The Strategic Planning Survey was constructed to solicit broad feedback on nine interconnected priorities that had been identified by the Chancellor in conversations with over 180 community members. A preliminary vision of these interconnected priorities had been shared in September through Town Halls. In the survey, respondents were asked to rate the importance of each priority as Critical, Important, Unsure or Not Important and were given an opportunity to share feedback on challenges and opportunities within each area. There was also an open-ended question allowing participants to add thoughts that fell outside of the priority areas.
- Continuing to strengthen UMass Lowell's branding, admissions processes, and academic programs and supports, to recruit, admit, and retain students through successful graduation and beyond.
- Expanding the availability of paid research, co-op, internship, and other experiential learning opportunities as central to the undergraduate experience, in partnership with corporations, community-based organizations, and government entities.
- Prioritizing continued efforts to strengthen our research profile relative to peers, leveraging UMass Lowell's current trajectory to join the top category of U.S. research universities (R1).
- Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion as a core principle touching all academic and operational aspects of the campus.
- Leveraging our community as a strength by partnering with city government, neighborhood organizations, regional businesses, and non-profits to collectively work to communicate the positive impacts of learning, living, and working in Lowell.
- Reinvigorating our on-campus community and in-person connections among faculty, staff, and students, while strategically evaluating workplace flexibility experienced during the pandemic.
- Embracing environmental sustainability and carbon mitigation as a core principle touching all academic and operational aspects of the campus.
- Emphasizing “hands-on” learning and social interaction as the fundamental benefits of an in-person, on-campus educational experience, while continuing to provide the flexibility of on-line and hybrid course delivery models to reach a broader diversity of students.
- Aligning student mental health services and programs with a campus culture that elevates wellbeing as a campus value, reduces barriers of access to mental health treatments, and destigmatizes the need to seek mental health support.
Emergent overarching themes:
- Broad support across respondents for all interconnected priorities.
- Cost and adequacy of infrastructure are concerns across many of these areas.
- Workload concerns for faculty and staff emerged as a concern across many of these themes.
- Some tensions within and between these various priorities emerge. This is partially related to resources, but also a deeper question of our identity as an institution.
- Highest proportion of faculty named critical priorities as Enrollment (66%) and DE&I (53%)
- Highest proportion of staff/administration named critical priorities as Enrollment (77%), DE&I (59%), and Mental Health (58%)
- Highest proportion of undergraduate students named critical priorities as Mental Health (56%) and Paid Experiential Learning (55%)
- Highest proportion of graduate students named critical priorities as Research Profile (60%) and Paid Experiential Learning (53%)
Overview of Survey Respondents
2,598 participants overall
- 346 faculty
- 559 staff/administration
- 42 other non-student
- 782 undergraduate students
- 254 graduate students
- 615 alumni
More detailed information, including response rates to individual questions and submitted comments will be shared during the various Strategic Planning Thought Sessions scheduled between Nov. 16 and Dec. 7. By that time response data from the alumni survey, which was distributed several weeks after the campus community survey, will be finalized and integrated.