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Preface

As the University’s 50th anniversary approaches, our UMBC community focuses with this plan on strategic steps toward the next level of inclusive excellence. The plan honors our founding commitment to serve the citizens of Maryland and welcome people of all backgrounds into the life of the university. It builds on our achievements as a selective, public research university strongly connected with the economic and civic life of the Baltimore region and the State of Maryland.

The plan is directional and broad, providing a focused, complementary set of goals, strategies, and recommendations to guide faculty, staff, students, and alumni as we further UMBC’s evolution as a nationally and internationally recognized public research university. The plan addresses four focus areas selected by the UMBC community as fundamental elements of academic excellence:

  • Collective Impact in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Achievement
  • The Student Experience
  • Innovative Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Community and Extended Connections.

Wide participation across the campus characterized each major phase of planning activity, from the “planning to plan” design stage (2012-2013) to stakeholder and best practices research (2013-2014) to strategy group recommendations (2014-2015).  A set of Guiding Principles for Planning, developed by the campus community and endorsed during the 2013 University Retreat, established standards for the process addressing such areas as analysis, campus engagement, alignment with UMBC’s mission and vision, and fit with University System of Maryland (USM) and state goals.

Faculty, staff, undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni were represented on the 24-member Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) and in the four strategy groups charged to research and develop the recommendations central to the plan. There were more than 70 opportunities for members of the campus community, including representatives of each of the shared governance groups, to provide feedback via surveys, face-to-face gatherings, and online.  Across these varied methods, more than 5000 community engagement interactions occurred through the process.  Feedback from these interactions was steadily summarized and shared with the SPSC.

The plan’s recommendations are supported by extensive institutional and external research conducted by each strategy group. This summary document provides links to full narratives that discuss the background research and reasoning that informed each group’s conclusions.

The process also included assessment by a Foundations Work Group of elements necessary to effectively support current activities and enable advancement in the areas of: people, facilities, resources, information technology, and sustainability. Opportunities and challenges identified by this group of internal, subject-matter experts complement many of the strategy group recommendations in this draft report. The valuable work of this group is available to inform implementation.

Plan implementation is the responsibility of the University’s Council of Vice Presidents and Deans, reporting to the provost and the president, and working in consultation with the campus community and shared governance groups. The Council will develop multi-year operational plans, link planning to budget, and provide a transparent process for periodic progress reports and tracking. It is important to note that while this report stops short of recommending particular operational action items, it does include measures of success that can be utilized for monitoring progress toward objectives and for continuous assessment.

By design, the plan does not use current or anticipated resources to limit UMBC’s vigorous pursuit of inclusive academic excellence. At the same time, those who worked on the plan were mindful that both people and financial resources are critical to achieving goals.  Forward momentum in the focus areas depends upon strong enrollments, continued improvement in student success, and growth in research funding, strategic partnerships, and alumni engagement. Also, by design, the plan does not set any enrollment targets. Enrollment is considered to be an asset to be strategically managed to achieve objectives.

Finally, consistent with a campus culture that emphasizes innovation and broad engagement in the rapidly changing world around the university, the plan’s goals and objectives do not preclude pursuit of other opportunities that emerge.