The University has a strong tradition of strategic planning, which has led continuous growth and evolution during its almost 125-year history. The University has been developing formal institutional plans since the 1989 Report of the Committee on the Future of the Institution, Choosing the University’s Future. As the result of the work of this University level group, a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) was appointed that developed Objectives and Strategies for Improved Effectiveness and Efficiency of Operation of The University of Montevallo: A Five Year Plan. This document guided the University for several years and resulted in a number of changes in the institution. In October of 1994, President Robert M. McChesney appointed the Second Century Commission to develop a plan to move the University into the 21st century. The Commission completed its work in November 1995. As a part of that plan, a new vision of campus planning was developed. The Second Century Commission recommended that a “participatory” and “representative” planning process be developed that would bring the entire campus into a dialogue about the University’s future.
The 2003-2008 Institutional Plan
The plan was developed under the presidential leadership of Dr. Robert M. McChesney and resulted in the 2003-2008 Institutional Plan. The following broad institutional goals from this plan can be summarized as follows:
- Enhance learning through teaching and curricula consistent with the University’s mission
- Promote a strong sense of community among students, faculty, and staff
- Cultivate a highly qualified faculty and staff committed to the University’s mission
- Cultivate a highly qualified student body
- Provide public and private funding to advance the University’s mission
- Provide the technology, facilities, and physical infrastructure necessary to promote and support the University’s mission
- Increase and promote awareness of the University and its unique statewide mission with effective public communications
Led by Dr. Philip C. Williams (University President, 2006-2010), the University began a brainstorming campaign in 2007 that led to a comprehensive strategic planning process in January 2008. The combined efforts of every campus constituency — faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees, and friends and the dedicated work of the SPC resulted in the development of the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan that was adopted by the Board of Trustees in November of 2008.
This strategic plan was designed to serve as the institution’s roadmap to guide decision makers at all levels. The five primary themes of the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan were:
- The University of Montevallo should promote the development of a learning environment directly supportive of its statutory mission as Alabama’s public liberal arts university.
- The constituencies and programs of the University of Montevallo should reflect the international character and demographic diversity required of a modern liberal arts university.
- The physical infrastructure of the University of Montevallo should enhance student learning; aid in recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff; and showcase our National Historic District and the original Olmsted plan.
- In addition to the traditional inflow of revenues from tuition, fees, government appropriations, and gifts made possible through the UM Foundation’s annual fund drive, the SPC recommends that the University augment resources through the completion of a successful capital campaign and the establishment of complementary revenue streams.
- The University should strengthen its identity with the external community and should strengthen current partnerships and establish new partnerships with key stakeholders. Innovative technologies should be used where appropriate.
Led by the current President of the University, Dr. John W. Stewart, the strategic planning process began with a series of town hall meetings attended by a wide range of constituents to generate items for the plan. Attended by faculty, staff, students, community members, and trustees, the town hall meetings allowed participation by internal and external constituents. Workgroups, with a broadly representative membership from by faculty, staff, students, community members, and trustees, were given data from the town hall meetings, the 2009-2014 strategic plan (incomplete and partially complete items), and the unit-planning process for consideration. The workgroups developed a strategic plan draft that was reviewed and revised by the Strategic Plan Steering Committee composed of the Executive Cabinet, President’s Cabinet, Deans’ Council, and the University Planning Committee. After further town hall meetings, a final draft was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees during their April 2015 meeting. With the themes of Academic Excellence, Student Engagement and Success, Partnership and Outreach, this strategic plan was designed to serve as the institution’s roadmap to guide decision makers at all levels. The three overarching goals of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan are:
- Academic Excellence: To promote the continued development of faculty as impactful teachers and productive scholars and artists and to cultivate active, engaged student learning.
- Student Engagement and Success: To enhance the climate of UM to cultivate greater levels of student success as measured by retention and completion.
- Partnership and Outreach: To engage our community through mutually beneficial partnerships that support academic, economic, and sociocultural well-being.
Led by the current President of the University, Dr. John W. Stewart, the strategic planning process for the development of the strategic plan was completed in early 2021 and approved by the University’s Board of Trustees during their February 2021 meeting. Prior to the initiation of this process, a new Strategic Plan Policy was adopted, revisioning the University Planning Committee as the Strategic Planning Committee. This committee worked in the long-standing tradition of the institution to develop a Strategic Plan that will be comprehensive with consideration for university-wide needs and informed by the mission, research based utilizing institutional effectiveness data and integrated into institutional plans, and systemic with opportunities for all constituents to participate and provide feedback.
Developed during the COVID-19 pandemic and during a time of deep awareness of historic and systemic racism, the strategic plan includes 2 areas of immediate focus: COVID-19 and Diversity and Social Justice. The remainder of the plan is organized around four strategic themes.
- Focus 1 – COVID-19 Strategy for the Pandemic
- Position the University of Montevallo to endure and thrive during the pandemic by ensuring the safety of all constituents and maintaining as much continuity of instruction as possible to maintain students’ degree progress.
- Focus 2 – Diversity & Social Justice: Strategy for UM to Address Historic and Systemic Racism
- In a similar scope of the US and the world, the University of Montevallo is encouraging a renewed and enhanced examination of our institutional history and operating practices that may implicitly or explicitly perpetuate injustice or oppression. While Montevallo has long been a community that is committed to diversity as a point of pride, we acknowledge that there is significant progress yet to be made in confronting our institutional history particularly in relation to African Americans. Further, we acknowledge the real work yet to be done so that Montevallo may come to reflect the racial diversity of our region in terms of students, staff, faculty, and administration.
- Theme 1 – Identity and Mission
- Build a shared understanding among the university community of UM’s definition of Liberal Arts education for the for the 21st century.
- Theme 2 – Focus on Growth
- Develop and implement initiatives to increase university student recruitment, retention, persistence and graduation rates.
- Develop a strategic budget model that will safeguard and enhance the financial health of the university
- Theme 3 – Innovations for Teaching and Learning
- Offering new and enhanced high quality academic programs at times, locations, and modalities that best serve learners.
- Supporting and developing faculty in facilitating learning.
- Theme 4 – Support for Learning
- Conduct an athletics program that develops student-athletes, through success in both academics and competition, to achieve excellence in life.
- Master plan and maintain campus infrastructure and facilities appropriate for a selective, nationally competitive college.
- Opportunities for staff development.