Celebration time

University honors ‘One UND’ strategic planners one year after successful launch and implementation

LTC Jason Murphy and Tom DiLorenzo

Provost Tom DiLorenzo, implementation captain for Goal No. 6 (to meet the educational needs of active-duty and veteran students) of the One UND Strategic Plan, presents a Lucite memento to Lt. Col. Jason Murphy, head of the Army Reserve Officer Training Battalion at UND and a member of the Goal No. 6 implementation committee. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

Provost Tom DiLorenzo admitted he was skeptical at first.

He recalled the day UND President Mark Kennedy, early in his tenure, broached the idea of launching a strategic planning process for the entire University. Having seen processes played out before at other universities, where, after the hoopla dies down, the plans eventually get shelved, the Provost had reason to be leery.

But, DiLorenzo also remembers a resolve in Kennedy’s words at the time.

“I remember him saying, ‘don’t worry that we’re going to go through this process and put it on a shelf,'” DiLorenzo said.

DiLorenzo continued, paraphrasing his boss, “‘Worry that we are going to carry it out.'”

“And because of all of you, who helped us through this process over this past year — we are carrying it out.”

DiLorenzo was speaking to an audience of more than 100 faculty, staff and friends of the University who turned out for a “One UND” Strategic Planning & Implementation Celebration on Wednesday at the Gorecki Alumni Center. About 80 of the invitees were individually honored for their work in taking UND’s strategic plan from concept to reality in action.

The celebration roughly marked the one-year point for the five-year, seven-goal plan that encompasses all aspects of the University — from student learning to effective teaching and advising to bold research visions to greater inclusivity and alumni engagement.

“We are at a point where where we are passing it on and institutionalizing it for the people who will keep that energy going,” Kennedy said. He added that it was important for the University to pause for a moment and say — “Job well done.”

That message, on this night, was specifically directed to the captains for each of the plan’s seven goals, as well as the project managers and committee members who drove development of each of the goals over the past year and longer.

The honorees received special recognition among their peers and a 5-by-7 inch Lucite memento as a tribute to their involvement in the strategic plan. The mementos read: “In honor and recognition of your work toward the One UND Strategic Plan (2017-2022). Purpose: Chief Opportunity Engine for North Dakota and Our Students. Vision: Premier Flagship University in the Northern Plains.”

Chelsea Larson and Mark Kennedy and Debbie Kennedy

Chelsea Larson, UND interim director of financial aid services, chats with President Kennedy and First Lady Debbie Kennedy on Wednesday at the Strategic Planning & Implementation Appreciation Celebration, at the Gorecki Alumni Center. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

Magnetic success

Kennedy said that others in the community are taking notice of what’s happening at UND, and some are looking to duplicate it in their own organizations.

“Success is magnetic,” Kennedy said. “I really believe that the success we are achieving with the strategic plan is going to be magnetic in terms of attracting others to UND, whether they be students, faculty or those who simply want to come along and be part of the great things that are happening here.”

Throughout the ceremony, Kennedy listed some of those successes, including the implementation of an on-campus unit dedicated to high-impact teaching practices, software that helps identify and mentor academically at-risk students, and a new online degree planner that lets students know exactly what they need to do to graduate in four years.

DeAnna Carlson-Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation and a captain for Goal No. 7 (attracting and enhancing support for the University by actively engaging alumni and donors), summed up the energy of her organization in a way that’s emblematic of feelings across campus.

“We really appreciate the opportunity, as an affiliate of the University, to play role in moving this University forward and being part of the strategic plan,” she said.

UND Political Scientist Dana Harsell, a past chair of the University Senate, co-chaired the initial 50-member University Strategic Planning Process Committee that got the whole thing rolling, with former UND Vice President for Student Affairs Laurie Betting, who’s now retired. Harsell reflected on the process, to date, as challenging but rewarding.

“You can imagine that we had a number of different ideas and opinions on what the ultimate goal might look like,but we came to this vision of One UND through this year-long process,” Harsell said. “We sometimes deliberated through some very tough conversations as well as some very inspiring conversations on what direction the University should be going — that was probably my favorite part.”