GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota campus can be quiet when students are gone for summer but university leaders are staying busy with an ongoing strategic planning effort.
The build-out of the plan has been ongoing for the better part of the past year, culminating in the late May release of the wide-reaching planning document intended to shape every aspect of campus in some way through the next five years. Now that the plan has been laid, the university is starting to roll it out with an implementation team led by a number of “captains” assisted by other faculty and staff members, several of whom recently underwent project management training in the Ida Rud center on campus.
UND President Mark Kennedy described the planning campaign as marathon race of “10 streams of action” running simultaneously with varying completion timelines.
“It’s become part of nearly everything we do,” Kennedy said. “You don’t implement the kind of transformational changes we’re talking about overnight.”
The plan, which tracks alongside a wider strategic planning effort taking shape across the North Dakota University System, is headed by statements of mission and values that overarch UND as a whole. From there, it branches into three conceptual areas -- learning, discovery and engagement -- that are defined by a total of seven campuswide goals.
The learning group includes goals like providing a strong undergraduate liberal arts foundation; increasing undergraduate, graduate and professional retention and graduation rates; and delivering more education online and on campus. The discovery category has a single goal, which is to boost the university’s research efforts to a certain industry standard. The engagement set of goals includes fostering a more inclusive campus climate; increasing educational opportunities for military members, veterans and their families; and more actively engaging alumni and other supporters of the university.
Each of those goals is narrowed by some specific action items paired with metrics for defining progress. Each is also headed by a captain who is responsible for overseeing their goal being brought to reality. As the summer organizing has progressed, those captains are now at the helm of implementation teams guided by their project managers.
The project management approach includes the use of software provided through the NDUS Core Technology Services to keep the various implementation efforts on their respective timelines. So far, Kennedy is pleased with the rollout, saying the plan’s early execution is setting it on a pace that will eventually “set UND apart.”
University spokesman Peter Johnson said he’s excited about the direction of the plan.
“The people I see particularly engaged with the strategic plan, they’re moving forward, doing things,” Johnson said. “I think there will be a general positive thrust on campus moving on.”