The North Star 2020 strategic plan grew out of a collaborative effort to ensure the University of Redlands adapts and thrives in an ever-changing environment, while advancing the University’s mission to provide a personalized and student-centered education.
The plan, which was developed beginning in 2015, lays out several key and often-overlapping areas of focus, including pathways, student achievement, professional development, and community. The North Star 2020 plan calls for deliberate and transparent tracking of progress.
The pathways effort calls for U of R to create attractive and effective ways for new generations of students to move into, through, and beyond Redlands.
Accomplishments to date include:
• Signing memorandums of understanding (MOU) facilitating and guaranteeing admissions and significant financial aid for qualified students local school districts Redlands, Chaffey, and Yucaipa-Calimesa, as well as Crafton Hills College
• Formalizing the “Redlands Promise,” which guarantees College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate students the opportunity to graduate in four years
• Expanding a partnership with industrial giant United Technologies Corp. (UTC), helping the company's employees pursue graduate or undergraduate degrees offered by the University of Redlands at one of its seven campuses in California or via the University’s online MBA program
• Introducing a 4+1 program in which students can earn both an undergraduate degree and Master of Arts in Learning and Teaching (MALT) in five years; similar academic paths are under consideration in communication sciences, information technology, environmental studies, geographic information systems (GIS), and arts management
The focus on student achievement endeavors to build on the University’s strong reputation for engaging learners and challenging them to exceed their expectations.
Initiatives have included:
• Launching the planning stage of an integrated campus Learning Commons to provide a centralized location for combined undergraduate and graduate student academic and support services
• Engaging a series of surveys, including the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium alumni survey, to provide feedback on the student experience as a foundation for evidence-based decision-making
• Deploying a new online platform for enhancing student and alumni access to internship and employment opportunities
The emphasis on professional development aims to advance the goal of enhancing faculty excellence.
One example is the annual Innovation Fund competition which has led to:
• A media production center in which students learn to use video technology
• A history-geographic information systems (GIS) digital humanities laboratory
• Language learning experimentation with summer intensive programs and language-across-the-curriculum initiatives
• A shared fabrication facility with 3D printing capabilities
• Development of online course curricula in business and education