One UND Strategic Plan goal captains detail early accomplishments of implementation teams
Benjamin Franklin knew a little something about progress.
He drove the creation of the United States of America not just with the verbal eloquence for which he’s known – he led by turning his musings into action. More than two centuries after his death, UND is living the Founding Father’s adage:
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
That was the frame of mind of the One UND Strategic Plan goal captains as they delivered their first progress reports at UND President Mark Kennedy’s Oct. 23 cabinet meeting. The captains had the opportunity to communicate milestones achieved, as well as anticipated challenges and victories to come.
“We have set realistic goals, and we are making sure we are meeting those goals along the way and celebrating those wins,” said Strategic Plan Implementation Lead Angelique Foster.
Goal One – Provide a strong undergraduate liberal arts foundation
Goal One Captain Debbie Storrs kicked off the round-the-table report with an update on her team’s aim of creating more high impact learning opportunities like undergraduate research, internships, and studies abroad.
“Many faculty are already doing high impact learning in their classrooms. We are developing a working group to inventory our current HIPs (high-impact practices) across campus, and also to develop some recommendations about how we would assess those moving forward,” she said.
Storrs also explained that the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ (AAC&U) VALUE Rubrics – a learning outcomes assessment resource the team will use as a progress metric – is a thoughtful way to evaluate the intellectual skills associated with the liberal arts.
The team plans to to submit data collected at UND from last spring’s graduating seniors to the AAC&U VALUE Institute to measure critical thinking later this fall. The institute evaluates that data using AAC&U rubrics, allowing UND to make comparisons with other higher education institutions and adjust curriculum as necessary.
Goal Two – Increase graduation and retention rates
Goal Two Captain Hesham El-Rewini explained that his steering team is developing deliverables by crafting work breakdown structures – referred to as WBS – for each action item of Goal Two.
They have accomplished WBSs pertaining to more expansive use of the student success platform Starfish, advising, outbound calling, DFW (D-grade, F-grade, or withdrawal) rates, student pathways/barriers, and a first-year experience course. El-Rewini said more deliverables will be mapped soon.
He added that he’s working with associated units to discuss how to properly budget goals within the framework of the incentive-based MIRA model.
“One of the things we have done is encourage the people who will be impacted by the action items to tell us their needs. For example, at Student Academic Services, if they need a new position, we encourage them to tell us now so we can plan for it,” he said.
Goal Three – Deliver more educational opportunities online and on campus
President Kennedy was next to speak in his acting role as Goal Three Captain. His team is focused on three aspects of delivering more opportunity at UND – marketing, online offerings, and high-demand degrees.
The President spoke of weekly meetings with Marketing & Creative Services that address the productivity of UND’s digital advertising campaign and updates on a redeveloped website (launching April 2018). Marketing is also incorporating the new Leaders in Action tagline into recruiting efforts.
The Goal Three online team is closer to a solid partnership plan with an Online Program Management company, and will assess what programs UND will want help in launching first. The hope is to have these initial programs ready for enrollment by Fall 2018.
In support of new high-demand degrees, President Kennedy said UND is in the first stage of proposal submissions to move forward on initiating cybersecurity and data analytics degrees.
“The idea behind these degrees is that there’s a huge demand out there for these graduates,” he said. “We want to elevate our graduates and make them better prepared for a future that’s moving forward at a rapid pace.”
Goal Four – Enhance discovery at a level consistent with most research-intensive universities (Carnegie R1)
Goal Four Captain Grant McGimpsey said his team is making progress in all action steps. All of the teams supporting the goal’s Grand Challenges have been established and are moving forward.
McGimpsey noted that Energy & Environmental Research Center CEO Tom Erickson’s Grand Challenge team (promoting energy security and environmental sustainability) has advanced the furthest, and has established its own strategic plan with funding goals and proposal submission goals.
Erickson’s team also created a seed funding program for small grants.
“Each of the Grand Challenge champions are trying to engage with campus, and these seed funding programs are a great way to do that,” McGimpsey said.
The Goal Four team is moving ahead on streamlining the process for faculty to report their research and scholarly activities. Faculty fellow David Flynn is spearheading a reboot of Digital Measures with a goal of making the system easier to use.
Goal Five – Foster a welcoming, safe and inclusive campus climate
Goal Five Captain Cara Halgren reported that the Cultural Diversity Tuition Waiver has been revamped with a renewed concentration on first-year students in order to increase enrollment interest.
The team is collaborating with Marketing on a cross-cultural programming initiative. When new students arrive for 2018 summer orientation, they will clearly see what cultural events will be offered over the upcoming year.
Halgren was also excited to report that the team has had successful visits to two local tribal colleges, with plans to visit two more.
“The idea is to get a sense of what our tribal colleges are looking for in terms of a more streamlined connection to move their students from graduation at their tribal institutions to admission here and enrollment at UND,” she said.
Goal Six – Meet educational needs of active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families
Goal Six Project Manager Sherry Lawdermilt said their focus has been on making sure that the degrees they have identified as high-demand for the military – and that they want to develop and market online – are accurate, both regionally and nationally.
They recently began meeting with the Goal Three team to discuss how they can best leverage UND’s upcoming OPM partnership.
“Our biggest win that we’re really happy about is that the Essential Studies Committee approved the 15 general education credits from the Community College of the Air Force, so we will be able to move forward with our AU-ABC (Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative) program,” Lawdermilt said.
Goal Seven – Attract support for the University by actively engaging alumni and donors
Goal Seven Captain DeAnna Carlson Zink noted four crowdfunding initiatives currently benefiting the UND aerobatics team, UND Football, UND Tennis and the Chemistry Department, with another in the works for ROTC. Her team is reviewing ways to improve the crowdfunding process and market its opportunities.
The group is also developing a library of impact stories with the help of Marketing & Creative Services.
“We’re looking at how we can collect and distribute these stories in multiple, multi-channel ways,” Carlson Zink said.