strategy.
Ongoing conversations in Executive Committee and Cabinet led to a decision to embark on a broader strategic planning process using Real-Time Strategic Planning (RTSP), a model developed by David LaPiana to help non-profit organizations develop greater strategic capacity and respond in “real time” to opportunities and challenges as they arise.
The Executive Committee, along with other members of the UMC community, spent several weeks drafting three key documents (PDF). These documents followed the concepts laid out in LaPiana's book The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World :
During a retreat in January 2014, the expanded Executive Committee, considered a number of UMC’s current opportunities and challenges and formulated three “Big Questions” (as they are called in RTSP) around the following three themes:
- How can UMC achieve and maintain a critical mass of students on campus, while also growing strategically online?
- How can UMC galvanize support and nurture a culture of philanthropy among external and internal constituencies?
- How can UMC become known as a “go to” resource for the local community, region, state, country, and beyond?
During the retreat, three working groups formed around these Big Questions began working on possible next steps and action plans.
The three teams have continued to meet to further develop and refine their ideas. The group focused on strategic enrollment management has merged with the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee that was formed in Fall 2013. The group focused on galvanizing support and nurturing a culture of philanthropy has become known as the Strategic Philanthropic and Regional Support (SPERS) Committee. The third group, which is addressing the topic of UMC becoming known as a “go to” resource, which took the title of Strategic Excellence Initiatives Team (SIET), focused its efforts on developing UMC as a resource for rural economic development.
During Spring Semester 2014, UMC faculty, staff, and students provided feedback and input at the Faculty Assembly in February and at the Campus Assembly and Strategic Planning Open Forum in April.
The Communications and Public Relations Office and the Development and Alumni Office have assumed responsibility to advance the SPERS initiative. After broad consultation, UMC is creating a Center for Rural Economic Development that will partner with several organizations to stimulate and grow the entrepreneurial culture and economic vitality of northwest Minnesota and the state. A search will begin soon to hire the first director of the center.
The focus on strategic enrollment management continued during the July 2014 retreat of the Executive Committee and Strategic Planning Leadership Team. Activities that have grown out of the retreat are summarized on the slides from the October 2014 Thursday Commons presentation. Additionally, all UMC departments and units were charged to develop action plans for student recruitment and retention by November 26. The Strategic Enrollment Management Committee (SEMC) and the Strategic Planning Leadership Team will review and analyze the action plans. Metrics by which progress can be measured will be developed.
Additional details on implementation are contained in the slides from the October 2014 Thursday Commons presentation.
Data will be collected at appropriate intervals on the chosen metrics to measure progress and set new targets. More to come.
Past Strategic Planning Resources
- Process Overview for Campus Assembly - April 2014
- Campus Action Plan Progress Report - November 2011
- Strategic Positioning Update - September 30, 2010
- Strategic Planning Benchmarks 2002