Dustin Steinhoff, News Editor

University of Missouri–St. Louis released the final draft of their Strategic Plan 2018 – 2023, a document detailing the goals and actions the university wants to take in the five upcoming years, on Aug. 20.

There was a small group comprised of three faculty members that acted as the leaders when forming the plan’s drafts. Each of the five compacts of the plan (student success, research and creative works, media engagement, community engagement and economic development, and inclusiveness) had their own bigger committee, which were made up of faculty members, staff and students.

“We had very involved faculty in the actual process. We also held open sessions and  feedback forms. Everybody and anybody who wanted to feed in and be a part of it could do that,” Kristin Sobolik, provost and executive vice chancellor, said.

The process of creating the plan started shortly after Mun Choi became president of the University of Missouri system in March 2017. In the summer of 2017, Choi expressed interest in having all of the UM system colleges create strategic plans spanning the next five years. All four of the UM system colleges were then given the same topics that should be included in their plans but were given the freedom to construct the goals and actions of each topic themselves.

“We received the focus of each of our five compacts such as student success, research and creative works, and media engagement,” Sobolik said. “The topics were from them, but we created what we wanted within those particular topics.”

The first draft of the strategic plan was created in Dec., 2017 and the second draft was completed in March 2017. After the first draft of the plan was published for the public to see, people were able to provide feedback which helped form the second and third drafts. However, according to Sobolik, there has not been a large amount of change in the overall nature of the plan since the initial draft because most changes have been geared toward smaller details.

“It is amazing, really. It has evolved more in the specificity of the content within. I felt like our first draft in December was quite solid in what we wanted to do. We did a lot of communication with a lot of people and a lot of work in that fall to come up with what we really wanted to do and how we wanted to frame everything,” Sobolik said.

The biggest change in the plan, however, came from Choi himself, who wanted a change to be made to UMSL’s mission statement.

“The thing that was interesting that we changed at the very last minute was our mission statement,” Sobolik said. “Our mission statement from the very beginning was, ‘We Transform Lives.’ It was Dr. Choi who for our final version said, ‘It needs to be longer.’”

The new mission statement keeps the same tagline while adding more detail stating, “As the metropolitan, land-grant, research institution serving the most diverse and economically important region in Missouri, the University of Missouri–St. Louis delivers exceptional educational, research and engagement experiences that inform, prepare, challenge and inspire. We transform lives.”

All of the UM system colleges’ strategic plans will be put to a vote by the Board of Curators at their next meeting taking place from Sept. 20-21 at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

“All of the final drafts are at the system and now we have a month before the Board of Curators meeting where we will probably have edits from the system and possibly even from ourselves. There may be some slight changes,” Sobolik said.

Despite the final draft of the strategic plan only recently being completed, UMSL has already begun getting some of the actions described in the plan underway.

“[The initiatives] are taking place now. There are a lot of things in there that we want to do anyway and move forward with, so we are moving forward with them,” Sobolik said. “There may be a number or a year that will change, but the bottom line is that the plan is complete.”

UMSL aims to continue to keep looking five or more years into the future once the current 2018-2023 plan is approved.