Assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion Stephanie Chang announced a new belonging and community survey during Wednesday’s University Senate meeting.

University community members received an email with a link to complete the “Belonging and Community at UMD” survey, conducted by Rankin Climate, earlier on Wednesday.

The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and will be accessible in multiple languages, Dawn Culpepper, director of this university’s ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence, told the senate. It will be available online all month, but community members can also choose to take the survey in person at various locations across campus on April 10 and April 11.

The goal of the survey is to measure if students, staff and faculty feel like they belong at this university, according to the president’s office. Rankin Climate will analyze the data collected and write a report on the survey’s findings. Results will be reported this fall and “inform the creation of an action plan designed to improve belonging.”

The survey will include questions about demographic information, personal experiences and perceptions of campus climate. Participants’ identities will remain confidential, Culpepper said.

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The senate also heard an update from libraries dean Adriene Lim and digital services and technologies associate dean David Dahl about upcoming library system changes.

The university libraries have used Aleph, their current system, for more than 20 years. This system is outdated and is no longer being developed, according to the presentation.

The libraries will roll out new systems in May.

“This is a once-in-a-generation change for the libraries to make,” Dahl said. “It’s grounded in necessity and an investment in the future opportunities for us.”

The new systems, Alma and Primo from Ex Libris, will have a modern interface designed for mobile devices. The update will better users’ experience and save them time, Dahl and Lim said. The programs will also feature a personalized search experience, according to the presentation.

The systems will go live on May 23 between the spring semester and the first summer term, the presenters said.

The shift will lead to some disruptions for library users in the coming months. April 1 was the last day for the libraries to purchase or license new materials for users until July 1. Some people may experience data freezes, the presentation said. Certain library services will be disrupted starting May 17.

When the new library system goes live on May 23, McKeldin Library will be closed so library staff can finalize implementation and complete training before summer session, Lim told the senate.

“Library staff and librarians have been working really hard since last year, and especially now as we prepare for it and configure it and test the new systems so that we can go live,” Lim said.

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Senior vice president and provost Jennifer King Rice also updated the senate on this university’s strategic plan.

The plan’s four pillars are reimagining learning, taking on humanity’s grand challenges, investing in people and communities and partnering to advance the public good, according to this university’s strategic plan website.

Through grants and collaboration, this university is advancing the plan’s priorities and values, Rice said. In 2023, this university invested $1.3 million in teaching innovation grants for 24 projects and more than 70 courses — emphasizing a focus on the intersection of education and technology, Rice said.

“We wanted to support efforts to effectively integrate technology throughout our curriculum in responsible ways and also prepare our students to be successful in our technology-rich world,” Rice said.

The strategic plan also emphasizes support for students and staff, Rice said. She highlighted that the university has invested more than $40 million in increasing faculty diversity and recently increased student access to mental health services through remote therapy.

The university and the counseling center are also piloting an embedded counselor program in which mental health support for students is located within their colleges, she said.

Over the next year, some strategic plan priorities will be centered around campuswide mental health and increasing community engagement, Rice said.

“Part of our mission in higher education is to invest in people and communities,” Rice said.