What's in store for the future of the University of Minnesota Morris?

The university will continue to build on established core values while using different tools to strengthen enrollment and its place in higher education.

UMM campus officials led by chancellor Michelle Behr's directive have worked the past 18 months to complete a vision for the university along with eight aspirational statements.

This is not pie-in-the-sky stuff nor will end up on shelf collecting dust, Behr said of the vision and aspirational statements.

Behr said the aspirations will lead to concrete goals complete with benchmarks to evaluate how the university is reaching its goals. The aspirations are proposed to be implemented with results shown over a 10-year period.

Behr acknowledged that the aspirational statements aren't new to UMM. "I don't think any of these (eight aspirational statements) are a radical change from what we do," she said.

But the university needs to focus on deliberate ways to do it better in the future. "We need to think about how to make sure Morris is vibrant and viable and an active part of the community in higher education..."

Four individual task forces will start work on four of the eight aspirational statements this month. The process of turning those aspirations into goal-oriented plans will be completed by the end of spring semester. The remaining four aspirational statements will receive attention at a later time.

"It's a tight deadline," Behr said. But, she's confident the four task forces can complete the work.

The four aspirations cover continued commitment to the history of a liberal arts education and how it prepares students for complex problems, recruitment and retainment of students and staff, acknowledgement of native peoples ties to the land and UMM ties to native peopleand encouraging open communication between campus members of all backgrounds.

A summary of the remaining four aspirational statements that will receive more attention later are: Strengthening the commitment to scholarship; ensure that UMM is a leader in environmental, social and economic sustainability; provide full accessibility to all of UMM's teaching, living, service and learning spaces and technologies to create an inviting and usable environment for everyone on campus and amplify UMM's place as a center for education engaged with the region, state, nation and world as well as solidify its role within the University of Minnesota system.