Armacost touts creation of “UND Leads” strategic plan as university’s greatest accomplishment of 2022
Armacost: Repatriation process, national security initiatives top UND’s 2023 agenda
GRAND FORKS – UND President Andrew Armacost said UND’s new strategic plan, titled “UND Leads” – which replaces the “One UND” plan conceived in 2017 – was the university's greatest accomplishment of 2022.
Armacost said in creating the plan, which was to be unveiled during a ceremony at the memorial union on Jan. 20, UND reached out to hundreds of alumni across the nation, who willingly offered their input.
“There was no arm twisting to get people involved,” said Armacost. “Rather, there was a real yearning to contribute to UND’s vision moving forward.”
Armacost said the strategic planning committee began its outreach in February 2022, with an event to recruit potential volunteers to contribute to the various working groups.
“Last February, we had a kickoff meeting where we invited the campus and alumni communities to tune in, and view the opportunities available to contribute to the process,” said Armacost. “We received a lot of input, and eventually coalesced around seven focus areas to build working groups. The number of volunteers – which was in the hundreds – flooded our system.”
The plan consists of five pillars outlining UND’s vision – sense of wonder, love of discovery, commitment to serve, inclusive excellence and equity, and a culture of belonging. Armacost said he hopes UND's sense of wonder — manifested in the many innovative academic departments on campus — will be on display in 2023.
“I’m looking forward to cultivating a sense of wonder on our campus,” said Armacost. “One where people come here and say ‘wow, there’s something special happening at UND,' and where everyone has the opportunity to learn, discover, and be innovators and creators.”
Armacost said that UND Leads will continue to be a work in progress, one that is subject to amendment based on the needs of the campus community.
“My goal is to make this an enduring document,” said Armacost. "We have left the strategic plan in the hands of the campus. It could be that they decide in five or 10 years that it’s time to go through the process again. I believe that this strategic plan is forward looking, and sets a positive direction for the campus, while remaining open to modifications and revisions as the campus community sees fit.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming year, Armacost said UND’s biggest challenges will be navigating through legislative appropriations sessions, as well as continuing the work of repatriating ancestral remains to their tribal nations.
“We’re hoping that the importance of higher education resonates with the Legislature, and that our long-term needs are met,” said Armacost. “These needs include keeping our ability to offer competitive salaries to our faculty, and addressing the impact inflation has had on our operations.”
UND also plans on implementing several programs partnering national security initiatives and space studies, including a new satellite operations center at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
“We’re eager to put these initiatives into practice, and ensure that they’re impacting both cadets and faculty in a positive way,” said Armacost.
On the topic of repatriation, Armacost expressed his commitment to what he describes as a multi-year process of identifying ancestral remains, and working with tribal representatives and governmental agencies to ensure that they are returned in a dignified manner.
“I had a chance to see the physical space in which repatriation work is conducted,” said Armacost. “It was very eye-opening to understand the details of the process, and the level of commitment it takes to do this work. The work we’re asking our team to do is both mentally taxing and emotionally draining.”