Strategic Plan

Update on the Process

Dean Daubert’s Address to CAFNR Faculty and Staff
Thursday, September 20, 2018


We are so glad you are here today! Before I get in to the specifics of our Strategic Plan, I just have to say one thing: THANK YOU! Thank you for being here today, thank you for being willing to be part of our strategic planning process and help us in our DRIVE TO DISTINCTION, and thank you for all you do for CAFNR, every day. CAFNR is special. We all know this! And our strategic plan has helped us figure out what makes us so special and unique and how we can celebrate what makes us exceptional and show others what sets us apart.


Increased competition and environmental and sociologic trends requires that CAFNR’s division work together to be distinct and address pressing/relevant issues facing the industry and the world.

When I arrived at CAFNR I began listening. Listening to our students, alumni, faculty, staff, community members. What I quickly learned is that CAFNR has never had a strategic plan or gone through the strategic planning process. From my experience at my previous institution I knew the value of strategic planning, and I came to CAFNR knowing that in order to be distinct it was critical to establish a strong strategic vision.

Over the past year, we have been strategic planning. This process is critical for our college for many reasons. The future will be largely impacted by fast changing environmental, economic, technologic and sociologic forces. Some examples of these include meeting challenges due to climate change, demands in food supply, advancements in precision agriculture, and improved health and wellness of plants, animals and humans.

These forces are only compounded by the evolving communication, education and work methodologies. All of this has implications on the type of research we do and jobs we need to prepare our students for and how we effectively connect with our community. As a land grant, we take our mission to support Missourians seriously. We want to ensure that we are not only providing the best and most relevant education and resources we can for our community, but also delivering it in a way that is convenient and easy to access.

To solve these significant challenges CAFNR must look to collaborate, both within our own college with other colleges at MU and even beyond our campus to other schools in Missouri, the country and the world. Collaboration with industry is also important. We are fortunate that here in Missouri we have not only a very strong agricultural industry but we are also home to financial and healthcare industries. This provides us a huge opportunity to plug in and collaborate to spearhead initiatives like One Health that looks at how animal, environmental, and human health are all tied together.

As a college, CAFNR’s six divisions need to work in a coordinated effort to meet these challenges. The strategic planning process and our strategic plan will help us do just that. It will be a north star to help us make decisions that move us further towards achieving our strategic priorities. This plan or roadmap will help us on our drive to distinction and set us apart from our regional, national and international peers. It also creates a defined vision of where we are going, and how specifically we will be distinct.


Our planning process has been exhaustive and considered the voices and opinions of all of our stakeholders across the state of Missouri.

The planning process has been exhaustive, employing a three phased approach. It began last November and will conclude in December. Along the way, we have been working with our partners at PulsePoint Group to bring together a vast amount of information from internal and external stakeholders, through workshops, focus groups, interviews, surveys and digital listening.

An overview of the process is as follows:

  • Phase I: Discovery& Analysis: 2 Leadership Workshops
    • Discovery phase began with an exploration of CAFNR’s strength’s, opportunities, threat and weaknesses.
    • Hosting focus groups and interviews across the state of Missouri with over 200 unique stakeholders. We engaged current students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff, alumni, industry partners, and state legislators.
    • An audit of CAFNR’s current communications materials including the website, brochures, and other marketing materials.
    • Reviewed over 29 peer school strategic plans
  • Phase II Testing & Refining the Strategic Plan
    • Developed a revised positioning for CAFNR and preliminary strategic priorities
    • A large-scale quantitative research study that connected with 1335, students, faculty and staff, alumni, and external stakeholders to test the proposed positioning and strategic priorities.
  • Phase III: Writing, Communications Plan, & Launch
    • Revised the positioning, mission, vision and strategic priorities based on feedback from the quantitative study.
    • Selected Strategic Priority Champions to lead the development of Goals and activities under each Strategic Priority
    • Each Champion selected a team of faculty and staff to help them develop the goals and activities
    • We are developing a communications plan for the launch of the strategic plan
    • We are currently working to develop a Strategic Plan anthem video
  • Throughout the entire process
    • Conducted digital listening on a quarterly basis to help us mine for Big Ideas.
    • Engaged division directors and created a Guiding Coalition with representatives from our faculty, staff, and student body to provide input into the process.
    • Updated website content on the strategic planning process.
    • Solicited feedback from stakeholders across our community


Through our research, we have crafted a vision for CAFNR that imagines a healthy world shaped by a healthy environment, food systems, economies and societies.

A foundational element of the Strategic Plan and strategic planning is defining a clear mission and vision. This vision and mission guide the language, tone, goals, activities and metrics for each Strategic Priority. For a unifying theme, we chose the idea of “Healthy.” As a college of agriculture, food and natural resources we have an ability to impact many elements of a healthy world, including a healthy environment, food systems, economies and societies.

We imagine a healthy world. This world is shaped by a healthy environment, healthy food systems, healthy economies, and healthy societies. The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ (CAFNR) philosophy of food for life cultivates this world through innovation and transformational experiences.


To strive toward a healthy world, we are dedicated to…

Preparing students for a complex, inter-connected world.
To thrive in tomorrow’s society, students must be adaptable learners and informed citizens to make purposeful contributions in the world. CAFNR provides these opportunities through exceptional experiential and practical learning experiences based on cutting-edge science and understanding people and community.

Discovering and disseminating new knowledge.
Through research and scholarly endeavors, CAFNR discovers and disseminates new knowledge, scientific information and innovations through both traditional and contemporary approaches to reach the broadest audiences.

Developing human and community potential.
CAFNR’s ultimate vision is to create a healthy world including improving socioeconomic status, self-esteem, well-being and leadership abilities. We are dedicated to providing educational opportunities and science-based information to the public to meet grand challenges. CAFNR’s programs examine how present and future research, education and public policy in agriculture and natural resources affect individuals and their communities.

Enhancing the sustainable use of agriculture and natural resources.
Food, feed, fuel and fiber generation depend on the efficient and sustained use of soil, water and air. CAFNR improves the management and conservation of Missouri’s agricultural and natural resources that affect human welfare through education, research and service. We share best practices beyond our borders to create a healthy world.

Contributing to our land grant mission through entrepreneurial impact and economic development.
CAFNR’s programs teach, partner and empower Missouri’s citizens how technology and thinking bring value-added products and services that increase the market value of food, feed, fuel and fiber products.


Our Strategic Priorities are the foundation for Strategic Plan and define our focus areas over the next six years.

As a team that included myself, the Division Directors and the Guiding Coalition we created six key strategic priorities that will be the foundation of our plan:

  • Ensuring Student Success
    • Champion: Sheri Freyermuth
  •  Advancing Research and Innovation
    • Champion: Tom Spencer
  • Promoting Leadership
    • Champion: Joe Parcell
  • Empowering Missourians
    • Champion: Tim Reinbott
  • Cultivating A Diverse and Inclusive Community
    • Champion: Debbie Finke
  • Acknowledging Global Citizenship
    • Champion: Ken Schneeberger


Our Programs of Distinction stand beside our Strategic Priorities and are our existing and future CAFNR programs that set us a part of our peers and demonstrate our excellence.

Programs of Distinction are a defining element of what currently and will continue to make CAFNR distinct. These programs are the areas where CAFNR excels and stands out from its peers. These programs will stand next to our Strategic Priorities to make up our final Strategic Plan. We are currently in the process of developing the criteria for the Programs of Distinction. When it is completed programs across CAFNR will be invited to apply.


As we launch the plan we need your help getting the word out!

So, what’s next? We need your help to start promoting our new Strategic Plan. The plan will be finalized at the end of the year and launched in the beginning of next year. As we build up to the launch we want to continue to hear your ideas. This plan is for everyone who is a part of CAFNR’s community: students, faculty, staff, alumni, industry partners and community members.