Continuity of Operations

Continuity is a collective process to continue the institution’s mission.  Continuity is the continuous performance of our organization’s essential functions during a disruption.  Continuity is NOT guaranteed…it is an ongoing process that requires senior leader commitment.

The Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) describes the processes UMBC uses to identify essential functions and the actions we take to ensure their continuous performance during periods of disruption.  The COOP is the continuity plan for the University.  It instructs each College, Division, and subordinate unit on the process for identifying essential functions.  Resources:

Continuity of Operations requires institutional and organizational planning.  Business Continuity is a method of documenting your individual responsibilities.

  • Business Process Analysis (BPA) WorksheetJune 2023 – us this tool to detail your work functions; your primary day-to-day activities that may or may not be essential for Continuity of Operations.
  • Verify that what you believe matches what actually happens and validate your institutional knowledge.
  • Utilize job descriptions, performance reviews, and policy or regulations.

Essential Functions are the building blocks of continuity.  Each level is supported by the functions below.  The Maryland COOP Guide for State Agencies describes State Essential Functions.  The University System of Maryland (USM) may develop Institutional Essential Functions (IEFs).  UMBC’s essential functions align with these and include:

  • University Essential Functions (UEFs)
  • Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs)
  • Mission Essential Functions (MEFs)
  • Essential Supporting Activities (ESAs) and Mission Enhancing Activities (MEAs)

University Essential Functions (UEFs) form the basis for all continuity decisions.  They are the responsibilities of the University necessary to sustain our mission.

  • Primary focus of the President and senior leaders before, during and after disruptions.
  • UMBC must successfully maintain UEFs at all times, and especially during emergencies.
  • The objective of each College and Division is the continuation of our five UEFs.


Academics.  Provide a strong undergraduate liberal arts foundation that prepares students for graduate and professional study, entry into the workforce, and community service and leadership.


Student Safety, Health, and Well-Being.  Consistently develop, deliver, and maintain services, programs, and facilities in a manner that establishes the emotional and physical safety of the University community as our most imperative concern.


Research and Creative Achievement.  Provide a dynamic public research environment that integrates teaching, research, and service to benefit the citizens of Maryland.


Operations and Administration.  Contribute to the economic development of the State and the region through entrepreneurial initiatives, workforce training, K-16 partnerships, and technology commercialization in collaboration with public agencies and the corporate community.


Events and Community Engagement.  Enable an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement.  Provide and co-create programs, services, systems, facilities, and environments that foster learning and personal development.

Each College and Division has its own Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs).  They are services that directly support continuation of one or more UEF.

  • PMEFs must remain continuous OR resumed within 12 hours after disruption.
  • PMEFs must be maintained up to 30 days during disruption OR until normal operations resume.

Each school and office in a College or Division has its own Mission Essential Functions (MEFs).  These are services that directly support continued performance of one or more PMEF.

  • MEFs are a limited set of office-level functions that provide vital services to our community.
  • Departments must continue their MEFs throughout a disruption, or resume rapidly after a disruption.

Essential Supporting Activities (ESAs) are functions that support the performance of MEFs.  MEFs may be supported by multiple ESAs. 

  • ESAs may have a mandate, policy, regulation, or legal requirement.
  • ESAs are important activities…however, performance of ESAs alone does not accomplish your mission.
  • ESAs must remain aligned to a single MEF, though different MEFs may have similar ESAs.

Mission Enhancing Activities (MEAs) compliment a MEF or an ESA.  They are products of best practices, established customs or traditions, or industry recommendations.

  • MEAs DO NOT have a mandate, policy, regulation, or legal requirement.
  • Expect to defer MEAs during a disruption and communicate this expectation to your partners, customers, and stakeholders.

There are 4 Phases of Continuity Planning:  Phase 1:  identify your organizational work functions.  Phase 2:  conduct a Business Process Analysis (BPA).  Phase 3:  conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA).  Phase 4: prioritize and document essential functions.

The first step in continuity planning is to identify your organizational work functions.  Use the links below to access your College or Division’s continuity survey.  Each survey allows a department to develop an inventory of all it’s work functions.  Survey questions allow staff to describe their primary day-to-day work functions in basic terms.  These are activities that are central to the performance of their job requirements.  Staff responses are captured in an online spreadsheet.  Leaders review and validate responses to identify gaps, expand on unique activities, and identify interdependencies that link functions together.  This creates “buckets” based on common themes, and we use these buckets to develop Mission Essential Functions (MEFs).

A Business Process Analysis (BPA) is a systematic method of examining, identifying, and mapping the functions needed to perform each Mission Essential Functions (MEF).  This identifies gaps in your department’s inventory of organizational work functions from Phase 1 and details areas where multiple offices share responsibilities.

A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is used to identify and quantify the impacts from disruptions.  Use the information derived during your Business Process Analysis (BPA) to inform your BIA.

  • Business Impact Analysis (BIA) WorksheetComing Soon

Each College and Division can maintain an individualized Department Emergency Action Plan for continuity.  Subordinate units within the College or Division may also have a continuity plan.  The plan for a College or Division describes its own PMEFs and lists each subordinate unit that has its own plan.

  • Department Emergency Action Plans – Coming Soon