Upon graduation in 2025, members of today’s freshman class will celebrate their personal achievements as well at the University of Miami’s as it marks its centennial.
During the next four years, the university will have implemented many of President Julio Frenk’s goals to increase UM’s local and global stature and influence as a major private institution of higher learning.
In his 2016 inaugural presidential address, “Roadmap to Our New Century,” President Julio Frenk outlined a strategic, multi-faceted plan to advance UM’s influence and impact on a local, national and global scale by its 2025 centennial.
“The University of Miami can be a beacon of resilience, demonstrating that knowledge is the best instrument for facing adversity, and that school spirit is a form of strength,” Frenk said. “The University of Miami can be a model of renewal, redefining the global agenda and leading the way in the hemisphere, in the laboratory, in the classroom, on the playing fields and in service to society.”
After two years of planning, the roadmap was implemented in June 2018. The initiatives are categorized into four “aspirations” the university seeks to fulfill within the next four years: the hemispheric university, the excellent university, the relevant university and the exemplary university.
There are a number of priorities within the four categories that specifically detail the goals outlined in the roadmap, including establishing administrative excellence, a preeminent academic health system, mission-driven research, education for life and hemispheric leadership.
The roadmap was designed to revolutionize the academic life and culture at the University of Miami from faculty members to students.
It strives to create a culture of belonging for students, where respect, diversity and tolerance are core values. It aims to take advantage of Miami’s place as the gateway to the Americas by connecting the UM community with various cultures and ideas from around the globe. It aims to foster excellence in every academic field and endeavor, while expanding educational opportunities to deserving students.
Some of the roadmap’s most immediate effects have come from the Housing Facilities Strategic Plan, which completed its first of three phases of work with the opening of the Lakeside Village in August 2020.
Lakeside Village is located on the southern end of Lake Osceola and was built to maintain the current number of bed spaces for students while other construction and renovation projects occur on campus.
The futuristic student-housing complex features a variety of amenities that dramatically enhance the on-campus experience at UM, including study lounges, an auditorium and exhibition center, an outdoor fitness circuit, a sand volleyball court, a rock-climbing wall and an outdoor recreation center. The building also houses a Smoothie King location and Daybreak – an all-day waffle-themed breakfast restaurant.
“This project puts a stake in the ground for the University’s future,” Jessica Brumley, vice president for facilities operations and planning, said.
The university will now advance to its second phase of housing renovation: the construction of the Centennial Village, which includes the replacement of the Stanford and Hecht residential colleges and a massive makeover of Eaton Residential College.
Once open to the university community, Centennial Village will place a significant emphasis on the educational needs of UM students by providing an array of academic resources, including classrooms, conference and seminar rooms, a learning hub and a meditation room.
The third and final phase of the Housing Facilities Strategic Plan includes the modernization of the Mahoney and Pearson residential colleges, located on the eastern side of campus by the university entrance.
In addition to updating dorm utilities, first-floor living spaces will be converted into a common area to support recreational activities, the current semi-suites of the two buildings will be updated to full suites and more suites will be added to include single and double rooms.
Up until 2020, UM was following the roadmap with clear, calculated and focused efforts, but when the pandemic struck in March, its timeline was put into question as the world adapted to a new normal.
President Frenk maintains that the pandemic has only advanced the university’s interests and brought them closer to the goals they aspire to accomplish.
“The pandemic has been not so much an agent of change as an accelerator of change. In some areas of endeavor, including remote learning, telehealth, and telework, we have seen more progress in the past year than we had in the prior decade,” Frenk said. “We have witnessed – and will continue to embrace – not only our resiliency in the face of challenges, but our ability to truly transform the way we think and interact.”
With momentum gained over the last year, the university said it will not only be able to meet the goals established under the roadmap, but do so amid the most difficult of challenges and lay the foundation for a better U into the next century.
“In many ways, we have used the pandemic to really accelerate some of the things we were contemplating. We are seeing the evolution of a new north star—a new direction on the horizon,” Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and university provost, said. “The roadmap is sufficiently prescient to anticipate the world would change and has allowed us to be responsive and align us with the new course we need to be on.”