May 2021

Virtual Town Hall Focuses on Strategic Plan Themes

May 3, 2021    |  

The co-chairs of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) 2022-2026 Strategic Plan hosted a second virtual town hall April 29 to discuss with the University community a draft set of Strategic Plan themes: the general areas of focus for the next several years at UMB.

The two town halls — the first one April 1 focused on a draft set of new UMB core values — have been central to the feedback part of a strategic planning process that includes reviewing the University’s core values, proposing new core values, and developing themes, strategic objectives, and strategic outcomes. This UMB Strategic Plan follows plans developed for 2011-2016 and 2017-2021.

(Take a survey about the April 29 town hall.)

The co-chairs are Judy L. Postmus, PhD, ACSW, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and Roger J. Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA, interim provost, executive vice president, and dean of the University of Maryland Graduate School. The effort is aided by a steering committee and a logistics committee made up of representatives from around the University.

“The themes are influenced by UMB’s mission. They are influenced by UMB’s vision,” Ward said before presenting the proposed themes via PowerPoint. “Very importantly, under each theme, there will be a set of strategic outcomes. And this is really where our aspirations show up. Outcomes are the results that we expect to realize if we are successful as an institution in pursuing the strategic objectives.”

Here are the proposed themes for the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan and the aspirations for each:

Community Partnership and Collaboration: UMB fully embraces its status as an “anchor institution” and engages in earnest and respectful partnerships and collaborations with our neighbors and community organizations to realize mutually beneficial goals that have measurable and sustainable impact.

University Culture, Engagement, and Belonging: Members of the UMB community feel comfortable and valued at work, including being treated fairly and respected by their colleagues; are connected to the people they work with and the teams they are part of; and contribute to meaningful work outcomes — understanding how their unique strengths are helping their teams and the institution achieve shared goals.

Student Growth and Success: UMB aspires to a holistic and student-centered strategy across all dimensions of the student experience, inside and outside of the classrooms, clinics, and laboratories. We strive to adapt to the evolving needs of our diverse and changing student population by providing flexible and responsive support services and innovative instruction modalities to promote success and to prepare our graduates to be exemplary professionals and leaders in society.

Innovation and Reimagination: UMB aspires to leverage the intellectual curiosity and creativity of our faculty, staff, and students to cultivate a transformative mindset that embraces new ideas, flexibility, and agility — learning from failures along the way — to successfully imagine new and improved ways to get things done.

Global Health and Education: UMB seeks to enhance its status and reputation as a globally engaged research institution committed to improving the human condition beyond the borders of the United States. Together with our international partners and collaborators, we will support innovative learning, teaching, and dialogue in pursuit of multidisciplinary solutions to global challenges.

Core Values Integration and Accountability: UMB aspires to create a community in which each of us fully embraces our core values and lives them in our words and actions. We seek to empower, encourage, and expect each faculty, staff, and student member of our community to take accountability for their actions and for cultivating a working and learning environment that promotes respect, tolerance, understanding, and fairness.

Ward discussed each theme, taking particular pride in the one focused on students.

“No strategic plan at a university would be complete without a dedicated team focused on student growth and success,” he said. “And what is really special about this one, of course, is that we have student representation on the steering committee, and the students and committee really own this theme and helped us put meaning into it.”

Among the next steps in the process, six groups chaired by steering committee members will be formed and tasked with identifying others within the UMB community who can help draft strategic objectives and outcomes for each theme. Objectives are defined as long-term organizational goals that put each theme into context and bring it in to sharper focus; outcomes are the results that UMB expects to realize if it is successful in pursuing the objectives.

During her presentation to kick off the town hall, Postmus discussed the draft set of core values and the feedback received from an online survey after the April 1 town hall. The current set of seven core values — accountability, civility, collaboration, diversity, excellence, knowledge, and leadership — would be replaced by a set of four: respect and integrity; well-being and sustainability; equity and justice; and innovation and discovery. (See results of the survey here.)

“The majority of people responded rather well to these four core values, but we understand there is more work to be done in that area. We will continue to take feedback and draft a Strategic Plan by the end of May, then it goes off to the deans, vice presidents, and the president to make final determinations,” Postmus said, noting the plan must be in place by June 30.

“It’s an ambitious timeline,” she said. “We are grateful to the steering and logistics committee members who have put in a lot of time and effort to get this done in this kind of time frame.”