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The Foundations Work Group

Advancing Excellence: Our Strategic Planning Process

While UMBC’s strategic planning will chart the future, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee is beginning its process with a realistic look at the foundations needed to support campus development.

The Foundations Work Group is led by Lynne Schaefer, vice president of administration and finance. “As we were developing the four strategic focus areas, ideas about infrastructure and the current state of the university came up,” Schaefer explains. “We realized that, in order to talk about how we need to grow, we have to make sure that we understand where we are now. That discussion evolved into a plan to review five key foundational areas in order to determine how we continue to build a successful future for UMBC."

The Foundations Work Group’s key areas include people, resources, facilities, technology/business practices and environmental sustainability. A review of the current status of each area will help assess history, strengths, “pain points” and opportunities. For example, the group will look at how the University invests in people by examining the current state of professional development and training, wellness, faculty and staffing ratio comparisons, and faculty mix, as well as qualities that make UMBC a great place to work, and future trends.

“Providing a broad view of where we are now will allow us to look at ourselves realistically and build from where we are,” says Schaefer.

The group will create a data gallery that will be on view at the University Retreat in August, and the gallery will be accessible online for the entire campus by the start of the fall 2014 semester.
Bruce Walz, Strategic Planning Steering Committee co-chair and Foundations Work Group member, describes, “Rather than have each of the strategy groups attempt to find out such information relative to their area on their own, we decided to make this information available in a central data gallery that each group could access and interact with.”

“This approach ensures that all groups will be accessing the same data set, and reduces the potential for overlapping and multiple requests to various campus constituencies,” Walz explains. “Because the Foundations Working Group will continue to be a functioning group during the planning process, the available data will be dynamic and we will be able to effectively address specific requests from the strategy groups.”

The Foundations Work Group members are subject matter experts, as well as other campus leaders who can provide context and input into the five key foundational areas. They include Dorothy Caplan, president, Non-Exempt Staff Senate, and executive administrative assistant, College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences; Philip Farabaugh, professor of biological sciences; Tanvi Gadhia, environmental sustainability coordinator; Julianne Simpson, assistant director, facilities planning; Jack Suess, vice president, information technology; Valerie Thomas, associate vice president, human resources; Charlene Uhl, director of budget/resource analysis; and Bruce Walz, chair, Academic Planning Committee, and professor and chair, emergency health services.

Members also will serve as consultants to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and four strategic planning strategy groups as questions or needs for analysis arise, and will contribute to the overall strategic planning process. The group plans to meet periodically with UMBC’s faculty and staff senates, as well as the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Association. 

Schaefer says that the inclusiveness of the strategic planning process, as well as the thoughtful planning that has gone into it, have helped to establish an important road map for the future. 

“The UMBC community has many shared values and aspirations, and it’s great to see us all coalesce around what I think are really significant aspirational focus areas, while at the same time looking at the status of our foundational areas so that we can move forward from strength,” says Schaefer.

Posted: July 1, 2014, 1:00 PM