Community Messages | University of Portland

Community Messages

March 8, 2022: An Update on UP's Strategic Planning Process

Dear Members of the University of Portland Community,

We write today with an update on UP’s strategic planning process.

Informed by over thirty Deliberate Dialogue sessions, over seventy responses to an online survey form, and the overall participation of nearly 600 UP students, staff, faculty, alumni, Regents, and friends, UP’s Strategic Plan Steering Committee has developed a working draft of UP’s next strategic plan. The draft centers upon six core themes: Academics, Community, Students, Impact, Resources, and Diversity. We note briefly that, consistent with our institutional commitment to DEIJ, Diversity is presented as its own strategic theme and is also a thread that unites all themes that make up the strategic plan. The draft working document is available for community review at this link.

The Committee has now organized itself into six subcommittees, each of which will focus on developing tactics for the themes and sub-themes contained within the document. In recent weeks, the leaders of each subcommittee have worked to invite community members to serve on these subcommittees. Once the subcommittees are fully constituted, membership details will be posted on the Strategic Planning website. In the meantime, community members are encouraged to contact any of the co-chairs below to share thoughts on the themes in the current working draft.

Theme 1: To enhance and expand the University’s ACADEMIC programs to meet a changing future, and to do so in a fiscally sustainable manner.

Subcommittee Co-Chairs: Casey Shillam, PhD (Dean of the School of Nursing) and Tammy VanDeGrift, PhD (Professor of Engineering)

Theme 2: To build upon our Holy Cross principles and traditions to grow and enhance the University of Portland COMMUNITY to foster faith, formation, and inclusion.

Subcommittee Co-Chairs: Father Jim Gallagher, C.S.C. (Director of Campus Ministry) and John Watzke, PhD (Dean of the School of Education)

Theme 3: To grow and diversify the University’s STUDENT enrollment while maintaining or improving graduation rates.

Subcommittee Co-Chairs: Michael DeVaughn, PhD (Dean of the Pamplin School of Business) and Father John Donato, C.S.C. (Vice President for Student Affairs)

Theme 4: To build upon Catholic social teaching and our programs to ensure that the University, its students, and its alumni make a positive IMPACT on the world.

Subcommittee Co-Chairs: Karina Handeland (Senior Associate Athletic Director) and Cara Hersh, PhD (Academic Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences)

Theme 5: To enhance and expand our human, physical, and financial RESOURCES while maintaining an ethos of sustainability.

Subcommittee Co-Chairs: Amy Eaton (Associate Vice President for Development) and Elise Moentmann, PhD (Associate Provost for Academic Affairs)

Theme 6: Consistent with the tenets of Catholic social teaching, increase our efforts to improve DIVERSITY, equity, and inclusion at the University of Portland.

Subcommittee Co-Chairs: Eduardo Contreras, EdD (Associate Provost for International Education, Diversity and Inclusion) and Brenda Greiner (Director of the Shepard Academic Resource Center)

The remainder of the semester and the summer months will be spent refining this draft document. We intend for the University’s Board of Regents to offer its final approval of the plan in September.

We remain deeply grateful to all in the community for their contributions of perspective and time to this work. We have arrived at this juncture in the strategic planning process with a profound sense of hope for UP’s bright future. We look forward to the next steps in our efforts, and we will continue to keep the community apprised of key developments.


Herbert A. Medina, PhD, Acting President & Provost

Eric C. Barger, Vice President for Financial Affairs

Strategic Plan Steering Committee Co-Chairs 


November 3, 2021: An Update on UP's Strategic Planning Process

Dear Staff & Faculty Colleagues,

We write today to provide an update on the University of Portland’s strategic planning process.

As we reported to you on October 8, the University will create a new strategic plan during the 2021-22 academic year to replace Vision 2020, the strategic plan that guided our efforts through the end of the 2020 calendar year. A Strategic Plan Steering Committee comprised of fifteen staff and faculty has convened, and its members have engaged in initial planning efforts since early October.

We are now ready to initiate the next phase of the planning process, which will be collaborative and open to all UP community members. We encourage you to view the recently launched strategic planning website to see a schedule of upcoming Deliberate Dialogue sessions, review a draft of initial strategic plan themes, contribute your perspectives via an online Community Feedback Form, and learn more about the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. Please consider returning to the website often as additional Deliberate Dialogue sessions will be added in the days and weeks ahead.

On behalf of the Committee, we thank you in advance for your participation in the important work of developing UP’s new strategic plan. We are grateful for the expertise, creativity, and perspective you will bring to this process, in service of our University, students, and holy mission.


Eric C. Barger ’90 (Vice President for Financial Affairs)

Herbert A. Medina (Acting President; Provost)

Strategic Plan Steering Committee Co-Chairs


October 8, 2021: An Update on UP's Strategic Planning Process

Dear Staff & Faculty Colleagues,

We hope you are faring well as we conclude the first half of the fall semester.  Your contributions have not gone unnoticed as we’ve all managed the continued presence of COVID-19.  We thank you for your commitment and willingness to support our return to The Bluff.

We write to update you on the University’s strategic planning process that has just been launched. As you may be aware, our last strategic plan, Vision 2020 (, guided the University through the end of the 2020 calendar year. Normally, the University would have initiated its next strategic planning process while still in 2020, and that plan would have been put in place in 2021. The pandemic, however, delayed that timeline.

With our return to in-person instruction and on-campus work this semester, the President’s Leadership Cabinet elected to embark on a new strategic planning process this fall. Developing and executing a strategic plan is important not only for our University’s continued progress and development, but also our institutional accreditation.

To lead this work, we have appointed a Strategic Plan Steering Committee comprised of staff and faculty from throughout the University. While the Steering Committee will perform much of the work that goes into producing the strategic plan, this process is designed to be collaborative. At several stages throughout the development of the new plan, the Steering Committee will gather input from the campus community, including students, staff, faculty, Regents, and others.

Our goal is to present a plan to the Board of Regents for approval at its May 2022 meeting. The plan would subsequently go into effect starting in July 2022, at the beginning of a new University fiscal year. We recognize that this is an ambitious timeline and that it may be necessary for the Board to take up the final version of the new strategic plan at its September 2022 meeting. Regardless, we intend to produce a five-year strategic plan with a “mid-cycle check-in” so that the new University President will be able to refine the plan in the future, should it become necessary.

The Steering Committee met for the first time earlier this week. Its next task is to invite community members to a set of preliminary Deliberate Dialogues (colloquially, “listening sessions”). During these sessions, we hope that campus constituents will offer their perspectives on themes and priorities that should appear in the University’s next strategic plan. Please be on the lookout soon for information about these sessions. We anticipate that they will begin in late October and continue through November.

Thank you for your attention and for your future participation in the University’s strategic planning process. We wish for you an enjoyable Friday and weekend, and hope you are able to rest, get caught-up and recharge during fall break.


Eric C. Barger ’90 (Vice President for Financial Affairs)

Herbert A. Medina (Acting President; Provost) 

Strategic Plan Steering Committee Co-Chairs