Planning update, July 22, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are all enjoying the summer. 

The strategic planning process is moving along well. However, the process has slowed a bit, understandably due to summer research and vacation plans. 

We are pleased to report the situational analysis review groups have completed their data gathering work and have prepared a report. The analysis identifies the campus’ strengths and weaknesses and articulates factors influencing the landscape of higher education in our region and beyond. The complete 87-page situational analysis is now available on the strategic planning website. There is also a 13-page executive summary (available at the same website above) that highlights key findings. These data will serve to inform the various working groups’ efforts, upcoming university-wide fora, and other campus-wide engagement opportunities. Thank you to the situational analysis review groups for the terrific work!

Working group chairs attended a planning orientation shortly after the conclusion of the spring semester and have also met together since the orientation to discuss next steps regarding group memberships, focus and broader campus engagement. 

Many thanks to the nearly 150 people that answered the call to engage in the strategic planning process. A current list of working group membership can be found on the strategic planning website, by clicking on the working group titles under strategic priorities. Groups are currently developing their meeting schedules and additional working group meetings are expected to take place over the summer.  There are still opportunities to engage in the process. If you are interested in participating in a working group, please contact Jackie Kortes at  We look forward to inviting students to the working groups when they return to campus in the fall. 

During the most recent meetings with the working group chairs, a few points were raised and discussed. We would like to share our perspectives with you.  

We encouraged the working groups not to develop group-specific mission and vision statements. Rather, we encourage them to develop ideas - strategic ideas that are big, bold and without borders, and yet within our reach - ideas that build upon our strengths and are grounded in data, research and benchmarking. 

Our current university mission and vision is sufficiently comprehensive and aligns very nicely with our core values and performance principles, outlined in the white paper that was shared with the campus in December. We encourage the best thinking, not necessarily constrained by our current vision and mission. It will be our well-considered and collective best thinking that will drive refinements to our vision and/or mission and the direction of our next 60 years. 

As we continue to progress, it is also important to note that only our campus community can and should set our strategic priorities. We know what is best for the students and the communities we serve. The chancellor recently drafted a campus narrative that articulates the uniqueness of UM-Dearborn. Aspects of the narrative have been incorporated into a University of Michigan website that clearly outlines the distinctive characteristics of the three campuses. Working groups are encouraged to review these resources as they work through the development of the strategic planning process.

Our next Thought Leaders sessions have been scheduled for the fall. They include:

  • September 13, Mark Seale, Executive Vice President and Provost, Arizona State University, who will speak on the extraordinary changes that have been taking place on his campus. 
  • September 20, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, author of Generous Thinking:  A Radical Approach to Saving the University, Director of Digital Humanities and Professor, Michigan State University. 
  • TBD - Fall, Steve Forrest and Jennifer Haverkamp, Co-Chairs of University of Michigan Commission on Carbon Neutrality to help us consider sustainability ab initio (from the beginning), in our planning efforts. 

Thank you for your engagement to date and your future contributions to this important initiative. Together, we will design the future direction of the campus for our next 60 years. 

Go Blue. Go Dearborn!

Domenico Grasso 
Chancellor - Co-chair, Strategic Planning Initiative 

Deborah Smith Pollard 
Professor - Co-chair, Strategic Planning Initiative