Strategic Planning Session Summaries

UND STRATEGIC PLANNING ‐ ENGAGEMENT WORKING GROUP. Core Values Engagement and Recommendations. Engagement Working Group: Carrie Herrig (Lead), Chris Zygarlicke, Amber Flynn, Steve Light, Jeffrey. Holm, and Andrea Boe. BACKGROUND. Feedback from the broader campus community is an essential element to the Strategic Planning process. To this end, an Engagement Working Group (EWG) was formed from volunteers of the larger Strategic Planning Committee. The overall goal of the EWG is to identify, coordinate, and report on engagement opportunities with students, faculty and staff at critical points during the strategic planning process. The immediate role of the EWG is to solicit feedback from the campus community on the draft Core Values and draft Strategic Initiatives recently developed by the Strategic Committee. The feedback will be documented and presented at the October 26 Strategic Planning Committee meeting with the purpose of finalizing the Core Values and Strategic Initiatives. These two elements are the building blocks of the Strategic Plan. Readmore

ENGAGEMENT PROCESS. At the October 5th Strategic Planning Committee meeting, an engagement process called World Café was presented as an option to engage and gather feedback from a broader audience. The Strategic Planning Committee agreed upon utilizing the World Café approach in an effort to effectively address the two topics and maximize participation. The EWG and Strategic Planning Co‐ Chairs met to further develop the approach for engaging the campus on multiple levels concerning Core Values and Strategic Initiatives. The World Café concept was renamed Campus Conversations and modified to better align with the logistics and format of the engagement event. The team established that, at a minimum, there should be at least three Campus Conversations for each topic. Generally speaking, the format for the Campus Conversations is as follows:

Welcome & Opening Remarks (5 minutes)
– Introduce members of the EWG present
– Recognize any Strategic Planning Committee members in the room
– Show video of President Kennedy

Why We Are Here & Activity (50 minutes)
– Spend 8‐10 minutes discussing each question
– Leave 10‐15 minutes for debrief; someone from the EWG captures what is shared and sends out to the group so it can be documented
– Closing Remarks and collect notes from Recorders (5 minutes)

The group prepared four questions for each topic to be discussed in the Campus Conversation format. The following questions were posed for the Core Values: 

1. How does the UND community currently embody and express these core values?
2. How should the UND community aspire to embody and express our core values?
3. How would we measure our success in achieving our core values?
4. What, if anything, would you add or change in these statements of our core values that embodies or expresses who we are as a University community?

The following questions were posed for the Strategic Initiatives:
1. Are these the right strategic initiatives on which UND should focus? Why or why not?
2. Are the descriptions of the initiatives specific and accurate? If not, what would you add or change?
3. How would you measure success in achieving these initiatives? That is, what metrics would help us measure and evaluate our progress?
4. Are there any initiatives you believe are missing? If so, what are they, and how would you define them?

*** Course adjustment: The team learned early on that it was best to have two to three EWG team members to help facilitate the meeting and dedicated recorders for each table conversation. The first session was scheduled with the Staff Senate as pilot test of the Campus Conversation process. Feedback gained from this first session allowed the team to make subtle changes to the format in order to make the engagement process more meaningful and increase participation.


The EWG immediately tackled the logistics of scheduling several Campus Conversations in tandem with developing handouts and presentation slides for each topic.  Since space may be at a premium, a decision was made to create a registration portal through the Learning and Development department. The reasoning is that the EWG could then plan for the number of participants and augment the sessions as necessary to meet the attendance levels.  

*** Course adjustment: The team learned that potential participants and participants felt that preregistration was a barrier or a perceived barrier to attendance.  After the first set of Core Value Campus Conversations, the EWG made the decision to discontinue the registration process and leave it to open attendance.  This change was communicated through campus communications. 

The next step was informing the campus of the opportunity to engage in the Strategic Planning process. Promotion through the campus publications including UND Today, University Letter, and Dakota Student Online, as well as a campus email and social media posts was initiated.  Additionally, some departments and groups requested the presentations of both Core Values and Strategic Initiatives which the EWG provided. To augment the live engagement events, the EWG felt it was important to offer an online option to either extend the conversation past the initial Campus Conversation or to reach participants who were unable to attend the live sessions. The team quickly developed a blog site that complements the Campus Conversation events, serves as a clearinghouse and communications method for important information, and more importantly, is another tool to engage students, faculty, and staff.  The blog site will be live throughout the entire strategic planning process to allow an open forum for feedback at critical points and milestone of the process.
*** Course adjustment: The original blog design included a requirement to enter the participant’s name and email. There were multiple comments that suggested a discomfort with the inability to give feedback anonymously. After much debate, the team decided to remove this requirement. The blog still lists a field for a name and email, but they are not required to submit a comment.


The EWG worked with various staff members to secure multiple dates within the original two‐week period allocated for feedback.  Because engagement is such an important aspect of the process, the feedback period was extended to November 4, 2016.  Although the EWG will report their initial findings prior to that date, it is understood that feedback will continue to be considered and may alter the draft reports submitted on October 26, 2016. The current schedule for engagement dates is as follows. The EWG is continuing to schedule additional sessions until November 4th.


On October 19th, the EWG met to review all the feedback given on the Core Values to date. Generally speaking, the overarching feedback suggested that the six core values presented in the Campus Conversation were representative of UND. Following the question format, the Conversations generated a number of suggestions as to how and to what extent UND does, could, or should embody the Core Values. There were no suggestions to add additional Core Values beyond those that were presented. Rather, thematically, the feedback pertained to either grouping or separating some of the existing Core Value statements, editing the statements slightly, choosing a one‐word descriptor, or having a prefatory statement that includes “a commitment to.”

After poring over the comments, the EWG decided to review comments grouped by the individual Core Values and work through three scenarios. The scenarios include: 1) leaving the statements as is; 2) altering slightly based on the comments (common themes) received; and 3) adding a one‐word descriptor and the supporting statement.  Based on specific feedback, a fourth option of separating or combining statements was considered for two Core Values. After this exercise, the team concluded that they would present the original Core Values and the optional one‐word descriptor and supporting statement back to the Strategic Planning Committee for final discussion and confirmation of statements on October 26.  

RECOMMENDATIONS. After reviewing feedback provided through Campus Conversations, the EWG presented the following options for consideration and finalization by Strategic Planning Committee.

NEXT STEPS. The Strategic Planning Committee will meet on October 26th.  The goal of that meeting will be to discuss and make final recommendations for the Core Values.  Also at that time, a separate report will be prepared for discussion and confirmation of the final draft Strategic Initiatives. Because the engagement process will be ongoing until November 4th, a second EWG meeting will commence to review any feedback provided post October 26th.  The team will make a determination at that time if the feedback received warrants edits to the topics.  If edits are necessary, they will be reviewed at the November 9th meeting. After confirmation of the final draft Core Values and Strategic Initiatives, the EWG will develop a communication that describes the specific process of gathering feedback, showing changes (if any) based on broad campus feedback, and ask for continued participation through the process.


Strategic Initiatives Engagement and Recommendations: an addendum to Core Values Report from October 20, 2016. Engagement Working Group (EWG): Carrie Herrig (Lead), Chris Zygarlicke, Amber Flynn, Steve Light, Jeffrey Holm, and Andrea Boe. In the previous Core Values Engagement and Recommendations Report dated October 20, 2016, the EWG described the working group background, engagement process, and campus conversation promotions and schedule.  The information presented on those topics remain the same in regards to the Strategic Initiatives Engagement and Recommendations.  The information presented below highlights the feedback, recommendations, and next steps in relation to the Strategic Initiatives.   


On October 25th, the EWG met to review all the feedback given on the Strategic Initiatives to date. Overall, the comments did not indicate a strong desire to add additional Initiatives or to completely remove any of the Initiatives.  More so, the many comments received centered around clarifying, defining, or better articulating the purpose of the Initiatives. When reviewing the feedback from the Campus Conversations and additional meetings, the EWG noticed similar themes on the following initiatives: 

1. Diversity – should include Inclusivity with the main single‐word theme.
2. Teaching – teaching is limiting, consider education which captures experiential and other types of teaching and learning.
3. Liberal Arts – the descriptive sentence to this doesn’t really capture anything.
4. Scholarship – consider the theme of Research rather than Scholarship.
5. Collaboration – this is the only Initiative that is followed by a negative descriptive sentence that seems out of place.  Silo is also a term that does not resonate with students.
6. Community – may want to add campus to the descriptive sentence.
7. Recruitment – comments centered on including the recruitment of staff and faculty as well.
8. Success – many felt the word Success was vague.  Additionally, success is more than getting a job or placement.

Beyond those Initiative‐specific comments, there are several other overarching themes that were repeated in the feedback.  The following are items that were noted to be missing and/or vaguely tied to the eight Initiatives:

– Interdisciplinary
– Infrastructure
– Technology
– Leadership
– Tradition, Pride, and Identity
– Campus Climate
– Stewardship (either Financial or Service)
– Reward and Recognition
– Health and Wellness

*** Other comments centered around the order of initiatives and prioritization. After much discussion, the team concluded that it would be beneficial to present this feedback and ask the Strategic Planning Committee and associated Working Groups to assist in further refinement of the Strategic Initiatives.

RECOMMENDATIONS. The EWG recommends that the Core Values recommendations and next steps presented in the previous report continue to stand as is. The Strategic Initiative recommendation, however, varies from the original planning schedule. The team puts forth the idea of utilizing a portion of the time dedicated to Working Group collaboration at the October 26th Planning Meeting to further mold and shape the Strategic Initiatives based on the feedback summarized above and report out at the meeting.  This would benefit the Working Groups as they would be instrumental in forming the Initiative for which they would be responsible for and can therefore effectively create goals, action items, and metrics.

NEXT STEPS. The Strategic Planning Committee will meet on October 26th. The goal of that meeting will be to discuss and make final recommendations for the Core Values.  At that same meeting, the Working Groups would be tasked with creating a final draft of their specific initiative to report back to the group. The EWG would then meet on Friday, October 28th to create a final draft report of the Strategic Initiative recommendations to be provided to President Kennedy. Because the engagement process will be ongoing (online on the Strategic Planning blog) until November 4th, the EWG will review any feedback provided post October 26th and make a determination if changes, if any, should be considered. After confirmation of the final draft Core Values and Strategic Initiatives, the EWG will develop a communication that describes the specific process of gathering feedback, showing changes (if any) based on broad campus feedback, and ask for continued participation through the process.

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