USM Unveils New, Student-Centered Vision 2030 Strategic Plan
10-Year Effort Sets Priorities for Quality, Affordability, Innovation, Equity and Advancing Life in Maryland
Baltimore, Md. (June 22, 2022) – The University System of Maryland (USM) has unveiled a new, 10-year strategic plan, “Vision 2030: From Excellence to Preeminence,” a road map that will bring a fundamental shift to how the USM identifies and achieves new priorities in teaching, research, and economic development.
Rather than focusing on system institutions and processes, “Vision 2030” will instead center the USM on the needs of students and learning outcomes while it drives economic growth and serves our state and nation. The USM Board of Regents approved the plan during its regularly scheduled meeting on June 17. The plan’s executive summary and an introductory video summary are available here.
“This plan is really all about cultural change,” said USM Board of Regents chair Linda Gooden. “The University System is moving from a university-centered perspective to a student-centered perspective. You know, for many years we wanted the students to meet us where we are. Now we’re saying we’re going to meet the students where they are. And what that means, very simply, is that we’re going to provide the financial services, academic services, and outreach services to make this a better experience for all students.”
“These are difficult times. Certainly they’re difficult for higher ed. But that’s hardly the point. These are difficult times for our nation,” said USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. “We have urgent threats to public health, to our democracy, to our environment. We have critical jobs going unfilled. We have poverty and inequality—still—and confront every single day racial and social injustice.
“But I really do believe that higher education is the answer to all of these problems. I believe that our missions—to teach, to discover, to innovate, to advocate, to drive prosperity and improve people’s lives—are central to solving our greatest challenges. And, yes, I think Vision 2030 puts us on that path.”
Five priorities will steer the USM’s work in the decade before 2030. Each priority is summarized below, with select goals:
Invest in USM People, Ideas, and Institutions
- Academic Excellence and Innovation
- Attract, retain, and graduate more Maryland students.
- Recruit, retain, and develop exceptional faculty and staff, and nurture a dynamic environment in which they thrive.
- Build and maintain world-class facilities and technology infrastructure, emphasizing flexibility to expand into new markets across Maryland and the world.
- Leverage investment in digital technologies to increase program flexibility and learner personalization and improve student support.
- Pilot learning pathways for working professionals that meet workforce demands.
- Amplify the influence and impact of the USM as a system by deepening cross-functional collaboration among its institutions.
- Tell the system’s story in a way that attracts and engages students, faculty, and staff, and draws partners, donors, and citizens to its work.
Give Every Learner the Chance to Succeed
- Access, Affordability, and Achievement
- Ensure the system reflects the full diversity of Maryland’s people and embraces a culture of equity and inclusiveness.
- Strengthen the connection between learning experiences and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to succeed.
- Develop innovative education programs resulting in new credentials.
- Design financial and business models that meet changing student needs.
- Invest in signature pipeline programs connecting USM universities with PreK–12 schools.
- Improve transfer pathways.
- Create innovation hubs at USM regional higher education centers.
- Support continuous improvement in student services to increase retention and graduation, with a priority focus on system HBCUs.
Drive Maryland Prosperity
- Workforce and Economic Development
- Maintain the USM’s place as the dominant producer of graduates, from all populations, prepared to enter and lead Maryland’s knowledge economy.
- Be the primary source for reskilling and upskilling the state’s workforce.
- Grow the number of underrepresented minority students entering and graduating from fields critical to Maryland’s economy.
- Make it easier for students who want to become teachers to become teachers.
- Develop a data-informed academic portfolio reflecting the needs of students and employers.
- Develop strong and deep relationships with PreK–12 schools, improving student pathways and outcomes.
- Grow the number of startups launched and developed through USM venture support.
Develop Ideas that Change the World
- Align areas of USM research strength with emerging national R&D priorities.
- Advance USM leadership in environmental sciences and deepen the system’s international reputation for climate change and sustainability research.
- Expand community-based research to strengthen the neighborhoods, towns, and cities where USM universities are based.
- Grow the number of cross-institutional, interdisciplinary, and interprofessional research collaborations among USM universities and centers.
- Grow the number of research partnerships with industry, agencies, NGOs, and academic institutions, domestically and internationally.
- Diversify and expand the USM’s research portfolio, attracting private-sector investment for basic research.
- Develop a nationally significant research initiative on diversity, equity, and justice; globalization; and sustainability, examining the role that race, identity, and systemic racism may play in them.
Achieve Equity and Justice in the USM and the Communities it Serves
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Increase diversity among our students, faculty, and staff so that, ultimately, they reflect the full diversity of Maryland.
- Raise the profile of the USM’s historically Black institutions and support them in implementing an ambitious set of enrollment management and student success strategies.
- Create a significant research initiative on diversity, equity, and justice; globalization; and sustainability, accompanied by a renewable source of funding.
- Establish the USM’s scholarly prominence in race, identity, and systemic racism.
- Enhance global engagement by expanding study abroad programs, increasing support to international students, and emphasizing international research efforts.
- Integrate civic education into general education curricula and implement new programs that foster an ethos of committed public engagement.
A seven-member Board of Regents strategic planning work group, chaired by Regent Geoff Gonella, led the planning process, with assistance from Huron Consulting. During an 18-month period (December 2020 through June 2022), representatives from the USM and Huron met with more than 25 internal and external stakeholder groups.
These stakeholders ranged from USM’s three advisory councils (faculty, staff, and students) to the leadership of the General Assembly. Other stakeholders included leaders from the Maryland State Department of Education and the K-12 community, Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), Greater Washington Partnership, Greater Baltimore Committee, business leaders throughout the state, the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, and the Maryland Tech Council. Throughout this time of stakeholder consultation, the USM engaged in an extensive environmental scanning process that included opportunities for public input through an online feedback portal that accompanied published materials on the system’s strategic plan website.
“I think the most surprising and rewarding part of this initiative was the level of engagement, commitment and passion for not only the process but the plan itself,” Regent Gonella said. “I have a lot of experience with strategic planning and most of the time it requires significant convincing or selling. There was no convincing or selling at all around this process. Business, government, K-12, students and their parents, faculty, staff, and members of the USM itself–everybody wanted to be engaged.”
The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.
Systemwide, student enrollment is roughly 165,000. The USM and its institutions compete successfully for nearly $1.5 billion in external grants and contracts annually. USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit www.usmd.edu.
Contact: Mike Lurie