Strategic Updates & Progress (January 17, 2020)

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to provide an update regarding our strategic planning initiative and cognate progress. 

Strategic Plan Update

The “Confronting the Challenges of a New Era” white paper (December 2018) and the institutional goals that I outlined during my inaugural address (April 2019) served as the foundation for our strategic planning efforts. 

These documents outlined university values, performance principles and goals. Both the white paper and my address spoke to our rapidly changing world and the challenges that lie ahead. We face exponential population growth, resource depletion, inequity in resource distribution, water scarcity, geographic instability, climate change, immigration, automation, over-reliance on technology and other global issues to name a few. While identified as challenges, these issues also create opportunities for UM-Dearborn faculty, staff and students. 

More recently, in late December 2019, I shared that the strategic planning working group final reports had been submitted. These reports, comprising 177 pages and 211 proposed ideas, address the need to think differently and prepare for an innovative university landscape within a changing world. Over the holiday break, I asked the senior officers to review each report with an eye toward our highest priority, student success. 

It was evident that each group consulted the situational analysis report that was completed last summer. Many great ideas emerged from the working groups’ efforts and will be considered and explored further. 

I encourage you to read the five working group reports. Some preliminary ideas have been shared with our deans, President Schlissel, and the Regents this week and we are currently in the process of preparing a summary report for the entire campus community for discussion and feedback. 

To be sure, there is still much to do such as prioritization, development of performance metrics and implementation plans and resource acquisition.

Strategic Enrollment Management Plan

As an integral and complementary component of the strategic planning process, our Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Melissa Stone, is preparing a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan to help the university further develop and establish obtainable enrollment, retention, and graduation goals and strategies. 

Urban Futures - A Spire of Excellence

An organizing theme that we have discussed in various venues over the last several months, and that surfaced in several of the reports, is Urban Futures (UF).  UF aligns very well with, and responds directly to, many of the challenges outlined in the “Confronting the Challenges of a New Era” white paper and builds on many extant strengths and accomplishments of our university. 

Urban Futures is a timely and energizing spire of excellence that can help UM-Dearborn differentiate itself from other universities and colleges in the state and region. A white paper, "The Urban Futures Spire of Excellence”, has been crafted to better define and contextualize this concept, in terms of both societal need and strategic opportunity, and to begin to define how UM-Dearborn can be positioned to both advance its institutional priorities and contribute to this greater good. 

I encourage you to read, or re-read, these important documents that will help define the roadmap to our future.

There is a mechanism to provide feedback along the bottom of the strategic planning website. There will also be additional face-to-face opportunities to provide feedback in the future. 

Please mark your calendars for the next Conversation with the Chancellor on February 24, 2020  between 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. A formal invitation is forthcoming. 

You may also discuss your ideas and thoughts with your dean, senior leaders or me directly anytime. 

I would like to especially thank Professor Deborah Smith-Pollard for her hard work, enthusiasm and advice in co-chairing the strategic planning committee with me and all the working group chairs and members for their effort and reflective and innovative thinking in preparing the final reports. 

Finally, thank you all for your participation, energy and thoughts regarding efforts to plan for an exciting UM-Dearborn future.

Go Blue – Go Dearborn!

Domenico Grasso


Office of the Chancellor

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