Measuring the NDUS Strategic Plan: Guiding with Analytics

Over five years ago, the current 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for the North Dakota University System was unveiled to the state after much hard work by countless stakeholders. The higher education landscape has seen massive change since that time, which has caused NDUS to adapt and evolve. Both Dickinson State University’s unfolding transition to a dual mission institution and Bismarck State College’s shift to a polytechnic focus represent evidence of this rapid evolution. What hasn’t changed are the core values of the North Dakota University System, which are reflected in the NDUS Strategic Plan.

A critical component to ensuring a strategic plan is on the right path is establishing metrics that align with each goal outlined in a plan. Metrics are the measures that guide progress and future decision-making. If there is no way to measure progress, appropriate decisions cannot be made that would allow NDUS and its institutions to adapt in the modern environment. Key indicators have been developed and delivered via dashboards to demonstrate that the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) sees transparency and accountability to the public as top priorities.

Below is a brief summary and link to each dashboard, displaying the metrics to its respective goal in the NDUS Strategic Plan.

Goal 1: Deliver degrees that are the best value in the nation

Ensuring students can receive an affordable education is crucial for student success. Communicating value by creating a transparent tuition and fee structure allows for students and parents to know what they are getting for their money.

Goal 2: Provide programs people want, where and when they need them

Access to education for all students, traditional and non-traditional, in a primarily rural state infuses the economy with lifelong learners. This, in turn, can boost the workforce in all regions of the state.

Goal 3: Equip Students for Success

Enrolling students is not enough. Helping them to complete their education journey with a credential –from skilled labor certifications to graduate degrees – establishes pathways for success. We are prepared to become the most transfer-friendly state in the country as long as students remain our focus.

Goal 4: Maximize the strengths of the unified system

Collaboration creates partnerships, efficiencies, and synergy that cannot be found by embarking on the higher education in isolation. Faculty, staff, and students all benefit in one way or another from operating under a united system of institutions working toward common goals.

Goal 5: Research Excellence and Innovation

Research and discovery do not only provide a boost to economic development for the state of North Dakota. They also produces unique learning opportunities that shape our future leaders locally, nationally, and globally.


Ryan Jockers is a Strategic Analytics Coordinator for the North Dakota University System (NDUS). In this position he works with all NDUS institutions providing direction for strategic planning and institutional effectiveness processes as required by the State Board of Higher Education. Further, he assists in providing strategic data solutions to all entities within the NDUS, including close collaboration with other state agencies such as the Information Technology Department, Department of Public Instruction, and Job Service ND among others. Ryan has a passion for understanding the true impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on a society, and strives to find the most efficient use of AI that aligns with the strategic goals and objectives of higher education in North Dakota.