UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

Strategic Planning Committee, volunteers peer into UND’s future

UND’s strategic plan will be driven by University community

UND archival image.

Jim Mochoruk and Lynette Krenelka encountered a “delightful problem” when they agreed to co-chair UND’s Strategic Planning Committee.

They had more volunteers than they could accommodate.

Jim Mochoruk

“The response has been truly overwhelming,” said Mochoruk, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of History, about the number of people who wanted to be involved in crafting UND’s new strategic plan. “We really value the insights that these folks can provide, and are trying to find ways to include them.”

The goal is to build a strategic plan for UND, by UND and the greater community.

“What’s surprised me the most is the positive engagement in the strategic planning process from every group – students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members,” said Krenelka, executive director of the Teaching Transformation and Development Academy. “We have individuals joining us from across the globe.”

UND’s strategic planning process began in February, when UND President Andy Armacost tapped Krenelka and Mochoruk to chair the committee.

“The strategic plan must reflect great aspiration while focusing on excellence in education and research, building a sense of community both on and off campus and creating a sense of creativity and innovation across all of UND,” Armacost said at a Feb. 17 plan launch event.

The goal was to have a plan driven by input from the entire UND community, Mochoruk said. Committee members organized a live and virtual “Brag, Worry, Wonder, Bet” sticky note exercise that papered the walls of the Memorial Union’s Small Ballroom with ideas about UND’s future. Town halls, surveys, focus groups, meetings with the University, alumni, and local community, and other events gathered information.

There’s a prodigious amount of information.

“It’s clear that there’s a real desire on the part of staff, students, alums, the community and faculty to have their voices and concerns heard,” Mochoruk said. “We’re learning so much in the course of our work that we’ll prepare a secondary report for the president.”

Lynette Krenelka

That report will raise issues that concern people – but which do not make it into the final strategic plan – as well as offer suggestions for keeping communication channels open, sharing data and analysis.

“There are so many great ideas, and not everything will be able to be done right away, or be able to be implemented into UND’s strategic plan,” Krenelka said.

What are they hearing?

“Some of the themes we’ve identified are accessibility and parking; diversity, equity and inclusion; strong support and engagement from alumni; connecting students more with alumni; campus sustainability; research vs. teaching; affordability; and the great (just-right) size of our campus for students,” Krenelka said.

“Parking, parking and parking,” Mochoruk said, tongue-in-cheek. “I’m being only slightly facetious. Parking affects everyone on campus, and those who would like to visit the campus. I’ve also been struck by how often we hear concerns over balancing our research and teaching missions, and how often students comment on diversity, equity and inclusion in all parts of our work.”

Next steps

What’s next as the strategic plan takes shape?

UND is still in the discovery phase of strategic planning, and that will continue through July.

Seven strategic planning work groups also have been formed:

  • Creativity, discovery & Innovation
  • Collaboration & Engagement
  • Valuing & Supporting UND Employees
  • UND Community: Climate & Culture
  • Fostering Equity & Inclusive Excellence
  • Student Success Through Academic Excellence
  • Student Success Beyond the Classroom

The goal of these groups is to do some of the heavy lifting, discover more information and UND’s needs for each topic, then share the information with the larger Strategic Planning Committee. They’ll develop a rough outline of ideas for strategic pillars, actions, priorities and metrics. Their work will be combined with the Strategic Planning Committee’s work on UND’s mission, vision and core values.

The work will continue throughout the summer, and the working groups will submit plans and recommendations in August.

The second phase of planning is set to run from August through December, when the committee will begin identifying “pillars” and drafting the plan. The drafts will be shared, and feedback will be sought through surveys, town halls, focus groups and other mechanisms.

The final draft will be sent to President Armacost in late December.

The plan will launch in January with a thank-you celebration, Krenelka said.

“People who have engaged in conversations about UND want to continue those conversations after the plan is written,” she said. “This plan is an open plan, with no end date. Jim and I hope to come up with a way for everyone to continue to have input into our great institution.”

“This is important work that will help UND move forward and be successful in the future,” Mochoruk said. “The plan will provide a clear direction to advance UND under a common purpose. It will allow us to focus effort and invest in strategic ideas that can differentiate us and have an impact. It will be an open plan that meets the needs of the University community, state and beyond.”