I am pleased and proud to introduce this Mission Forward strategic plan, which is deeply rooted in
Northern State University’s history and has grown organically from previous plans and strategic priorities.
At the heart of this plan lie newly developed core values, updated vision and mission statements, and five
key strategic priorities. It represents a truly collaborative effort.
The values, vision, mission, and key strategies resulting from this process were shared and revised based
on feedback from the University’s key stakeholders: faculty, staff, students, the community, and alumni.
It also embodies a thoroughly practical, in-depth assessment of the world of adult higher education —
now and in the future. The strategic planning process included extensive analyses of data on the distance
education market, our competition, and the changing environment in which we operate.
While this final document is the result of a great deal of care and forethought, it must be noted that
we have developed this plan with a sense of urgency. If Northern State University is to continue to be a
major provider of multi-faceted educational delivery, including distance education, it needs to adapt to a
very dynamic and international marketplace.
We will monitor progress using measurement matrices for the University. Only by being constantly
vigilant and making difficult decisions among competing priorities will we be able to achieve our key
strategic priorities. I believe this strategic plan will not only stand as a significant first step toward
achieving those strategies, but as a roadmap to guide this remarkable university toward the next century.
James Smith, PhD.
MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT JAMES SMITH