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Strategic Visioning and Planning

A strategic visioning and planning process is underway at UMN Morris. Led by Chancellor Michelle Behr, the process invites students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders to craft a vision for the future of UMN Morris—and work together to make it a reality.

Central Themes

Three central themes have come forward from the process. They are the foundation on which the strategic plan is being built and executed:

→ Public liberal arts for the future

Building the model 21st-century public liberal arts college

→ Excellence for everyone

Fostering capacity with respect to community, culture, climate, and governance

→ Vital campus community

Ensuring a sustainable and stable University community

The Process

Forward-looking and forward-thinking, the visioning and planning process is engaging the campus community in imagining the future of UMN Morris and mobilizing them to bring it to life. 

Phase I: Readings and Conversations

Fall 2017

●      Students, faculty, and staff learn about and discuss the future of American higher education.

Phase II: Visioning and Goal Setting

Spring 2018

●      A Visioning and Planning Task Force solicits input on who we want to be 10 years from now.

Phase III: Strategies and Tactics

Fall 2018–Present

Part 1: Spring 2019 Aspirational Statements 1,3,5,6 | Part 2: Fall 2019 Aspirational Statements 2, 4, 7, 8

●      Additional task forces identify strategic and tactical structures, processes, and plans that will help us get to where we want to be → Task forces and others deliver on priority action steps identified

The Results

Vision and Aspirations: Who We Want to Be

After a series of readings and discussions on the future of American higher education, the campus community was asked to imagine what UMN Morris could be 10 years from now. It answered with the following vision and aspirations:


The University of Minnesota Morris will be a national leader in collaborative and innovative 21st-century liberal arts education.

Grounded in our sense of history and place and our commitments to access and sustainability, we will integrate scholarly and creative work, community-building, and outreach into our rigorous academic programs.

Our diverse community will inspire and equip students to connect their passions to meaningful futures.


  1. Honor our liberal arts tradition by preparing students to create and discover solutions to complex problems of the 21st century, through inquiry, community-engaged learning, and rigorous experiential projects across the curriculum, including integrated first-year and capstone experiences.
  2. Strengthen our commitment to scholarship by supporting faculty, staff, and students in research and creative activities.
  3. Develop integrated strategies to build and maintain an optimal and sustainable student body size while also recruiting and retaining high quality faculty and staff.
  4. Ensure that UMN Morris is a leader in environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
  5. Acknowledge the first peoples of this land and the land’s history as a Native American boarding school through curriculum, programming, and partnerships with Native Communities, as well as through visual markers on campus.  
  6. Create a democratic community committed to open communication where students, faculty, staff, and local community members from all backgrounds are empowered to contribute to the decisions, infrastructure, and liberal arts education on UMN Morris’s campus.
  7. Provide full accessibility to all of UMN Morris's teaching, living, service, and learning spaces and technologies to create an inviting and usable environment for everyone on our campus.
  8. Amplify University of Minnesota, Morris's place as a center for education engaged with the region, state, nation, and world, and solidify its role within the University of Minnesota system so that it can strengthen and be strengthened by the system campuses.

—Endorsed November 2018, Campus Assembly

Priority Action Steps: Making It Happen

With a vision and aspirations in place, we now are building out structures, processes, and plans that will make them a reality. To do so, we are pursuing the following action steps, which came out of the visioning process and were endorsed by Campus Assembly in May 2019:

Action Steps & Timelines

Action Steps Work Begins
Create and implement enrollment management plan. summer 2019
Build a simpler, more integrated set of general education requirements by designing requirements that are more easily understood and explained. spring 2018
Create and communicate a unified internal institutional identity both internally and externally. summer 2019
Develop a First-Year Experience with coherent curricular and co-curricular elements that will introduce students to UMN Morris, to the resources available to them, and to the education they can expect to receive, as well as lay the foundation for students’ successes beyond their degree. fall 2018
Continue efforts to fund American Indian Tuition Waiver. spring 2019

Improve pathways to, through, and beyond a UMN Morris degree. Improve campus knowledge about and understanding of these opportunities.

spring 2019
Improve student retention and participation. summer 2019
Improve campus climate. fall 2019
Identify what key decision makers will develop integrated strategies to build and maintain an optimal and sustainable student body size. Create a structure and strategies for engaging all constituents and clarify how all students, staff, and faculty on campus contribute to our overall success in this area. summer 2019
Recognize the unique obligation and opportunity at UMN Morris for greater equity in education for Native American students fostered by the history of this place; provide indigenized support for student learning, health, wellbeing, and success; and produce graduates from all backgrounds who have a greater understanding of and appreciation for Native American history, cultures, and lifeways. already in progress