Role of Focus Areas in Our Planning Process

Focus areas are drivers of success – fundamental or distinctive elements vital for achieving UMBC’s vision. Development of strategic goals, objectives, and metrics for defined focus areas is the central work of our planning process and five to eight Strategy Groups composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other stakeholders will be appointed by the Steering Committee to accomplish this.

Recurring themes in focus area discussion
Recurring themes in focus area discussion

The spring Campus Planning Survey, University Retreat Discussions, and Strategic Planning Steering Committee discussions have identified a number of criteria for selecting focus areas:

  • Potential to be transformative
  • Connects to the purpose of higher education
  • Relevant beyond UMBC
  • Broadly engages the campus and our external stakeholders
  • People can see themselves and their work in it
  • Cross-organizational, cross-functional
  • Broad impact
  • Cultivates distinctive identity
  • Tangible/measurable impact
  • Addresses USM, State, national, global challenges
  • Responsive to concerns of campus constituents
  • Offers lever for progress
  • Builds on existing strengths or strengthens existing weaknesses

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee has also defined considerations to include in the charges of each Strategy Group, regardless of focus area:

  • Align with UMBC mission and values
  • Align with USM, State, national priorities and global opportunities
  • Imagine the possibilities of who we can become
  • Define excellence in the particular focus area
  • Identify opportunities for collective impact on campus and beyond
  • Identify opportunities for external support
  • Identify cross-cutting opportunities and synergies within campus and with UMB
  • Consider impact on brand and reputation