The University of Massachusetts Amherst
A Vision for the Future 2018-2023 Campus Strategic Plan


Students in South College

Establish UMass Amherst as a destination of choice where academically accomplished, socially responsible seekers of a world-class education succeed in a research-rich, inclusive learning community.

Goal 1

Attract and retain outstanding students of all backgrounds

Action steps

  1. Craft a dynamic enrollment and financial aid strategy that is shaped by the populations we desire to serve taking account of state, national, and international demographic shifts, impact of rising student costs, and other trends.

  2. Offer a wide range of high-demand degree programs and career pathways to attract high-achieving students and prepare them to contribute to the Massachusetts innovation economy.

  3. Articulate the value and the quality of a UMass Amherst education through a well-defined and compelling communications strategy.

  4. Identify and address obstacles to retention and timely graduation, and provide appropriate access to courses, curricula, and advising, within a supportive climate that promotes student well-being.

Support student success

Action steps

  1. Increase the coherence of the undergraduate educational experience through careful curricular scaffolding and integration of classroom and cocurricular high-impact practices such as internships, study abroad, research opportunities, community service, etc.

  2. Create well-designed pathways that mesh major requirements, General Education, and out-of-classroom experiences.

  3. Apply both indirect and direct assessment and the latest analytics tools to identify and remove barriers to success and improve educational outcomes for all students.

  4. Incorporate students’ goals, expectations, and holistic understanding beyond academic performance (e.g., wellness, sense of belonging) into pathways and advising; taking advantage of innovations in curriculum and pedagogy in the discipline.

Expand career development opportunities

Action steps

  1. Embed career and professional development opportunities throughout each student’s life at the university: map curricular, cocurricular, internship, employment, volunteer, and other forms of experience onto career and professional advising. In so doing, become an exemplar in supporting specialized career guidance of students who elect to major in the liberal or fine arts.

  2. Engage students actively in the career advising process, making explicit the connections between formal academic programs, school/college efforts, and organized career and professional development opportunities.

  3. Expand and integrate collaborations with alumni, graduate schools, and employers, such as the Alumni Career Network, to increase post-graduate opportunities for students.

  4. Provide more experiential opportunities locally, regionally, and globally, including facilitating our students’ access to the vibrant economy of the Greater Boston area.

Students in a Chemistry Lab

Establish UMass Amherst as a partner of choice in advancing and applying knowledge and innovation to the betterment of society.

Goal 2

Expand research and scholarly impact

Action steps

  1. Identify and support research areas of highest potential impact and quality, and invest strategically in tenure-stream faculty, commensurate with our status as a leading comprehensive research university.

  2. Leverage external resources at the state, national, and global levels by investing in research areas that align UMass Amherst strengths with current and emerging external needs in ways that contribute to enhancing the human experience.

  3. Grow relationships with government, industry, communities, and others by expanding industry master agreements, facilitating center-scale proposals, and supporting community-engaged research.

  4. Identify opportunities for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and graduate training that span the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.

  5. Provide the necessary physical, administrative, and compliance support to conduct high-impact research commensurate with leading research universities.

  6. Enhance research collaborations with companies in the region and in technology clusters such as the Greater Boston area.

  7. Continue to strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem via education, practical assistance, and by attracting private investment.

Strengthen graduate education

Action steps

  1. Attract and retain high-achieving graduate students by creating an overall environment that compares favorably to other leading public research universities in educational opportunities, mentoring, compensation, and student experience and outcomes.

  2. Expand curricular and cocurricular programming to enhance the professional knowledge and skills necessary for graduate students to thrive in academia, industry, public policy, and the nonprofit sector.

  3. Ensure a safe and supportive climate for graduate students regardless of nationality, ability, race, ethnicity, cultural and socioeconomic background, and gender identity.

  4. Increase graduate online and continuing professional education opportunities
    for nontraditional students and working professionals, expanding into the Greater Boston market as appropriate opportunities arise.

Expand outreach and engagement

Action steps

  1. Identify and support additional off-campus collaborative opportunities locally, regionally, and globally to broaden the impact of research, teaching, and service.

  2. Provide appropriate training and organizational support for faculty, staff, and students seeking to engage communities.

  3. Expand service to alumni and others via executive and continuing education opportunities in urban markets.

  4. Implement a regular and systematic approach to identify and evaluate outreach and engagement activities.

  5. Develop a communication strategy for outreach and engagement to demonstrate impact and attract new off-campus collaborators and resources.

Lecture on campus

Establish UMass Amherst as a community of choice for students, staff, and faculty that exemplifies the power of diverse perspectives and mutual respect.

Goal 3

Build a more diverse and inclusive community

Action steps

  1. Continue and enhance recruitment strategies that increase the diversity of the graduate and undergraduate student body, the faculty, and staff in all aspects, e.g., geographic, racial, cultural, socioeconomic, disability status, and gender identity.

  2. Demonstrate that UMass Amherst is a welcoming destination for people of all backgrounds and develop a robust communication strategy.

  3. Assess and address barriers to the retention and success of students, faculty, and staff.

  4. Incorporate into our curriculum the study of arts, literature, and society that represents the full range of human experience.

Improve campus climate

Action steps

  1. Provide tools and training opportunities for all faculty and staff to become adept at working in a diverse and inclusive environment, whether inside or outside the classroom, with colleagues, and with the general public.

  2. Improve and utilize curricular, co- and extracurricular opportunities to enhance student development and success in a diverse, inclusive environment.

  3. Ensure that the allocation and utilization of resources and services provided reflect institutional commitment to the support and success of all members of the community and address concerns of discrimination and unfair treatment.

  4. Establish UMass Amherst as a workplace of choice through progressive and accountable human resource and grievance policies that promote diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Organize for success

Action steps

  1. Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of resources, services, and administrative processes in fostering a climate of inclusion.

  2. Provide incentives and seed funding to catalyze diversity and equity initiatives.

  3. Make diversity outcomes part of the regular responsibility and accountability of administrators.

  4. Ensure the inclusion of underserved communities in the university’s outreach and engagement efforts.