Skip to main content

CMU's 2023-2028 Strategic Plan

Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees approved a new five-year strategic plan during its formal session Thursday, September 28, 2023. The plan was developed following a multi-year Strategic Envisioning Process and with the involvement of multiple stakeholders, committees and groups through a university-wide strategic planning process in 2022-2023. We encourage you to review the strategic plan priorities, objectives and goals, and to consider how you will play a role in crafting a vibrant future for the university.  

Drone photo of CMU's campus in Fall 2023

Review CMU's mission, vision and values

Priority one

Inspire Student and Scholarly Success — Prepare bold leaders and learners who innovate and adapt in a rapidly changing world. 


  • Engage students to lead in a rapidly changing world.
  • Expand interdisciplinary opportunities to meet critical societal challenges in our local, state and global communities.
  • Create a seamless journey over a CMU learner’s lifetime.
  • Commit to supporting our faculty and strategically investing in research and creative endeavors that address society’s grand challenges and enrich the learning opportunities for all.
  • Intentionally internationalize the student experience and the CMU campus.

SMART goals

  • 95% of undergraduate students are employed, involved in military or volunteer service, or in graduate school within six months of graduation as reported in the First Destination Survey.
  • Within 5 years, every undergraduate student will have an immersive experience in a university-approved program by the time they graduate. Immersive experiences include, but are not limited to, leadership development programming, internships, research opportunities, study abroad, alternative breaks, and other relevant experiences with clear learning objectives.
    • Measure: Year one target includes the creation of a comprehensive university- approved list of programs, identification of a tracking mechanism, and a communication plan by August 2024.
  • Create a program to streamline the learner experience and achieve a continued increase in the number of learners who return to CMU over their lifetime.
    • Measure: Year one target includes the development of the methodology for tracking by August 2024.

Priority two

Engage Communities — Cultivate and enrich reciprocal partnerships with university stakeholders to ensure a lasting impact in the communities we serve.


  • Champion the interests of rural and under-resourced populations through collaborations. 
  • Embrace and enhance the historic connection between the university and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe through active listening, cooperative partnering, and reciprocal learning to build on longstanding local connections and establish networks for broader collaboration with tribes across the Great Lakes region. 
  • Engage alumni, donors, community and business leaders, among others, to provide mutually beneficial real-world and hands-on experiences for students through curricular and co-curricular partnerships. 
  • Leverage and develop strengths of CMU with the needs and interests of our communities to build and sustain dynamic relationships. 

SMART goals

  • Develop strategies to identify and enhance relationships to meet community needs, beginning with healthcare and wellbeing in the mid-Michigan area, Great Lakes Bay Region, western and northern Michigan.
    • Measure: Develop the plan, a comprehensive tracking process, and annual goals, by August 2024.
  • Increase the number of students engaging in curricular and co-curricular real-world experiences with external stakeholders to achieve a long-term goal of 80% of undergraduate students.
    • Measure: Identify a comprehensive list of the experiences, partners of engagement, transcript-based tracking mechanism, and communication plan to students and faculty by December 2024 for a Fall 2025 rollout.

Priority three

Enhance Organizational Culture — Raise our national profile as a vibrant and nurturing university community where all members feel valued, empowered to thrive, and experience a strong sense of belonging. 


  • Develop a comprehensive value proposition for faculty and staff that is based on our Core Values and Leadership Standards. 
  • Establish the university as a national model of an inclusive campus that ensures unwavering exploration of all ideas, ideologies, and perspectives by promoting opportunities for creative and courageous conversations. 
  • Promote a campus-wide learning opportunity to acquire transferable skills that facilitate dialogue and discourse around polarizing topics without demoralization. 
  • To fulfill our core values, integrate the goals and recommendations of the university’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging Strategic Plan into each academic and operational unit at the university. 
  • Amplify external awareness of CMU’s scholarship and creative activities, creating a vibrant hub for the marketplace of ideas. 
  • Engage with local leaders to further a welcoming community on and off campus for all students, staff and faculty. 

SMART goals

  • Foster a culture in which all faculty and staff feel valued, empowered, and can realize the positive impact of their work on the university’s mission.  
    • Measure 1: Increase year-over-year staff retention rates as established annually. 
    • Measure 2: In conjunction with the Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging, support and implement strategies to attract, recruit, and hire diverse faculty and staff, and to sustain diversity across units. 
  • Establish campuswide (students, faculty and staff) learning opportunities to acquire transferable skills that facilitate dialogue and discourse around polarizing topics without demoralization.  
    • Measure 1: Develop a plan to introduce approved dialogic learning activities to campus by May 2024.  
    • Measure 2: Expand dialogic learning activities to co-curricular offerings for students, and professional development options for staff and faculty by May 2025. 
  • Create a community relations committee of civic leaders and appropriate university stakeholders to address mutually beneficial opportunities and activities to jointly enhance the university and local communities. Goals and areas of enhancement should include: a vibrant local economy, creating a welcoming community environment for a diverse university population, and creating a welcoming campus environment for community members.  
    • Measure: Identify committee members, create a clear committee charge, and formulate an initial plan for signature events and coordinated initiatives to improve relations, as gauged by direct feedback through the committee, by August 2024. 

Priority four

Ensure Institutional Sustainability — Embrace sustainable campus operations that ensure wise stewardship of our resources. 


  • Adopt agile and lean business practices and systems that ensure efficiency, maintain a focus on solutions, and meet or exceed industry standards. 
  • Invest in and expand our operational focus on the efficient use of energy, reduction of waste and consumption, sustainable development, sustainability, and environmental responsibility. 
  • Strategically invest in and rebalance our portfolio of educational offerings to meet current and future learner, employer and societal needs while remaining accessible and affordable. 
  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement and informed risk-taking through reinvestment of funding into either new programs that create impact or into ideas that create efficiencies. 
  • Implement strategies for new and diversified revenue streams with a focus on enhancing advancement and fundraising activities and identifying mutually beneficial partnerships with other organizations to further the goals of CMU. 

SMART goals

  • Foster a university-wide culture of continuous improvement with a focus on:  
    • Creating a system to review policies and processes that result in inefficiency or stymie innovation, and appoint a cross-divisional team to carry it out.  
      • Measure: Number of policies reviewed, changed or deleted and new processes created by August 2025.  
    • University stakeholders expanding the portfolio of new non-traditional educational offerings.  
      • Measure: Initiate tracking and transcription systems to count learners pursuing credentials and the number of offerings successfully launched by April 2025. 
    • Pursuing additional opportunities for partnerships with other organizations to further the goals of CMU.  
      • Measure: Develop the plan to generate and evaluate opportunities by August 2024. 
    • Creating and implementing a comprehensive technology plan to identify and prioritize academic and operational needs.  
      • Measure: Develop the plan, with annual goals, by August 2024.  
  • Review, clarify, and revise division roles, responsibilities and organizational structure with a focus on removing barriers, improving efficiency and accountability, and enhancing customer service.  
    • Measure: Number of internal processes mapped/reviewed and identified for enhancements by August 2024. 
  • Initiate a comprehensive review of programs and strategies targeted towards student retention.  
    • Measure: Establish the criteria to evaluate return on investment, and impact by May 2024. 
  • Continue to develop and implement the planning phase strategies for a comprehensive capital campaign. This includes efforts for staffing, technology, university priorities, prospect identification and qualification, case statement development, etc.  
    • Measure: Determine the feasibility of the campaign and next steps by August 2024.


An implementation toolkit will be developed throughout the early fall to ensure all strategic plan details are fully understood by stakeholders charged with implementing divisional and college plans that align with the overarching university plan. The toolkit will include an outline of natural and potentially hidden linkages between the strategic priorities, objectives, SMART goals, and measures, by division and college. Many Strategic Planning Advisory Council (SPAC) members and additional key stakeholders will participate in sessions focused on change management and implementation strategies for greater consistency across the university. Information gathered throughout the planning process will be available for SPAC members and additional key stakeholders to leverage as they prepare divisional and college plans. All plans will align with the university plan, and a clear communication plan will be rolled out to the campus community. An investment of resources will be made through strategic reallocations to initiate the implementation of the plan. 


The four listed priorities will guide the strategic direction of Central Michigan University for the next five years. Annually, the plan and allocation of resources will be reviewed, to ensure alignment between the budget and priorities. A full report will be provided for the campus community and presented at the Board of Trustees meeting each September. At this meeting, annual goals for the next year will also be presented. Quarterly reports will be provided to the Board of Trustees on the progress of the implementation and overall goals from each major division. At the four other Board of Trustees meetings, a presentation and discussion on one of the priorities will occur. After the third year, the board will oversee a review of the plan and adjust as needed to ensure that contemporary issues are addressed and future aspirations are articulated.

Provide feedback

Members of the CMU community are invited to share their thoughts on the new strategic plan, as well as to submit questions and concerns, by emailing the Strategic Planning Team.