UNM-LA board adopts new strategic plan

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University: Initiative began last May

By Jennifer Garcia

A new year usually signals change of some sort. On Monday night, the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos made a big change when the board approved a new strategic plan, mission, vision and goals.

Board members, Stephen Boerigter, Linda Hull, Micheline Devaurs and Nelson Hoffman voted unanimously to approve the plan. Board member Ron Dolin was absent. Campus Resources Director Lisa Clough presented the agenda item to board members and asked that they approve it.

The initiative began last spring, when members of the UNM-LA campus began evaluating its strategic goals, vision, mission and values. A new advisory board was elected last year and with that action, new ideas were brought forward. According to the final strategic plan report, board members had “new ideas, observations and questions about the campus, what services the campus was delivering and what direction the campus was moving in the future.”

The campus’ last developed a strategic plan in 2008 “and with the dramatic changes in higher education throughout the state of New Mexico, it was apparent we needed to look within the organization and chart a course of action to guide the institution as it navigates the upcoming years.”

The report further states, “Dr. Carl Moore and Jessie Lawrence of The Community Store were engaged to facilitate the collection of data and the development of the Strategic Plan.

Initially, the consultants met with a small group of Advisory Board members and executive administration to outline their recommended process for building a strategic plan and with their approval, proceeded to gather information about the institution.

“During the summer, various external groups convened or surveyed to gather data related to our reputations, services, visibility and an overall general impression in the community. The groups included meetings of the League of Women Voters, a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, classes of LAHS students, UNM-LA alumni from the Bernalillo Education Center and individual interviews with stakeholders. The information gathered was then presented at a two day retreat to the Strategic Planning Committee, consisting of Advisory Board members, executive administration and curriculum coordinators and faculty.”

Clough called the plan outstanding and said there was a great deal of work done last year. “We wouldn’t have gotten through this without everyone wanting to get to this point,” she said.

Those that participated in the retreat drafted questions, initial goals, action steps, indicators of success and justifications, then discussed the goals’ priority and revised the goals.

A drafting committee consisting of a board representative, administration, faculty and a community member then fleshed out the strategic goals, ultimately resulting in the drafting of the Mission, Vision, Values and Strategic Goals document.

According to the document, the mission of UNM-LA is: “preparation for transfer … pathways for careers … passion for lifelong learning. UNM-LA is an innovative, rigorous and comprehensive branch community college that provides flexible, affordable academic transfer opportunities, leading-edge career programs and stimulates lifelong learning. With education as its central mission, its students become capable, confident and contributing individuals in their communities.”

The vision reads,” recognition as a premier education anchor for Los Alamos and the regions providing unique forward looking learning opportunities, spanning the sciences and the arts, built on unique local and regional assets.”

The values are listed as: Excellence, integrity, diversity, respect, collaboration, innovation, creativity and accessibility.

Following the vote, board members seemed pleased with the action.

“I’m very pleased that the Advisory Board has been able to work with faculty and staff, as well as the Los Alamos community, to develop such an important document. I’m especially pleased that ‘action items’ have been outlined so we all have a better picture about how we (UNM-LA) will reach our goals, not only in education and curriculum, but also in terms of community outreach and marketing,” Hull said.