Strategic Plan 2020-2023
The Mount Ida Campus Strategic Plan defines the steps necessary for UMass Amherst’s additional instructional and residential site in Newton, Mass. to meet its stated mission to “serve as a center for student experiential learning and professional development” while “amplifying UMass Amherst’s impact in the Commonwealth.”
Successful execution of the plan will also enable its vision to make the campus, “a hub of innovation, collaboration and engagement that takes on the greatest challenges facing the Commonwealth.”
The plan is organized around four strategic priority areas, with key objectives and actions steps to support them:
and developing a robust cocurricular career and professional development program within a residential setting offering a unique student life experience.
“The Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst serves as a center for student experiential learning and professional development and facilitates con-nections between the state’s flagship public research university and the business, civic, government, education, and cultural communities in the Greater Boston region, amplifying UMass Amherst’s impact in the Commonwealth.”
“To become a hub of innovation, collaboration and engagement that takes on the greatest challenges facing the Commonwealth.”
Experiential Learning & Professional Development
Develop comprehensive experiential learning pathways within academic programs
- Identify undergraduate cohorts within academic programs and work with academic partners to develop a pathway that keeps students on track for graduation that includes in-ternship for credit as well as online, multimodal or face-to-face course offerings.
- Identify graduate programs that allow for internship experiences and work with faculty, the International Programs Office, and the Graduate School to create a holistic experien-tial learning package consistent with graduate school requirements.
- Work with relevant business units to achieve a consistent tuition model for Mount Ida Campus resident students and a user-friendly way to access course registration, housing opportunities, and other services associated with the Mount Ida Campus.
- Develop a student and residence life plan that supports the cohort model of building a living/learning community, providing support, teamwork opportunities and shared re-sources in order to enrich the academic experience through appropriate cocurricular opportunities that align with students’ academic and career interests (e.g., vet tech stu-dents, summer international students).
- Create a position within Academic Affairs responsible for the development, coordination, and execution of experiential learning pathways on the Mount Ida Campus.
Measure: No. of new pathways/programs; Diversity of programs; Student satisfaction
Build strong employer relationships in Greater Boston
- In close coordination with university industry engagement activities, conduct a survey of Greater Boston employers to assess need for interns, industry-based credentials and other partnership opportunities.
- Identify, target, and reach out to employers across multiple sectors to build a pipeline of meaningful internships and co-ops aligned with Mount Ida Campus experiential learning program cohorts.
- Cultivate relationships with key regional employers that result in the creation of “premier partners.”
- Establish a working group to develop a framework for credential programs that is aligned with the existing approval process for certificate program proposals.
Measure: No. of new cohorts; No. of premier partnerships; No. of new industry credential programs; Partner satisfaction
Create a robust program for cocurricular career and professional development opportunities on the Mount Ida Campus
- Implement a career development calendar on the Mount Ida Campus that includes both semester and “off-season” programming, including workshops, boot camps, and career fairs, available to all UMass Amherst students and, when appropriate, sibling campuses.
- Extend existing college and department professional development programs to the Mount Ida Campus, where relevant student cohorts exist.
- Utilize Boston-area alumni and business/industry partners to provide high-quality seminars, panels, and networking events on campus.
- Create a multiday professional development conference as a signature annual campus event.
Measure: No. of events/attendance; Student satisfaction
Cultivate a student life experience that is unique to the Mount Ida Campus
- Engage residential students in a unique “City Life” curriculum focused on community engagement and cultural competence, personal skills and responsibilities, and career in-sights and preparedness.
- Develop on-campus program offerings utilizing Boston-area alumni, industry experts, and scholars.
- Identify, designate and/or develop campus facilities that promote independent student experiential learning projects and opportunities.
- Enhance and make more accessible unique campus amenities (e.g., pond, walking trails, open spaces, public parks).
- Work with University Relations and Physical Plant to bring the campus in alignment with university branding while highlighting its unique mission.
- Establish intramural and cocurricular recreational programs for students which, whenever appropriate, are aligned with their academic pursuits and interests.
Measure: Student satisfaction; Student program participation
Innovation & Industry Collaboration
Establish a lead development/business development function on the Mount Ida Campus
- Identify shared need for centralized business development support services and work those functions into an existing or new job description on the Mount Ida Campus, incorporating functions from Advancement, Research and Engagement, and Career Services.*
- Work with sibling UMass campuses to explore the development of a five-campus core facilities “welcome center” on the Mount Ida Campus, providing virtual exploration of cores available across all campuses.
Measure: New collaborations; New sponsored research; Philanthropy
*Function should also support Experiential Learning & Professional Development objectives
Create a framework for industry-sponsored "challenge projects" aligned with UMass Amherst research interests
- Survey industry, government and nonprofit partners to identify challenges facing the Commonwealth.
- Create integrated challenge teams of faculty, students, and industry collaborators.
- Develop on-site project components on the Mount Ida Campus or at partner facilities.
- Where feasible and appropriate, work with faculty to integrate challenge project elements into existing and planned curriculum.
- Where feasible, provide incentives for students (e.g., course credit) and faculty (e.g., teaching load) to participate in or lead challenge projects.
Measure: No. of teams/projects initiated/completed; Sponsor and partner satisfaction
Develop a Mount Ida campus-based innovation and entrepreneurship community
- Stand up and/or continue to develop coworking, shared lab and dedicated office spaces for diverse third-party tenants.
- Prioritize student experiential learning opportunities in tenant leases and in all “innovation and collaboration space” operations.
- Develop a program of networking events for on-campus companies, alumni, partners, and the venture capital community.
- Establish a process to facilitate interactions between on-campus companies and UMass Amherst faculty and researchers, including mentorship opportunities.
Measure: No./diversity of tenants; No. of student/faculty tenant interactions; Tenant satisfaction; Lease renewal rate
Leverage Mount Ida Campus geography for faculty and graduate student recruitment
- Conduct market research to identify unmet need in Greater Boston for graduate programs that align with UMass Amherst offerings.
- Coordinate with university deans, the Provost’s Office, and the Office of Human Resources to ensure that the Mount Ida Campusbecomes an optional location in faculty position postings when appropriate.
- Develop a new faculty package that includes office and/or lab and/or maker space on the Mount Ida Campus and access to multimodal teaching technology.
- Establish a strategy, scope, and budget specific to Mount Ida Campus graduate program marketing.
Measure: No. of new faculty hires; MIC graduate student enrollment;Conversion rate of graduate students from non-degree to degree
Establish an industry collaborative experiential training framework
- Define the requirements, best practices, and standard procedures for instituting student-partner engagements that are for-credit (i.e., co-ops) non-credit (i.e., internships), or research-oriented.
- Make this framework as universal as possible to facilitate the efficient implementation of experiential learning opportunities for any degree program that the university offers while allowing each entity within the university to tailor its offerings for domain-specific requirements.
- Utilize the Mount Ida Campus as a location to offer professional training modules to provide “soft skills” training to regional industry partners and/or master’s and doctoral students.
- Integrate “soft skills” workforce training with development of credential programs, development of “premier partner” relationships (see “Experiential Learning & Professional Development”) and other industry collaboration initiatives on the Mount Ida Campus.
Measure: No. of new programs; Program enrollment
Economic Development & Community Development
Leverage campus and university assets to promote regional community development
- Audit university community relations and outreach programs (e.g., UMass Community Campaign, Eureka program) appropriate for extension to the Mount Ida Campus.
- Work with regional K-12 and nonprofit partners to connect with prospective first-generation college students and underrepresented and disadvantaged groups in Greater Boston with UMass Amherst via the Mount Ida Campus.
- Continue development of Mount Ida Campus Faculty Speaker Series and develop other opportunities to leverage faculty expertiseforcommunity enrichment programming in the Newton-Needham region.
- Work with Athletics and colleges/departments to extend youth sports and youth academic camps and programs to the Mount Ida Campus.
- Identify opportunities for collaboration with UMass sibling campus community development programs in Greater Boston.
Measure: No. of new community partnerships; Attendance at community events; No. of positive media impressions
Establish the campus as a "third place" for the broader UMass community to gather and connect
- Promote access to Mount Ida Campus amenities to alumni, faculty, and students and develop new amenities (e.g., UMass Amherst Club).
- Work with the Office of Advancement to promote alumni events and programming on the Mount Ida Campus.
- Coordinate with colleges, Advancement, Athletics, and others to utilize the Mount Ida Campus to enhance Boston-area events and programs (e.g., ancillary events, parking, overnight accommodations).
- Work with relevant business units to develop mobile technology that allows university community members to schedule conference and/or social space on the Mount Ida Campus.
Measure: Alumni event attendance; Innovator badge registrations
Establish a leading presence in the regional economic development community
- Make engagement with the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, N2 Innovation District, other regional business organizations, government agencies, and nonprofits a priority for campus leadership and staff.
- Work with business organizations and the City of Newton Economic Development Division to utilize the Mount Ida Campus for meetings, seminars, andevents.
- Leverage UMass government relations capacity to attract state and federal grants and other funding for university-sponsored or collaborative economic development initiatives.
- Establish the Mount Ida Campus as a center for university economic development research and programmatic activities (e.g., UMass Donahue Institute events).
- Leverage faculty expertise and studentproject teams to support regional transportation and infrastructure initiatives.
Measure: No. of association/committee memberships/placements; External funding received
Facilities Development & Operational Capacity
Develop multiuse, multidisciplinary, and multimodal campus facilities
- Incorporate flexibility into new classroom design toaccommodate maximum use across colleges and departments and flexible use design into other workspaces (e.g., maker spaces, studio spaces).
- Continue to invest in multimodal capable classrooms.
- Identify opportunities to develop facilities attractive for use by industry partners (e.g., labs, training/classroom facilities, event spaces).
Measure: Multimodal course enrollments; Space use rates; Diversity of programs leveraging facilities
Define system, process, policy, and human resource integration with the Amherst campus
- Extend UMass Amherst technology infrastructure and servers, applications, policies, and procedures in most cases while identifying areas where local control is required, and clearly articulate those areas to relevant business units.
- Build a cross-functional facilities team as an extension of the Physical Plant to operate and maintain the Mount Ida Campus as well as other UMass Amherst sites in eastern Massachusetts.
- Work with Chancellor’s and Provost’s offices to codify Mount Ida Campus Steering Committee appointments.
- Ensure that the Mount Ida Campus is integrated in all financial systems and processes, including processes for request and appropriation of capital funding.
- Integrate the Mount Ida Campus into the online student information system (SPIRE) to ensure that class registration, billing, and housing status is extended to the Mount Ida Campus and that Mount Ida Campus cohorts can be easily queried, tracked, managed, and modified.
Measure: Direct vs. indirect costs
Develop a campus framework plan to support development and re-development opportunities
- Complete a comprehensive Facilities Condition Index for the Mount Ida Campus that provides an understanding of both current/built for use and potential future use, including investment and code compliance needs to change use.
- Organize all campus infrastructure and campus building data into a single, geospatial system for convenient access and update.
- Create a campus plan that shows highest and best university use for developable property.
- Create a prioritized list of capital projects for further study and possible implementation.
- Prioritize environmental sustainability in all development and redevelopment projects.
Measure: New project initiation
Design and implement a transportation system that increases accessibility to Greater Boston and facilitates travel between Amherst and Newton
- Explore the feasibility of transportation infrastructure improvements to reduce impact on nearby residential communities and increase access to neighboring Wells Avenue of-fice park.
- Support the establishment of a dedicated MBTA shuttle in partnership with the City of Newton and Wells Avenue office park tenants.
- Research and implement a sustainable transportation model for resident student interns whose internships are not accessible via public transportation.
- Research and implement an efficient, sustainable transportation solution to move students, faculty, and staff between Amherst and Newton.
- Leverage faculty expertise and student projects within the Department of Transportation Engineering to provide transportationsolutions for the campus.
Measure: Shuttle ridership; Transportation cost efficiency
Increase capacity for Mount Ida Campus conferences and events
- Assess university interest and capacity for hosting large academic conferences on the Mount Ida Campus.
- Conduct a needs assessment for conference center facilities, including meeting rooms, lodging options, and amenities.
- Issue a request for information to assess market interest in a public private partnership to develop a campus conference center.
- Prioritize opportunities for students in the hospitality and tourism management program in conference capacity and facilities development.
Measure: Event attendance/net revenue
Grow the overall population of students utilizing the Mount Ida Campus
- Work with University Relations to design and implement a cyclical internal marketing strategy to ensure student awareness of year-round Mount Ida Campus opportunities.
- Work with the International Programs Office, Admissions, and other units to identify unique opportunities for international students on the Mount Ida Campus, inclusive of break housing, summer programs, and targeted “City Life” programs.
- Work with University Without Walls to expand, support, and market pre-college summer programs and summer session programs on the Mount Ida Campus.
- Work with the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences to create attractive conditions for students in the redesigned veterinary technology program (e.g., priority housing placement).
Measure: Total campus population; Residential student population
The plan aligns with and supports UMass Amherst’s broader strategic plan, “Be Revolutionary: A Vision for the Future 2018-2023.”
In May 2018, with approval from the UMass Board of Trustees, UMass Amherst acquired the Newton, Mass. campus of the former Mount Ida College.
With the state’s center of gravity for business and industry located within Route 128, the strategic acquisition was intended to mitigate the geographic barrier between the state’s flagship public university and the Greater Boston region, which is home to a plurality of current UMass Amherst students and alumni.
The months immediately following the acquisition were heavily focused on UMass-related aspects of the closure of Mount Ida College, including the relocation and/or adoption of its unique academic programs. In the subsequent 12 months, UMass Amherst’s academic and administrative units focused on the operational aspects of activating the new campus.
With that initial work complete, in January 2020, Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy appointed a 15-member Mount Ida Campus Strategic Planning Committee, representing a cross section of Mount Ida Campus stakeholders. He charged the committee with drafting a strategic plan for the campus that would “provide guiding principles and goals for the campus as we seek to leverage it for the benefit of UMass Amherst, the UMass system and the Commonwealth.”
Strategic Planning Committee
Jeff Cournoyer, Managing Director, Mount Ida Campus (co-chair)
Farshid Hajir, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (co-chair)
Devra Bailin, Economic Development Director, City of Newton
Cheryl Brooks, Associate Provost for Career and Professional Development
Christopher Dunn, Executive Director, Government Relations
Kathryn Ellis, Director, UMass Amherst Innovation Institute
Linda Enghagen, Associate Dean, Professional Programs, Isenberg School of Management
Laura Haas, Dean, College of Information and Computer Science
Susan Kelly, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, UMass President’s Office
Barbara Krauthamer, Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of History
Joe Naughton, Director of Capital Projects, UMass Building Authority
Arsh Patel, Graduate Student
Peter Reinhart, Founding Director, Institute for Applied Life Sciences
Steve Reynolds, Campus Director, Mount Ida Campus
Ashley Rice, Undergraduate Student
Strategic Planning Process
The Mount Ida Campus Strategic Planning Committee met regularly over the course of the Spring 2020 semester. It defined mission and vision statements,
determined four strategic priority areas, and formed subcommittees organized by the strategic priorities.
The subcommittees leveraged their expertise, existing materials and reports, and stakeholder feedback from one-on-one interviews, surveys and small group discussions to draft objectives and action steps, which were then debated and agreed upon by the full committee. The committee’s discussions were also informed by input from the pre-established Mount Ida Campus Steering Committee and the Mount Ida Campus Framework Planning Committee.
As an additional instructional and residential site of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Mount Ida Campus is geographically separate but functions in full alignment with business, academic, and student engagement units in Amherst. Therefore, it was a tenet of the committee to draft a plan that directly supported UMass Amherst’s strategic plan, “Be Revolutionary: A Vision for the Future 2018-2023.” Because “Be Revolutionary” provides broad goals and action steps that apply to the Mount Ida Campus, this plan represents a campus-specific extension, with more granular objectives and action steps. By virtue of its alignment with “Be Revolutionary,” this document is effectively a three-year plan to be updated for 2024. The committee recognizes that many of the objectives in the plan may not be realized within three years, but in the spirit of “Be Revolutionary,” it prioritizes the pursuit of excellence, impact, and outcomes.
Wherever possible, opportunities for student experiential learning or professional development are called out. It is the committee’s hope that in both reviewing and assisting in implementing this plan, faculty, staff, and students alike will identify additional opportunities to create learning and student life experiences for UMass Amherst students via the Mount Ida Campus.