An in-depth look at President Gabel’s systemwide strategic plan

The plan outlines goals and commitments for the University of Minnesota through 2025.

by Abbey Machtig

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents recently approved President Joan Gabel’s systemwide strategic plan at their June meeting.

The plan, formally titled the “Impact 2025 Systemwide Strategic Plan,” has been in development since 2016 and will be used as a guiding framework for the University through 2025. Five main commitments are highlighted within the strategic plan with individual goals and action items included in each commitment. 

The systemwide strategic plan was developed to outline key values and decisions that will help direct the University. Now that the plan has the board’s approval, leaders can begin to focus on the delivery of the commitments to the University community, said Board Chair Kendall Powell at the June meeting.

“It will also provide a roadmap that will help define the core achievements of the University and this administration over the course of this plan and into the future,” Gabel said at the meeting.

The first and second commitments highlighted in the plan are “Student Success” and “Discovery, Innovation and Impact.” The goals and action items that fall under these commitments aim to increase student wellness and educational offerings and increase discovery and research opportunities, respectively. 

The next commitment is called “MNtersections,” and it refers to supporting innovation and sustainability for the future, according to strategic plan materials.

The final commitments, “Community and Belonging” and “Fiscal Stewardship,” pertain to creating an inclusive environment on campus and allocating financial resources to students, staff and other areas across the University.

Gabel worked on the plan throughout her first year as University president before the plan was approved June 12. The development of the strategic plan began under former University President Eric Kaler’s administration. 

Throughout this period, Gabel has presented updates regularly to the board. Leaders also consulted stakeholders at the University in addition to collecting student and staff feedback via an online response form.

The University of Minnesota Foundation was one stakeholder consulted throughout the plan’s development.

“As part of the University’s senior leadership team, I have participated in working sessions throughout the development of the strategic plan,” said Kathy Schmidlkofer, University of Minnesota Foundation president and CEO in an email to the Minnesota Daily. “Earlier this year, the President shared the plan’s early draft and commitments with the foundation’s Board of Trustees.” 

Other stakeholders include the University of Minnesota Retirees Association and University professor and strategic planning expert John Bryson.

Bryson, who has been involved in previous strategic plans around the University, said he was consulted early in the process. Creating strategic plans for large organizations can be difficult, he said.

“It’s always a challenge to figure out how to organize the development of ideas and coalitions of support in such a way that you end up with really good ideas and they have the kind of support needed to to implement them,” Bryson said.

While the systemwide strategic plan provides a framework of priorities and goals for the University, these items will be reviewed and changed over time, Gabel said.

“This is really just the beginning and the next steps, including the establishment of crucial metrics, will help us implement this plan on behalf of the University and in support of our state,” Gabel said at the meeting.