NEW - See our approved 2011-2016 Mission, Vision and Objectives here.
Strategic Planning Updates

University of Minnesota Alumni Association Strategic Planning

In mid-April, about 75 people from the U community gathered in the McNamara Alumni Center for the unveiling of our strategic plan, “Beyond Traditions: Vision 2016.” As CEO Phil Esten explained the scope of this intensive nine-month process and what our surveys of more than 3,300 alumni revealed, I watched heads nodding in appreciation. Our findings clearly resonated with this crowd. For example, nearly 9 out of 10 alumni report that they are satisfied with the overall experience they had as a student at the U.

But not everything we learned about alumni perspectives had us doing cartwheels. I heard a few gasps when Phil noted how likely alumni are to recommend the U of M to a prospective student. Our score is lowest among peer institutions. And, despite the fact that a world of information is available to all of us 24/7, too many of our alumni (57 percent) say they do not feel informed enough to comment about whether their alma mater is moving in the right direction.

This might sound disheartening to some, but we at the Alumni Association look at this data and see enormous opportunities. Hundreds of stakeholders rolled up their sleeves and offered foresight and insight to help shape our strategic plan for the next five years. We now have a new vision and mission and more clearly defined core values. (Read our mission statement on page 4, and read more about the plan at

Vision 2016’s objectives and initiatives will serve as our roadmap. In collaboration with other U partners, Alumni Association staff will execute the plan, and, as a result, alumni will find new ways to engage with the U and each other no matter where they live. They’ll be able to stay informed about the U in new formats. They’ll enjoy new programs and activities that strengthen their U ties. And, best of all, they’ll begin doing these things long before they’re alumni.

U students are already beginning to grasp what the Alumni Association means in their lifelong relationship with the U. In fact, several undergraduate students participated in the strategic planning process, providing their impressions and opinions about the Alumni Association’s role.

Steve Ruiz, a student in the College of Science and Engineering, was one of them. He attended the unveiling of the plan and later said he was impressed by what he experienced. “I definitely believe that staying involved with the U and the Alumni Association will be a benefit to me,” he said. Judging by what he said next, I feel confident that our strategic plan will be a success. In addition to the opportunity to connect to a network of amazing alumni and a way to give back to the U, he said he understands that “the Alumni Association provides a way to keep in touch with your inner Gopher.”

My heartfelt thanks to Phil Esten for his tireless leadership and to Steve Ruiz and all the participants for their input and passionate deliberations in creating a great plan—one that is challenging but doable and owned by us all.

Ertugrul Tuczu,
Alumni Association past-chair

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