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Roadmap to New Century Continues to Design Phase

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    UM News

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 31, 2016)—After weeks of individual meetings, members of the working groups charged with laying the foundation for the “Roadmap to Our New Century” met to share preliminary recommendations for eight transformative initiatives with President Julio Frenk, senior leadership, and other key stakeholders. The initiatives, outlined by Frenk in his inaugural address, are based on his extensive listening exercise last fall and are designed to help distinguish the University as a hemispheric, excellent, relevant, and exemplary institution by its centennial in 2025.

    Held on the Coral Gables campus, the March 18 retreat gave the working groups, known as Quads for their four members, the opportunity to discuss and receive feedback on their top ideas for implementing the initiatives, which cut across disciplines and schools to position UM for the next century. Presentations at the retreat indicated significant progress by the working groups.

    “The retreat was a time to ask: ‘Are we headed in the right direction? Are the initiatives achievable, based on the preliminary proposals?’” said Khaleel Seecharan, assistant vice president for special projects, who is supporting the working groups with two team members in the Office of the President. “It was the first time all the groups shared their work and a great opportunity for them to get amazing feedback. It was really insightful.”

    Also attending the daylong retreat were the University’s deans, vice presidents, vice provosts, Faculty Senate leaders, student leaders, and two-person teams that have been sharing their institutional and content expertise with the working groups. Participants spent the day in both small-group and large-group discussions, considering how the proposals connect to one another and existing campus initiatives, as well as initial ideas for implementation.

    “It has been exciting to think about the ways that we can make it easier for people to work together across disciplines,” said Quad member Susan Morgan, a professor in the School of Communication. “It was interesting how many of the Quads came to a consensus about the kind of tools and structures were needed to accomplish their goals.”

    The eight initiatives are focused on: 1) adding 100 endowed chairs over the next ten years; 2) enhancing multidisciplinary connections across schools and departments; 3) developing a hub for innovation and new ventures; 4) promoting collaboration and partnership with other universities and institutions; 5) examining the environment of inclusion on campus; 6) proposing programs and resources to minimize or eliminate financial obstacles to enrollment, learning, international study, research opportunities, and career networking and options for undergraduate and graduate students; 7) developing more opportunities for students to be involved in an active and participatory learning experience, and faculty to explore and test experimental teaching methods; and 8) enhancing excellence in the basic sciences, applied sciences, and engineering opportunities for multidisciplinary scientific research, teaching, and innovation to ensure the University’s capacity to address major challenges.

    “It was a real honor to join the working group on building UM’s work in the hemisphere,” said Guillermo “Willy” Prado, dean of the Graduate School and another Quad member. “It has been an intensive and inspiring process. It is exciting to be involved in charting UM’s future and its very important role in the world.”

    With input gleaned at the retreat, working group members are now moving from conceptualizing to designing the projects and activities. They are, Seecharan said, on target to finalize their proposals by the end of May, and publish them on June 1, when the University community will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback over several months.

    “We wanted the Quads to have the freedom to ‘dream as big as they could’ so they’ve done the really hard work quietly,’’ Seecharan said. “But their recommendations will by no means be final. We know that many others at the University have big ideas and we will be listening to and incorporating many of them through the summer.”

    Read more about the Roadmap and the initiatives and working groups, and share your ideas.





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