Formatted pdf Version

Building on Excellence: The Next Steps

The Strategic Plan for the
University of Maryland, College Park

May 3, 2000

Table of Contents





Initiative One:
Continue to elevate the quality of undergraduate education in order to provide all students an enriched and challenging educational experience.
Initiative Two:
Build a strong, university-wide culture of excellence in graduate and professional education, research, scholarship, and the creative and performing arts.
Initiative Three:
Ensure a university environment that is inclusive as well as diverse and that fosters a spirit of community among faculty, staff, and students.
Initiative Four:
Engage the university more fully in outreach and collaborative partnerships with the greater community.
Initiative Five:
Ensure an administrative, operational, and physical infrastructure that fully supports a first-class university.




In April 1996, the University formally adopted a plan, "Charting a Path to Excellence: The Strategic Plan for the University of Maryland at College Park," for direction in the coming years. Despite the prospect of limited new resources, this document boldly reaffirmed the University's commitment to a vision of academic excellence and set forth strategic initiatives and guidelines for action to achieve that vision. The 1996 Plan has served the University well. Now, four years after its adoption, President C. D. Mote, Jr., has called for an update of the Plan to reflect the significant changes that have occurred in the environment of the University of Maryland.

The leadership, accomplishments, opportunities, and resources that define the University all have changed during the last few years. A new Provost was appointed in 1997, a new President in 1998, and by 1999, there had been a change in leadership in almost half of the 13 colleges and professional schools and in several critical support units. No longer hampered by a tight economy, the State has substantially increased its financial support of the University, and in 1999 the General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to the University as the Flagship Institution of the State.

While benefitting from good fortune and the good will of those who have recognized our successes and potential, the University and its faculty have also fought hard to build our own resources to advance the stature of the University. Through a strategy of recruiting and retaining faculty members of the highest caliber and attracting to the University an increasing number of talented students, we have moved considerably closer to achieving our goal of academic excellence. The University's nationally- known researchers and scholars across a wide range of disciplines have made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge, have spearheaded innovative projects, have generated a phenomenal increase in external research funding, have inspired a growing number of academically-talented students to make Maryland their school of choice, and have significantly increased the importance of the University as a key contributor to the economic development of the State. Business Process Reorganization and selective privatization initiatives are continuing to help the University run more efficiently. Our alumni and friends have provided vigorous leadership and assistance for our efforts and mounted successful initiatives to increase the University's support and influence throughout the region, the nation, and the world. Private fundraising has begun to increase dramatically. We are proud that as our reputation for excellence has grown, so too has our reputation as a university that prizes and supports diversity among its faculty, staff, and students.

Given our extraordinary progress in accomplishing many of the goals set forth in the 1996 Plan, the University of Maryland is now ready to build on its achievements and move to the next level of distinction in the ranks of preeminent public research universities in the United States. This update of the Plan reaffirms the University's commitment to excellence. It sets forth the main areas for attention and describes action steps that are important to our continued progress towards excellence in these areas. It does not prescribe exhaustive activities for any unit, department, or program. Its intention is to encourage a campus-wide climate of creativity, confidence, energy, and productivity, the hallmark of first-rate programs and universities, and to widen the circle of its loyal supporters in the larger community.

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The 1996 Plan stated its vision for the University of Maryland, based on the 1988 legislation creating the Flagship Institution, as follows: Maryland should become "One of the nation's preeminent public research universities, an institution recognized both nationally and internationally for excellence in research and instruction, which makes the results of its research available for the use and benefit of the State of Maryland and its people." In the years following adoption of that Plan, we have made great strides toward achieving this goal. The University is now widely recognized to be among the most rapidly advancing of the public research universities, and with growing confidence, we are laying a claim to be counted among the best of these institutions. Our progress can be measured by our achievements in many areas: innovative, effective, and popular learning communities; an expanding number of academic programs of recognized distinction; an increasingly productive engagement with the research, business, and government communities; significant contributions through award-winning scholarship to the interpretation and preservation of history and culture; vibrant and growing creative and performing arts programs; major contributions through nationally-recognized research in public policy, biology, physics, information science, technology, and engineering; and innovative leadership in agricultural and natural resources.

Our success is due to the hard work and creative imagination of our dedicated and highly talented faculty, students, and staff. This update of the Strategic Plan reflects the heightened expectations, the sense of momentum, and the awareness of new opportunities that drive an expanded vision of excellence.

President C. D. Mote, Jr., has encouraged the University community to fulfill these greater expectations and has adopted an agenda that will build on our momentum and provide an aggressive forward push to a new level of distinction. In his address to the College Park Senate and in other venues, President Mote has set forth the following ambitious goals that will push the University to increase its external engagements, to become a major player in the State's economic and cultural development, and to assume a new visibility as a major source of intellectual contributions to the national scene. These goals are to:

Expectations have also been heightened by the 1998 Joint Legislative-Governor's Task Force for the Study of the Governance, Coordination, and Funding of the University System of Maryland, which unambiguously declared that the "State's first priority is the enhancement of the flagship campus, University of Maryland, College Park, to achieve national eminence." This intention was reconfirmed in subsequent legislation, which also directed that both funding and performance expectations be based on those of selected peer institutions.

The expansion of our vision lies in the insistence that excellence be the norm across the University, rather than in a limited number of areas, and that we be engaged fully in the life of the larger community. The level of our ambition is reflected in the stature of our selected peers, which are the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the University of Michigan; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We count ourselves among the best public universities and will continue to provide for the State of Maryland the new ideas, technologies, enriched educational programs, skilled workforce, and economic development opportunities that the citizens of Maryland have the right to expect of their flagship research university.

To move to the next level of distinction, the University intends to accelerate the pace of its advancement and expand the breadth of its excellence. Spreading excellence across the campus requires that we move beyond our previous accomplishments and concentrate efforts and attention in several areas.

Undergirding all our plans must be a commitment to strengthen further our faculty recruitment and retention efforts. A faculty of the highest caliber is the single most important resource in determining a university's quality and the effectiveness of its teaching and outreach activities. In the last five years, the number of our faculty in national academies has doubled, and our research expenditures increased from Fiscal Year 1994 to Fiscal Year 1999 by 52.4%, with significant growth realized in every college. To enter the ranks of the very best universities, we must continue to leverage our resources to build a faculty widely-recognized for its diversity and its excellence.

Excellence in the creation of knowledge must be aligned with excellence in transmitting that knowledge, and we must increase efforts to expand to all students the kind and quality of education programs that reflect the special strengths of a comprehensive research university. A goal of the 1996 Strategic Plan was to develop programs that would attract highly motivated students, an effort that has met with great success. In recent years, we have recruited students of such talent and diversity that they have become a major strength of the University. As a result of our innovative undergraduate programs, increasing numbers of outstanding undergraduates, in-state and out-of-state, are enrolling in the University. The high school GPA of entering Maryland undergraduates is now competitive with those of students at our peers, and College Park has become the university of choice for more of Maryland's high ability high school graduates than all the other public and private universities in the State combined. The next step is to spread across the University programs that build on the strength of our diverse student body and challenge and engage all students in the research culture.

A development of great significance during the past few years has been the growing number of friends and alumni who have increased their involvement with the University. Their encouragement, wise counsel, and tangible support have had a major impact on our progress. They have served as our advocates, as a source of much-needed funding for physical enhancement of the University, and as benefactors of special academic programs, scholarships, lecture series, and endowed professorships. The pride and loyalty of our alumni are being felt in their support of colleges, schools, and departments across the campus, and the national and international alumni organizations are spreading the Maryland reputation throughout the country and the world. This Plan calls for us to strengthen and increase our connections with friends and alumni, build on their loyalty as a major asset, and encourage their role in wider communication of our aspirations and successes.

The role of the university is being redefined in today's complex knowledge-based society, and we are embracing a new vision of engagement that requires us to turn increasingly outward and expand the range in which we are an important presence. Our faculty across many disciplines play a major role in affecting public policy and influencing social issues, locally and nationally. The University now has an extraordinary opportunity to take advantage of its special location and expertise to forge new links and increase the number of our collaborative partnerships with emerging industries and federal and state agencies. We have already established an important presence with our incubator and other support programs to promote commercial enterprises in the State, with new partnerships with the FDA, NASA, the USDA, Archives II, and Dumbarton Oaks, among others, and with our active participation in educational reform efforts. As a central focus of an expanded engagement, the University of Maryland must build on its successes and join its efforts with those of the other major research universities, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore to form a research backbone for the State of Maryland that will rival top university research clusters in the country. Our outreach must also embrace the international community.

As we strive to achieve greater excellence in our research and instruction, we will also build on the strengths that are special to the University of Maryland. One of the University's goals in the last two decades has been to build a model multi-racial, multi-generational, multi-ethnic community. Our commitment to excellence in our faculty and educational programs has been matched by a strong belief that diversity among faculty, staff, and students is a central part of that excellence and is a priority of the University community. Through numerous campus-wide activities to achieve greater diversity and inclusiveness, the University has built a solid foundation from which to create a campus that thrives on diversity. This success is a major strength, which provides a foundation for an energetic new campus-wide push to achieve community with diversity.

Another strength that has been the basis for many past successful initiatives, and on which we will build future initiatives, is the University's culture of cooperation and collaboration across departments and colleges. Our many multi-disciplinary institutes, centers, and programs are a source of research, teaching, and engagement that have contributed to our growing reputation for excellence.

Finally, we take pride in our identity as an institution with a beautiful physical campus, with predominantly on-campus instruction, and with a large number of resident and commuting students who participate fully in the life of the campus. We intend to enhance the opportunities for intellectual, cultural, and social interactions outside the classroom and to encourage efforts to make our surrounding College Park neighborhood a more stimulating one; to enhance interactions among faculty, students, and staff; and to increase engagement with the community at large.

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A necessary part of any strategic planning effort is an assessment of the University's current strengths, the challenges we face, and the opportunities that are open before us.

Our Strengths

As we move into a new century and a new phase of strategic planning, we can boast a wealth of special advantages and strengths from which flow a new energy and confidence among faculty, staff, and students.

Our Challenges

The University has advanced rapidly even during times of restricted resources. However, as these resources were focused on keeping and recruiting outstanding faculty and building innovative educational programs, the infrastructure, both physical and fiscal, was often neglected. Catching up and keeping up in these infrastructure areas is a primary challenge. In the process of developing our physical infrastructure and facilities, reconciling our competing values related to land-use planning will also be a challenge. We need to improve facilities, secure the necessary external funding for endowed chairs, scholarships, and fellowships, and bring all levels of University activity to the same standard of high quality performance. Being able to follow through fully on our commitment to excellence is a second challenge, and creating the climate for continuing external support is another. Finally, we need to make better use of our network of alumni to champion the University's causes. In this section we identify key areas of special vulnerability where success is essential to achieving our goals and vigorous and concerted efforts are necessary.

Our Opportunities

This area of the nation is fast becoming a leading center for the new knowledge and information economy, and the University is ideally positioned to become a major partner in its development. Our faculty can support new efforts with their expertise; we can provide the region with the educated labor force necessary for the new globalized economy; we can promote technology transfer and support start-up businesses and foster and participate in an entrepreneurial culture. Given the advantages of our location and special strengths, a wide range of opportunities exist that the University can seize to move to a new level of accomplishments.

The University can expand its role as a social and cultural force. Our strengths in the social sciences and public policy areas address issues that are of increasing importance to government agencies and other groups dealing with the problems society faces today and planning for the challenges of the future. Our faculty are leaders in the interpretation of history and culture, and we are poised to become a model center for the merging of academic preparation and community involvement in the creative and performing arts.

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Fueled by extraordinary progress in the past five years and eager to exploit the abundance of opportunities that are available, the University is ready to take a major step forward. To help us direct our energies and build on our momentum, we decided to follow the preceding plan in laying out broad areas or "initiatives" as the framework for action in the units, departments, and divisions of the University. These initiatives and the accompanying action steps present an ambitious plan that touches every area of the University and that, when implemented, can accelerate our rapid movement forward. More than just a "wish list," the plan envisions a broad effort to spread excellence across the campus through a variety of actions that will engage the entire community.

As a research university, our mission is to discover and disseminate new knowledge and illuminate the human condition through our research and teaching. As a major public university, we also have the responsibility to ensure that research and teaching of the highest quality, and their benefits, are available to all citizens of the State through a wide variety of services and partnerships. The first four initiatives reaffirm the priority we assign to excellence in teaching, excellence in research, and excellence in our engagement with society. The fifth initiative addresses the environment necessary for achieving excellence across the board.

We recognize that complete implementation of all action steps under each Initiative will require resources beyond those likely to be available, and it will thus be necessary to use our existing campus processes to establish priorities among these activities. However, these Initiatives and action steps delineate our vision of the kind of university that we have the potential to become, and even if taken in increments, these are the activities and efforts that are necessary to accomplish that vision.


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Continue to elevate the quality of undergraduate education in order to provide all students an enriched and challenging educational experience.

Aggressive pursuit of the goals of the 1996 Strategic Plan to enhance undergraduate education and engage undergraduates more fully in the research experience has produced nationally-recognized programs of the highest academic quality in our Honors and College Park Scholars programs. It is time to apply and extend the value of these lessons to all of our undergraduates. Four years ago the Plan called for major efforts to create a university that "provides a nurturing campus community, a stimulating intellectual environment, effective advising and job-placement programs, along with an array of special enrichment activities." Our efforts to achieve that goal have continued with support for innovative programs, and much has been done to improve many areas of student life. The increasing number of outstanding students who choose Maryland as their academic home is bringing a new level of intellectual excitement and vigor to the University.

Our emphasis on faculty who excel as researchers and who can share their excitement and expertise in the classroom and laboratory results in an enriched educational environment in which undergraduates as well as graduate students have the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research, scholarship, and creative projects. Moreover, outstanding faculty help recruit to the University graduate students of high caliber, who make significant contributions to undergraduate education as teaching assistants. However, much remains to be done to achieve the quality of educational experience we envision and extend it to all undergraduates. The following steps are intended to move us closer to our goal of offering the most outstanding education possible to our students.

Specific steps:

1. Provide enriched educational opportunities and personally fulfilling and challenging academic curricula that prepare all our graduates for productive roles in this increasingly complex world.

2. Remain the school of choice for the most talented students in Maryland and for outstanding out-of-state students by strengthening efforts to recruit students who contribute to and benefit from an enriched educational environment and by improving the conditions for their enrollment and success.

3. Systematically integrate the use of information technology into our instructional programs, so that all faculty and students can fully exploit new technology as an essential tool in teaching and learning.

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Build a strong, university-wide culture of excellence in graduate and professional education, research, scholarship, and the creative and performing arts.

A first-rate faculty is the key to excellence in a comprehensive research university, and one of our top priorities is to recruit and retain faculty known as leaders and innovators, whose accomplishments place them among the top ranks of their peers. Many of our programs and departments have achieved national distinction through the efforts of their outstanding faculty; to achieve the level of excellence of the very best public universities, it is essential that we nurture our current successes and raise the expectations for excellence in all departments. Recognizing the growing interconnections among academic fields, we must continue to encourage programs and research activities that cut across departments and colleges. We must also continue to target our resources and seek external resources to take advantage of our special strengths and opportunities that contribute significantly to the economic and cultural growth of the region.

A university of national eminence is known also for its ability to transmit knowledge to a student body selected from among the best, who in turn become leaders in their chosen professions. A concerted campus-wide effort must be mounted to create the conditions and incentives for competing effectively for the best graduate students and for guaranteeing that they are well-educated, well-mentored and well-placed. One of the University's widely recognized strengths has been its ability to recruit and graduate a highly diverse group of graduate students, and success in this area must remain a university priority.

Specific steps:

1. Increase the number and proportion of our faculty who are regarded by their national and international peers as being among the best in their disciplines.

2. Continue to improve the excellence of our best research and graduate programs while also increasing the number of programs of recognized excellence.

3. Increase the University's success in recruiting, developing, and placing outstanding and diverse graduate students.

4. Develop and facilitate access to scholarly information in all formats to support cutting-edge research, scholarship, teaching, and learning.

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Ensure a university environment that is inclusive as well as diverse and that fosters a spirit of community among faculty, staff, and students.

The University of Maryland has gained national recognition for its commitment to diversity as a major educational benefit and an essential component of academic excellence. In the past decade, the University has consistently graduated a larger number of black doctoral students than most other traditionally white institutions, and a significant number of our undergraduates are from groups that have been historically underrepresented at the nation's public research universities. Senior administrators on campus regularly seek the advice of commissions, associations, and ad hoc groups that represent the concerns of those who have felt excluded from the mainstream, and a wide range of innovative activities in every unit on campus has established diversity as a major characteristic of this community and one of its most important priorities. Complementing these extracurricular activities, the University of Maryland has become a leader in research on issues involving race, gender, and sexual orientation and has made strides in transforming the curriculum to reflect our new understanding of identity and diversity.

Though our progress in embracing diversity has been great, much remains to be done. In spite of our leadership in diversity among our students, there is a relatively less diversity in key academic, administrative, and staff leadership positions as well as in the general faculty. Due in part to recent legal constraints on the distribution of financial aid, the numbers of ethnic minority students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs declined from 1997-1999, and retention rates for many ethnic minority students remains low. A serious concern is growing evidence that the campus climate is not as supportive as it should be for all members of the University community. Action items listed below address the continuing need to mount a strong campaign for inclusion of diverse groups to maintain a vibrant university environment.

The University values diversity as a key to its excellence, but we are also mindful of the importance of a spirit of community and harmony in an institution that counts a wide range of diverse groups as members of its faculty, staff, and students. Recognizing the need for a vigorous new effort to create deeper understanding and serious engagement among the members of the University family, President Mote has appointed a panel of faculty, staff, and students to conduct an across-the-board review of all University programs and propose new actions that promote community building. The panel is expected to recommend actions to promote greater understanding and inclusiveness throughout the University among its diverse groups.

Specific steps:

1. Encourage campus-wide support and follow-through on the recommendations of the President's Diversity Panel that have been approved for implementation.

The President's Diversity Panel has been asked to roll out recommendations for immediate new initiatives through the Spring Semester 2000 and submit a final report with long-range program suggestions in early summer. It is understood that the recommendations approved for implementation will have the same priority as the action steps included in this Plan.

2. Develop coherent and comprehensive strategies to increase the diversity of our faculty and staff.

3. Develop strategies to increase the enrollment of undergraduate and graduate ethnic minority students and improve their graduation rates.

4. Build a greater sense of community among faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

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Engage the University more fully in outreach and collaborative partnerships with the greater community.

As a land grant institution and a public research university, the University of Maryland has always devoted a large portion of its energies to the effective sharing of its expertise with a multitude of external groups. Our rapidly changing environment is creating a greatly expanded range of opportunities for increased interaction and engagement between the University community and a variety of constituents. Expectations have been raised for the University's contribution to the quality of life of our citizens through its expertise in many disciplines, and the role of the University as an active partner with industry, non-profit organizations, governing agencies, and State systems has been heightened.

One primary role the University must play is as a major contributor to the development of a knowledge-based economy. Knowledge industries and universities provide essential support for one another, and it is no accident that key centers driving progress in information-based industries have arisen and clustered around great research universities. Driven in part by the major national laboratories and the defense establishment, the greater Washington area is becoming one of the primary centers of the knowledge economy, especially in biotechnology and in the information sciences. The University of Maryland is a full partner in this development and is moving to expand its leadership role. We will accomplish this both directly through technical collaboration and workforce training, and indirectly through effects on the business, educational, cultural, social, and public policy climate of the region and the State.

Specific steps:

1. Extend the scholarly reach of our campus by forming strong partnerships with other research universities, corporations, non-profit and community-based organizations, and state, federal, and international agencies.

2. Extend our learning community beyond the campus boundaries and promote lifelong learning as an integral component of our academic programs.

3. Increase the scope and impact of the University's international programs and activities.

4. Expand the University's family of friends and alumni by developing greater opportunities to reach out and to draw them back to campus and communicating more effectively our pride in our accomplishments.

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Ensure an administrative, operational and physical infrastructure that fully supports a first-class university.

To achieve the ambitious goals set forth in this Strategic Plan, it is essential that the University have a first-class, responsive and customer-oriented infrastructure that supports the work of our faculty, staff, and students. This infrastructure includes the people, processes, facilities, and technologies essential for the operations of a modern academic/business environment, and it spans all elements of the University from accounting, procurement, registration, billing and student information systems to the classrooms, laboratories, libraries and offices of staff and faculty. Because of earlier budgetary limitations, infrastructure investment has lagged behind investments in other areas at the University, but if we are to continue our rapid advancement, it is essential that investments be made to address a number of critical infrastructure issues.

Specific steps:

1. Establish a top performing University Relations operation.

2. Create and maintain an electronic networking infrastructure that provides the level of connectivity and data throughput required for our faculty and staff to excel in their research and scholarship and that facilitates innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

3. Develop the University's physical facilities so that they meet the needs of a leading research university.

4. Ensure that the administrative operations of all campus units, including academic units, provide responsive, customer-oriented service to all of the University's constituencies.

5. Accelerate and support the migration of student and business services to an online environment.

6. Build the human resources infrastructure of the University to enable effective recruiting, retention, and first class support of the academic mission.

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This Strategic Plan is provided as a framework and guide for the strategies and priorities to be established in units across the University. The divisions of the University and the colleges and schools will be encouraged to review and update their individual strategic plans in light of the priorities, initiatives, and action steps put forth in this Plan.

Accomplishing the goals of this ambitious Plan will require:

With these requirements in mind, we propose to implement this Plan as follows:

Achieving Community Commitment

This update of the Strategic Plan was developed through an intentionally broad consultative process. It is a community product representing our shared goals and our best judgment of the strategies needed to achieve them. It was drafted initially by a representative task force, which held frequent and in-depth discussions of goals and strategies with institutional leaders. The draft was then made available to all faculty, staff, and students and interested external groups; it was reviewed by the Board of Visitors; discussed in a variety of group meetings; modified in response to these discussions; and reviewed and adopted by the College Park Senate. The final version was presented to President Mote for his review and endorsement.

The community involvement and consultation that characterized the writing of the Plan will be the model for its implementation. The Plan will be distributed widely, made available on the University's web site, and further discussed in community meetings that unit heads will be asked to convene.

Implementation Assignments and Timetables

Each of the action steps will be assigned to a particular individual who will be responsible for overseeing its implementation. Those individuals charged with oversight will be asked to identify needed resources and to propose an implementation plan and a timetable for action, in consultation with the University vice presidents. Where possible, the implementation plans will identify specific measures for monitoring progress towards the stated goal. During Fall 2000, these individual plans will be put together into a comprehensive implementation schedule.

Resource Allocations

We anticipate that sufficient resources will be available to allow the University to make substantial progress over the next several years toward achieving many of these goals. In addition to funding through State appropriations, we expect increases in external grant funding, increases in gifts from individuals, corporate partners, and foundations, and an expansion of revenue- producing instruction in off-campus locations. Additional discretionary funds that become available at each unit level should be allocated according to priorities set in the Plan. In particular, subsequent enhancements of unit budgets should be determined by the resource requirements and schedule of implementation identified during Fall 2000. Within the Division of Academic Affairs, these allocation decisions will be informed by the advice of the Academic Planning Advisory Committee (APAC).

Measuring Progress

Some of the Plan's action steps list specific targets for success; progress in many others can be easily determined through standard measures. The quality of our graduate and professional programs will be assessed through evidence of faculty recognition, student placements, research awards, national comparative studies, and the judgments of recognized experts during periodic program reviews. Our success in undergraduate education will be measured by the accomplishments and diversity of the students we admit, by our ability to keep them excited by the educational process and fully engaged in the life of the institution, by the rate at which they graduate, and by the quality of their training as measured by success in the marketplace.

Some action steps require more qualitative measures. Our success in promoting diversity and fostering community will be determined through surveys and focus groups that can evaluate attitudes and levels of comfort in individuals and groups. Our success in engaging with the greater community will be judged in part by the number of activities undertaken, but primarily will be measured by the way the community assesses our importance to its economic, intellectual, and cultural life. Our success in involving our alumni and friends will be measured by evidence of their increasing loyalty, support, and participation in the life of the campus.

The State-mandated Managing for Results (MFR) process requires that we report each year on progress towards achieving certain goals that overlap with the more ambitious goals of the updated Plan. We propose to expand this process to an annual assessment of the full set of available measures of quality, which will provide an overall view of progress and an opportunity for corrective action where needed. Each year the Provost will report to the Senate and to the institution at large on the state of plan implementation.

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At the University of Maryland, there is a growing confidence among faculty, staff, and students in our claim to a place among the nation's best public research universities. The excellence of our faculty and the research they produce, the quality of our student body and undergraduate education, and the range, number, and success of our engagements with a variety of external constituents are evidence of the strength of our academic programs across all colleges and professional schools. We have an outstanding record of success in meeting the expectations of a research university designated as the flagship campus of a state system.

This update of the Strategic Plan gives directions for channeling the enormous energy and potential that have been generated by our many accomplishments in ways that will help us move to the next level of distinction. It does not suggest a change in course but an acceleration of the drive to excellence and a conscious effort to expand this sense of potential and productivity across the entire campus.

Maryland has many particular strengths that are special to its culture and history, among them most prominently an ability to overcome obstacles that could limit our ambitions and successes. The determination and dedication of individual faculty and administrators have moved us into an enviable position. Perhaps at no time in recent history have we faced fewer problems or had more opportunity to pursue excellence. We will continue to expect and promote the highest accomplishments, to seek out the most talented and diverse faculty, staff, and students, and to contribute in new and important ways to the development and dissemination of knowledge in a broad range of disciplines. This Strategic Plan encourages the entire community to join in this exciting journey to the top.

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