Strategic planning updates underway

Strategic planning updates underway

“There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life.”

Those words were once spoken by President Theodore Roosevelt, a man who himself was as adaptive as he was iconic. Change remains as a near-universal constant, for many facets of society and certainly for higher education. It’s imperative that we remain open to change.

In November, the North Dakota University System’s adaption to change will continue as we begin a series of visits to campuses and communities throughout the state. These visits will seek to encourage feedback from staff, faculty, and students, as well as legislators and community members on what our current five-year strategic plan is doing right, and if we should anticipate making any adjustments to it for possible change in the future.

Our current plan was put in place in 2015 for a five-year period. Next June, the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) will adopt a new plan. Without prejudging our work and the upcoming discussions, it could turn out to be a continuation of the current plan – with possible changes – or perhaps a brand new plan.

So far, we think this process leading to our visits has been based on a solid foundation. After all, our current plan has shown some adaptability in itself. While initially existing in a document-only format, system office personnel ultimately provided an update to the structure of how we track our plan’s metrics and goals through a public-facing resource called NDUS Dashboards. There, our SBHE’s goals can be tracked over time through numerous, data-driven metrics.

Those goals are:

  • Deliver degrees that are the best value in the nation;
  • Provide programs people want, where and when they need them;
  • Equip students for success;
  • Maximize the strengths of the unified system;
  • Research excellence and innovation.

We’re confident that as we move forward, discussions can help highlight which goals our constituents prioritize the most, what processes or initiatives our colleges and universities want to remain as high priorities, what current or emerging challenges are being perceived by our constituents, and if any metrics need to be more adaptive as the process moves along.

After all, it’s likely that things will continue to change for higher education well into the future. If we’re able to anticipate that change by having conversations among all North Dakotans, we’re far likelier to find success – for our state, our system, and our students.