UNK focuses on new strategic plan; Academic quality top goal

Kristensen-RotatorKEARNEY – When a campuswide team met nearly two years ago to begin discussing a new strategic plan for the University of Nebraska at Kearney, two things quickly became a consensus. A clear, actionable, prioritized plan was needed in a challenging higher education environment, and reaffirmation of historical mission and values, and current strengths.

UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen released the full seven-page plan and executive summary to campus Monday. The strategic plan will be presented to University of Nebraska Board of Regents in early 2017. The two-year planning process was purposeful, alternating periods of intensive committee and group work with two separate and extended periods to gather campus and community feedback.

“The plan focuses on what UNK does best, and doubles-down on strategies that will allow UNK to respond more nimbly to emerging challenges and opportunities,” said Kristensen. “Setting priorities is a difficult process, but implementing the plan will help us meet the need of our various constituencies and guide our daily decision making toward mission-critical initiatives.

“Campus units, personnel and students will now play a key role in developing specific initiatives and approaches involved with implementation,” Kristensen added.

In addition to recommitting to its mission as the NU system’s residential campus, UNK reaffirms in the plan its values that learning and student-centered learning matter, people matter, and responsible stewardship of resources matters.

“UNK will approach implementation with responsible stewardship, while enhancing academic quality, expanding access and success to increase enrollment and retention of a diverse student body, and continuing to attract and retain quality faculty and staff,” Kristensen said. “These are the four goals in our plan and will drive our decision-making over the next years.”

The top goal of academic quality assures ongoing review and continuous improvement of curricula across all academic programs. Strategies behind the academic quality goal include: systematic data collection; enhanced commitment to independent, yet faculty-guided, experiential learning activities for all students; increased collaboration with other campuses and the community; investigating new degree or credential options in areas of need and demand; and expanding online undergraduate and graduate offerings.

“Throughout our 111-year history, our institution has met challenges head on, and seized timely opportunities, enabling us to now be counted among the finest comprehensive public residential universities in the region and nation,” Kristensen said in an announcement to campus about the plan.

“Implementing this strategic plan with an approach that is clear-eyed, optimistic and bold will enable us to respond more nimbly to challenges and opportunities. Our campus size and ethos are strengths that give us the ability to pull together and set a course for a more vibrant UNK and a brighter future for generations of students, faculty, and staff to come.”

UNK Strategic Goals and Strategies
The four strategic goals the University of Nebraska at Kearney is focusing on, with each derived directly from one of its four core institutional values:
Goal 1: Academic Quality. Faculty and staff will ensure ongoing review and continuous improvement of the curriculum across all academic programs on campus.
Goal 2: Access and Success. Increase recruitment and enhance support for student success.
Goal 3: Quality Faculty and Staff. Recruit, support, develop, and retain a high quality and diverse faculty and staff
Goal 4: Stewardship of Resources. Secure, generate, and responsibly steward the resources necessary to carry out the mission of the campus and ensure long-term institutional fiscal stability and environmental sustainability.

Strategic Plan Executive Summary: http://www.unk.edu/about/plan/_files/strategic-plan-executive-summary.pdf

Strategic Plan In Full: http://www.unk.edu/about/plan/_files/unk-strategic-plan.pdf


Contact: Kelly Bartling, Assistant VC for Comm. & Community Relations, 308.865.8455, bartlingkh@unk.edu
Source: Doug Kristensen, UNK Chancellor, 308.865.8208, kristensend@unk.edu