The University

Fulfilling the Promise—the Strategic Plan

Judging by numerous conversations I’ve had on campus, many of you are deeply interested in our university’s strategic planning process and have taken advantage of opportunities to comment and participate. Thanks not least to your engagement, that process has been fruitful from the start.

We are especially indebted to the Strategic Planning Task Force and its chair, Provost Winston Langley, who has headed our whole planning effort. The task force and its committees have produced thoughtful reports on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us, and developed an ambitious new vision for the university in 2025—a vision that unites our deeply rooted “commitment to educating modest-income and first-generation students from urban areas” with a determination to “expand our teaching and learning activities to prepare students to succeed in a transnational world” and to “conduct research that has both local and global reach, that creates new knowledge in all major areas of human concern, and that helps our students acquire the refined and complex knowledge, values, and skills of inquiry that the highest levels of research foster and the globalized world requires.” (I am quoting from the new Vision Statement prepared by the task force.)

We are just as indebted to the Implementation Design Team, its chair, Dean Stephen Crosby, and its workgroups for specific, substantial, and highly practical recommendations of ways to make that vision real. The team’s final report—titled Fulfilling the Promise: A Blueprint for UMass Boston—brings a critical phase of the planning process to a successful conclusion. It has given me great pleasure to accept this report from Provost Langley. I enthusiastically endorse its recommendations, which will guide our university for many years to come.

Fulfilling the Promise is now available online at www.umb.edu/the_university/strategicplan. It links the noble aspirations expressed by our founders in the mid-1960s to a future marked by striking increases in student enrollment and retention, research activity, and global reach and reputation. Let me quote from its opening paragraph: “The year is 2025. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, a great public urban research university, we honor our origins as a teaching institution and our tradition of public service. At the same time, we have taken bold steps to grow in stature as a sophisticated research university, and to play a distinguished part on the global stage. We have become the university our founders destined us to be in their original statement of purpose: well equipped to provide opportunities truly ‘equal to the best.’”

When you read Fulfilling the Promise, I think you will share the excitement I feel. To build the fine university we serve today, many, many members of our community have given the very best their minds and spirits could offer. Now, thanks to hard work in both the past and the present, wonderful possibilities for the future are open to us. To fulfill our own promise—and to provide our constituents with opportunities truly equal to the best—we will have to keep on working hard, and we will have to overcome not a few challenges. But I know that we can.

Let me take this occasion to repeat my thanks to Provost Langley, to the Strategic Planning Task Force and its committee members, to Dean Crosby and his implementation design colleagues, and to the many other faculty, students, and staff who have worked over the past two years to develop our strategic plan. I am glad to be able to tell you that Provost Langley has agreed to continue in his planning leadership role, and that soon he will appoint a committee to oversee our execution of the plan during the upcoming years. I am confident that everyone involved will remain just as committed to transparency and consultation as they have been throughout the planning process.

We all have much to look forward to!