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RIVER LIFE

Great Idea for a Strategic Plan: Take Advantage of Our Location

Everyone loves to hate strategic plans, right?  They are something else for management to drone on about, they rarely are connected to our everyday work, and they often just don’t make sense.

A place as big and complex as the University of Minnesota almost requires a strategic plan just so the hundreds of different units, departments, and centers all can have a sense that we work for the same place.  Of course, those hundreds of units mean a strategic plan is almost impossible to develop.  Nevertheless, the University of Minnesota recently adopted a strategic plan, one of the pillars of which is “Capitalize on our Unique Location.

Of course, this phrase means the location of the campus on the Mississippi River–what else could it be?  Actually, as you read the section, there’s a lot more to our location than just the river, but it’s gratifying to see that the river is in fact mentioned and pictured.  We can, and are, helping University officials think about how the campus can take advantage of the river location, and the community of people working on river issues.  It’s worth reiterating that “taking advantage of location” also means exploring the question of how the University’s teaching and research can be a resource for those communities as well.  One of our current questions is how we can expand the sense of “community” that is invested in the river.

We have some programs under way that are directly aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan, things like our new Open Rivers digital journal.  We are always looking for new ideas, though: What do you think the University should be doing to be a better resource for people working on a sustainable and inclusive future for the Mississippi River?  Let us know!

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One Comment

  1. Mona SmithSeptember 14, 2016 at 10:02 am

    “Taking advantage of our location” certainly sounds traditional American. How about “honoring and recognizing” our location?

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A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.