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Illuminant & Annual Report | 2020

The Illuminant is a production of the Miami University Libraries' Office of Strategic Communications.

Strategic plan initiatives underway

In October of 2020, the University Libraries unveiled Catalyst, its strategic plan for the 2020-2021 academic year. The plan comprises five specific initiatives designed to meet three strategic goals.

“Once MiamiRISE laid the foundation for our campuswide priorities, we launched into a comprehensive strategic planning process for the Libraries,” said Jerome Conley, dean and university librarian. After developing a master plan in 2017 to guide the Libraries’ long-term priorities, the Libraries sought to create an actionable roadmap of initiatives for the academic year that would align with the overarching goals in MiamiRISE.

Work to implement the plan is well underway. Five working groups of Libraries staff and librarians — one for each initiative — finalized action plans in August and began driving each initiative forward.

Each working group’s initiative is designed to further one of the plan’s three main goals: developing talent and community, transforming the user experience, and forging meaningful partnerships.

The five initiatives are:

  • Professional development
    “Implement a comprehensive development program at all levels of the organization”
  • Adaptability
    “Investigate, advocate, and implement flexible work environments and staff structures by conducting research and establishing a foundation for long-term change”
  • Virtual spaces & services
    “Ensure a cohesive experience between virtual and physical spaces by expanding and marketing virtual spaces and services”
  • Communication
    “Create infrastructure to communicate our values and cultivate community by assessing and analyzing user needs, solidifying a brand for the Libraries, and creating a brand ambassador program”

Meaningful partnerships

“Analyze and cultivate values-driven partnerships to support services by pursuing grants and donor funding and investing in relationship-building.”

Miami University undergraduate students participate in a brainstorming session for the Libraries' strategic plan. Students are standing at a whiteboard wall in King 134 (AIS), putting up multicolored post-it notes

Libraries staff poured nearly a year of brainstorming, planning, research, and review into developing the plan and revising the Libraries’ mission, vision, and values. Instrumental to the work was Farmer School of Business Forsythe Chair in Entrepreneurship Tom Heuer, who consulted extensively with Libraries administration and facilitated strategy sessions. With the infrastructure created during the process, the Libraries are now well-positioned to assess, revise, and renew a yearly strategic plan.

The Libraries’ updated vision statement — “to be the catalyst for growth and discovery for every scholar in our community” — emphasizes the Libraries’ dual commitment to both scholarship and inclusivity. The emphasis is reinforced with the first of the Libraries’ new set of values: “welcoming.”

“We owe it to every student, faculty, and staff member to make sure our spaces and services are not only academically rigorous, but also accessible and equitable,” Conley said.

“This plan gives us measurable goals and specific steps to take to advance our Libraries forward. I’m thrilled with our community’s work in getting us to this point. Now, we get to work toward reaching these goals together.”


See the plan