Campus Forum to Consider Strategic Planning Topics

A campus-wide forum on several key issues, including the definition of a UMass undergraduate education, research foci, and outreach and engagement, is planned for Thursday, April 10 at 3:30 p.m. in 168 Campus Center.

Last year, the Joint Task Force on Strategic Oversight (JTFSO) completed a Phase I strategic planning report, “Innovation and Impact: Renewing the Promise of the Public Research University.” Based on extensive consultation across the campus, the report laid out strategic goals and priorities to guide decisions in all parts of the institution.

During the current academic year, the second phase of the planning process addressed four topics raised in the Phase I report that required deeper discussion and consultation:

  • The question of “What Should Define a UMass Amherst Undergraduate Education?” has been addressed by a JTFSO subcommittee.
  • Another subcommittee has focused on outreach and community engagement in response to the plan’s call to “carefully consider the best approach to support engagement throughout the institution.”
  • The JTFSO research subcommittee and the Research Council have proposed initial research foci building on campus strengths and intersecting with important state, regional and national priorities to help guide early decision-making and investment as the strategic plan is implemented.
  • Exploration of a more intentional, more transparent resource allocation system has been undertaken by a special Joint Task Force on Resource Allocation (JTFRA).

Draft plans in the first three areas above are available for campus review and comment. Thee documents and a feedback blog can be found at Comments are also welcome at

JTFRA has led an extensive discussion of budget allocation systems throughout the spring semester, and a draft report is now available for campus review and feedback. Full information and opportunities for feedback are available on the planning website:

In an April 1 broadcast e-mail, the JTFSO co-chairs, Nancy Cohen, head of the nutrition department, Bryan C. Harvey, associate provost for academic and resource planning, and

Amilcar Shabazz, professor of Afro-American studies and faculty advisor to the chancellor for diversity and excellence, said, “We urge all members of the campus community to share their views on these reports. JTFSO will consider all ideas received and present final versions by the end of the semester, which will then augment the recommendations contained in the Phase I report.”

The co-chairs noted that a framework for addressing diversity and inclusivity more explicitly as a part of the strategic plan, and a progress report on diversity initiatives, will be posted shortly.