Thank You for Your Feedback

Dear LMU Community,

On behalf of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, I want to begin by thanking you for your participation during January and February in providing feedback on the draft plan we shared with the community. We were pleased that over 150 faculty, staff, and students completed the detailed survey we circulated, and that dozens more faculty, staff, trustees, and student leaders participated in our engagement with constituent leadership groups during February.

We appreciate your taking the time to provide feedback during this moment when so many obstacles and distractions have stretched our community in terms of bandwidth, morale, and fatigue. We recognize that active engagement has not been easy and we thank you for devoting attention to considering and advising us on these important university choices.

We received a range of feedback: much of it was supportive, while some of it was critical and called for various recommended changes to content, emphasis, and expression. We view this variation in feedback as a positive: it helps us to be conscious of the many different concerns among our community and take into account diverse perspectives to shape a plan that truly represents the full range of LMU’s identity, mission and future.

Although many more topics were raised in the feedback than we can cover in this brief overview, here are some of the main themes we heard:

  • Broad support for the basic structure (vision-commitments-spotlight initiatives) of the draft plan.
  • Appreciation for the intentional nature of the community engagement process, including broad invitations for all community stakeholders to participate, multiple feedback rounds, publicly shared explanations of how feedback at each round informed the next iteration of the plan, and in particular how the plan had evolved to become more directly centered on the students’ curricular and co-curricular experience.
  • General approval of the overall commitments and spotlight initiatives selected (as seen in the survey feedback, summarized here), but also a desire for more specificity about how, when and by whom they will be implemented and funded (more on this below).
  • General support for having a brief, succinct vision statement and for the central aspiration of our draft vision statement – preparing students to impact a rapidly changing world for the common good – accompanied by a sense that the statement would benefit from more LMU-specific texture around the “why” motivating the vision.
  • Strong support for the plan’s anti-racist and diversity, equity and inclusion focused initiatives, along with a desire for actions in this area to be measurable, sustained, clearly tied to the university’s mission and values, and impactful for students, faculty, and staff.

Beyond these consensus points that we observed across the majority of the feedback, we heard several additional themes expressed by a significant number of respondents:

  • A hope for a stronger emphasis in the plan on LMU’s foundational commitments to the liberal arts, for a clearer statement of the continuing centrality of the liberal arts to the university’s core educational vision, and for further illustrations of how this liberal arts commitment informs the plan’s choice of vision, commitments and spotlight initiatives.
  • A desire for reassurance that the liberal arts dimensions of an LMU education will not be abandoned or reduced as we solidify our identity as an R2 university, and a concern that tensions might emerge between our core undergraduate education and our expanded attention to graduate and professional programs and to research.
  • A wish for more clearly articulated links between the graduate and professional education initiative and LMU’s commitment to supporting research and discovery.
  • A desire for greater emphasis on LMU’s Catholic and Jesuit/R.S.H.M./C.S.J. identity in the plan and particularly in the vision statement, along with a hope for the “service of faith” element of LMU’s mission to receive comparable attention to that given to the “promotion of justice” in the plan’s expression.

Finally, we heard several community members express a wish for the process to unfold more slowly, and this is understandable given the pressing demands on our minds and attention spans in these challenging days. As you know, our planning process was originally intended to last one year, concluding last December; after the pandemic hit, the steering committee extended the timeline by five months to accommodate the associated pressures and distractions. With the expiration of our last strategic plan in 2020, there is a need to keep the process moving forward in order to have a plan that can guide us in recovering from these recent challenges and help us prepare for an altered future. For this reason, we still intend to recommend a plan to the president for him to present to the Board of Trustees, as requested, at their May meeting.

At the same time, once the Board has approved the revised university plan, there will continue to be significant opportunities for engagement as we further specify the details of the plan through an ongoing implementation planning process that will unfold over the summer and fall of 2021. The steering committee plans to offer some recommendations about that process in the revised plan, and a draft of our initial thoughts on the subject can be found here. As we move ahead to specify further the action steps, timetables, resource requirements and metrics for success of the new plan, we will continue to engage in appropriate consultative and shared governance processes with community stakeholders.

Once again, let me express the steering committee’s gratitude for the community’s continued engagement and the exceptional levels of participation and feedback we have received throughout this planning process. Although it is not possible for us to make every edit that was suggested in this last round, we are taking your feedback into consideration and it is directly informing our deliberations as we revise the plan.


John M. Parrish
Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee