UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

Setting the course

Strategic planning moves forward on campus with the aim of making UND the premier flagship University on the Northern Plains

Strategic Planning Committee
UND Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs leads a brain-storming session for the University’s Strategic Planning Process. Betting is co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, with Dana Harsell, chair of the University Senate. Photo by Shawna Schill.

There’s no better time to set UND’s course than now, said Laurie Betting, interim vice president for student affairs and co-chair of the University’s Strategic Planning Committee.

“You can raise your sail and let the wind take you,” said Betting, “or you can harness the wind and use it to your advantage.”

That’s the benefit of strategic planning, said UND President Mark Kennedy.

“A common vision can have great power to move UND forward and achieve even greater things,” he said.  “Bringing everyone together as One UND can do just that,” he said.

Betting said that two things resonated with her when Kennedy was interviewing for the presidency.

“He wasn’t afraid of change,” and, she added, “he understood the importance of strategic planning, creating a vision and allowing the community to shape that vision.”

That’s why she agreed to co-chair the Strategic Planning Committee, along with Dana Harsell, University Senate chair and associate professor of political science and public administration.

Campus reaction, she said, ranged from feelings that, amid the MIRA (Model for Incentive-based Resource Allocation) budgeting process and budget cuts, the campus had had enough. But, she said, more people recognized that this is the right time to do it and became involved.

“There is no better time to develop a strategic plan,” Betting said. “We can decide where we want to go.” Even without increased funding, UND can set areas of strategic investments and move forward.

“There are lots of amazing people involved,” she continued. “More and more people see a great opportunity. It’s a unique opportunity to harness their collective wisdom.”

Now the challenge is to get others excited about the opportunity. The committee recognizes that initiatives like teaching excellence don’t happen without great facilities, a support system or a plan to recruit and retain quality faculty and students. And that’s all the more reason to be involved, Betting said.

“We want the campus to know that their voices matter,” she said. “It takes all of us working together. It really is One UND.”

Blake Andert
UND business student Blake Andert makes a point during a recent discussion about the University’s Strategic Planning Process. Andert is an operations and supply chain management major in the College of Business & Public Administration. Photo by Shawna Schill.

The committee, which began meeting in September, has involved the University community through campus conversations, email comments and public meetings, with the help of campus governance and the Alumni Association and Foundation.

“These campus conversations are ongoing,” said Betting. “We encourage you to look for opportunities to participate.”

The purpose of the plan is to enable UND to be the chief engine of opportunity for North Dakota and North Dakotans. Its vision is for UND to be the premier flagship University on the Northern Plains.

How does UND get there? That’s where the planning comes in.

So far, members of the committee have developed core values that will translate to strategic initiatives, with input from the campus at every stage. They are also examining metrics to see how UND compares to other universities.

An outline is due by Dec. 12, and the plan will be reviewed and refined with more campus engagement by April. The final, integrated plan is due in May.