Strategic planning: As simple as 1-2-3

Strategic plans fail when they sit on a shelf and collect dust. From the start, Chancellor Arvizu and I have promised NMSU LEADS 2025 would not be merely an item to check off a list but would be a living plan, with key performance indicators (KPIs) assessed annually and key metrics also regularly assessed. The annual update to the campus is just one way we keep the plan relevant.

But for a strategic plan to work, everybody at NMSU must understand how their role in achieving that plan.

The first step is to know where we are going. NMSU’s vision is to, by 2025, “excel in student success and social mobility for our diverse student populations, achieve the highest Carnegie research status (R1), and maintain our Carnegie Community Engagement classification.” Why this vision? Because land-grant universities are dedicated to students and communities. Further, as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, NMSU has a higher obligation to the success of our students, many of whom are underrepresented in higher education. We also know that universities with a Carnegie research status of R1 nearly always have stronger enrollment, which means less vulnerability to state budget cuts.

The second step is to know how we will get there. On Wednesday, about 60 members of NMSU’s leadership spent the day thinking about how our KPIs and key metrics propel our vision and the tactics that can move the needle on these metrics. Highlights of the day included:

  • Vice President Luis Cifuentes presented the Goal Card (formerly, Scorecard), which more closely links unit metrics to our KPIs.
  • The Outreach Impact Index represents the culmination of work by Goal 3 to measure the effect of our extensive outreach efforts.

The current draft of NMSU LEADS 2025 focuses on tactics that can have real impacts on our KPIs. In the fall semester, look for a final draft of the plan and opportunities to give feedback on the tactics and metrics before we finalize it in early 2022.

The final step is to know your role. Every employee at NMSU should be aware of how their work moves us closer to achieving these strategic goals and the NMSU vision. Leaders left the Wednesday retreat knowing that they need to ensure that staff throughout their organizations all understand how they shape and contribute to NMSU’s future.

Finally, congratulations! Rain brought rainbows and graduates to Aggie Memorial Stadium on Friday and Saturday night last week. The joy that comes with every graduating class was sweeter this year because, at times, it seemed that we might not make it.


But we did, and our graduates can add an extra line for resilience and perseverance to their resumes. Aggie graduates, we wish you all the best in your future.

Feedback is always welcomed at Be Bold. Be Kind. Be Safe. Go Aggies!

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