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Strategic Plan 2009-2014

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Strategic plans are opportunities for renewal and change.

The University of Kentucky's 2009-2014 Strategic Plan renews this institution's faithfulness to the original ideals that gave rise to America's land-grant universities. Threaded through this document is a ceaseless and undaunted commitment to the individual success of students; to research that both stretches the bounds of knowledge and provides practical solutions; and to the provision of extension services, health care, creative experiences, life-long learning, and countless other efforts to improve the lives of Kentuckians whereever they live and work and raise their families.

Standing at the threshold of a new decade full of change and promise, the University seeks again to translate its traditional mission into sensible answers to new realities. This institution constitutes the leading edge of Kentucky's efforts to improve the conditions of Kentucky's people and build a future that provides economic security and personal fulfillment. This Plan responds to that challenge by setting a path that is marked by ambitious goals across the areas that define the character of this institution and its responsibilities to the state it serves.

In 1997, the Commonwealth placed in statute the recognition that there is a strong symbiotic relationship between a state’' condition and its intellectual capital. That capital is most readily available at land-grant, research universities. Strong institutions matter because people in states that are home to leading research universities enjoy higher educational attainment and higher incomes, are less likely to live in poverty, and are more likely to lead healthier lives.

The unique role of this University in the lives of Kentucky's people and the lifeblood of Kentucky's communities summons the institution not to react to an uncertain future, but to master it. This challenge is welcomed with an uncompromising commitment to mission and mandate and firm devotion to improving conditions.

The 2006-2009 Strategic Plan guided the University toward substantial achievement even in difficult moments. But the new challenges of a new decade require not the seductive pride that allows rest from past accomplishment, but a constant energy and fierce determination to achieve even greater excellence.

At the direction of President Lee T. Todd, Jr. and under the leadership of Provost Kumble Subbaswamy, the Deans' Council and the University Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities led the crafting of this Strategic Plan for 2009-14. The five goals of this Strategic Plan identify the principal areas of activity in which the talents and resources of the University will be invested over the next five years. Under each goal are several objectives, strategies, and metrics that make specific the intentions of the University of Kentucky.

Goal 1: Prepare Students for Leading Roles in an Innovation-driven Economy and Global Society

A university's chief responsibilities are to provide its students with knowledge about the human and natural worlds, train them to organize that knowledge, and teach them to express and apply that knowledge effectively. These pursuits carry with them civic and economic dimensions that are intertwined. Students will be challenged to become active members of their communities, welcoming different points of view and systems of belief while examining and refining their own. They must develop the skills they will need to become productive members of an increasingly educated work force. In a world where jobs and knowledge flow freely across economic sectors and national boundaries, the success of University of Kentucky graduates demands an education that prepares them to participate effectively in an increasingly interdependent global economy and society.

This University is among the handful of American higher education institutions that offer on one campus a full range of academic programs and colleges, including the full spectrum of health science colleges. It must take full advantage of connections across academic programs at all levels of study to encourage international experiences that broaden perspectives, emphasize interdisciplinary and inter-professional training, and inspire student partnerships with faculty to explore knowledge at the fluid borders of academic disciplines. The University must cultivate and celebrate success in the classroom, the laboratory, the performance stage or gallery, the extension office, and the clinic with equal vigor.

  • Strategy 1.1.1 – Implement or enhance academic programs that target high ability students.
  • Strategy 1.1.2 – Review, revise, and refine University and college-level merit- and need-based financial aid strategies to increase yield and enhance diversity.
  • Strategy 1.1.3 – Enhance marketing and communication efforts statewide and in strategic out-of-state and international target areas.
  • Strategy 1.2.1 – Increase faculty numbers to improve student-to-faculty ratio and academic program quality; establish an academic staffing model based on national best practices with an optimal mix of teaching assistants and full-time faculty, including clinicians and lecturers.
  • Strategy 1.2.2 – Continue and expand current programs aimed at improving undergraduate student success in the first two years (where attrition is highest), and implement a rigorous and on-going assessment of program effectiveness across curricular and co-curricular programs.
  • Strategy 1.2.3 – Expand efforts to monitor student progress toward degree completion and implement a robust set of intervention and support strategies.
  • Strategy 1.3.1 – Revise and implement a new undergraduate General Education Curriculum that addresses well-articulated learning outcomes.
  • Strategy 1.3.2 – Expand opportunities for interdisciplinary and inter-professional learning and training; create appropriate space and facilities.
  • Strategy 1.3.3 – Expand instructional development opportunities for innovative pedagogies that focus on active learning, effective use of technology, and assessment; implement research-based curricular enhancements to facilitate continuous improvement in student learning.
  • Strategy 1.3.4 – Extend opportunities for high-impact academic and cultural activities for students at all levels; develop cohesion between the curricular, co-curricular, and community service activities, particularly with regard to leadership, internationalization, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Strategy 1.4.1 – Maximize access to University courses and programs through efficient and innovative use of space and technology.
  • Strategy 1.4.2 – Expand academic and clinical space through relocation of ancillary functions and construction of new academic buildings.
  • Strategy 1.4.3 – Provide training opportunities for graduate and professional students to serve the needs of the Commonwealth and beyond, through research, teaching, and clinical or professional expertise.
  • Strategy 1.4.4 – Develop and implement new programs and strategies to increase student enrollment and diversity, including efforts related to transfer student, non-traditional student, and military veteran enrollment, as appropriate, and pipeline initiatives with middle and high school students and their teachers.
  • Strategy 1.4.5 – Continue to enhance recruitment of majors in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and provide professional development programs for P-12 math and science teachers in order to create more math and science capacity.

Goal 2: Promote Research and Creative Work to Increase the Intellectual, Social, and Economic Capital of Kentucky and the World beyond Its Borders

As Kentucky's land-grant research university, the University of Kentucky pursues with equal vigor the dual purposes of research: the expansion of the body of knowledge and the translation of basic research into practical innovations for the people of Kentucky and those beyond the state's borders. All missions of the University are infused with and benefit from this dedication to the creation and application of new knowledge. While scholarship often has an immediate impact, experience teaches that the benefit of research and creative work is not always instant or predictable. This University must be Kentucky's most celebrated locale where creative work can be pursued purely for the advancement of knowledge and enlightenment. This is the true meaning of intellectual capital.

Research and creative activity in the 21st Century has been re-invented as a thoroughly interdisciplinary and collaborative pursuit, employing theoretical and clinical constructs, analytical tools, and laboratory techniques scarcely imaginable a few decades ago. UK has made significant advances in its research and creative activities in recent years and enthusiastically embraces the challenge of substantially increasing the volume and the quality of those efforts in the next decade.

  • Strategy 2.1.1 – Reduce barriers to and facilitate interdisciplinary research and collaborative scholarship, including scholarly projects that encompass national and international partnerships.
  • Strategy 2.1.2 – Target institutional investment to research areas of current strength and emerging importance (such as energy, environmental sustainability, clinical translational science and life sciences, combating social ills, and world studies).
  • Strategy 2.1.3 – Grow traditional sources of extramural research support and identify and cultivate new sources.
  • Strategy 2.2.1 – Aggressively pursue private funding for construction and renovation of research space and seek legislative approval for UK bonding authority.
  • Strategy 2.2.2 – Add faculty positions in targeted and emerging areas.
  • Strategy 2.2.3 – Develop and implement effective campus-wide policies for allocation of existing space based on strategic need and scholarly productivity.
  • Strategy 2.2.4 – Make better use of specialized equipment and resources at existing institutional, regional, and national facilities.
  • Strategy 2.2.5 – Ensure that the levels of administrative and support services are sufficient to meet the needs of a growing research enterprise.
  • Strategy 2.2.6 – Aggressively pursue the location of a national research center at UK.
  • Strategy 2.3.1 – Strengthen public relations programming to communicate more effectively the impact of research and scholarly accomplishments.
  • Strategy 2.3.2 – Streamline and improve intellectual property development and technology transfer processes.
  • Strategy 2.3.3 – Develop and institute an "innovation leave" program to facilitate faculty efforts to effectively commercialize their discoveries.
  • Strategy 2.3.4 – Integrate research and teaching more fully by increasing research opportunities for students at all levels.
  • Strategy 2.3.5 – Track over time improvements in the health of Kentuckians, the environment, literacy rates, cultural enrichment, agricultural productivity, and similar metrics.
  • Strategy 2.3.6 – Track and publicize technology transfer and commercialization efforts (e.g., number of start-up companies, number of royalty-bearing licenses, and licensing income).

Goal 3: Develop the Human and Physical Resources of the University to Achieve the Institution's Top 20 Goals

A university is only as strong as the people who populate it and the tools – both physical and professional – they are given to work effectively. The strength of the University of Kentucky and its capacity to achieve the goal of Top 20 status is defined by the faculty and staff who give the institution its personality and its vibrancy.

The University is committed to recruiting and retaining a talented and committed cadre of faculty and staff. Professionals of exceptional ability and the capacity for growth should be the hallmark of every department and every unit, regardless of mission or portfolio.

The University's effort to attract talent will know no boundary, consistently reaching out to every sector of the mosaic that defines humanity. The University will welcome people of talent and commitment regardless of gender or race or background or belief to ensure that the embrace of diversity permeates every classroom, laboratory, and auxiliary facility.

The University is equally committed to providing every opportunity to its populace to make fuller each employee's personal and professional self and their capacity for contribution to the work of the institution. The University is dedicated to creating and sustaining a work environment that positions faculty and staff for success.

And the University will work diligently to provide to faculty, staff, and students the infrastructure necessary for individual and collective advance. Excellence in the provision of information technology, library resources, and facilities is central to University operations, recognizing that human talent flourishes most readily in facilities where the most effective tools exist. Of equal importance is the call to be an exemplar in the application of sustainability principles and practices and establish an institutional culture of sustainability.

  • Strategy 3.1.1 – Ensure starting salaries and start-up support are nationally competitive.
  • Strategy 3.1.2 – Assist chairs/directors and search committees in attracting the best candidates in the country for success in the recruitment of a high-caliber and diverse faculty and professional staff.
  • Strategy 3.1.3 – Utilize endowed chairs and professorships strategically to recruit leadership level faculty and professional staff in targeted areas.
  • Strategy 3.2.1 – Ensure that faculty and professional staff work allocation and advancement policies and practices, including those pertaining to compensation, are fair, transparent, and clearly communicated, and that they reflect best practices among top public research universities.
  • Strategy 3.2.2 – Support, recognize, reward, and celebrate faculty and professional staff achievement in all areas.
  • Strategy 3.2.3 – Design and implement a research-based program to improve career advancement support and opportunities for faculty and professional staff at all stages of their careers.
  • Strategy 3.2.4 – Identify and develop faculty and professional staff leaders.
  • Strategy 3.3.1 – Reinforce values and practices necessary to foster a culture of respect, learning, innovation, efficiency, and service to support students, colleagues, and customers.
  • Strategy 3.3.2 – Improve performance management to motivate and challenge employees to excel in support of University and department goals; link achievement to recognition, rewards, and compensation; and enhance communication at all levels.
  • Strategy 3.3.3 – Enhance resources to provide opportunities for advancement and development that serve both the individual and the organization.
  • Strategy 3.3.4 – Develop and implement programs to increase leadership capacity, knowledge, skills, and abilities that enhance competence and accountability.
  • Strategy 3.3.5 – Develop and implement work-life practices and policies to promote a healthy, productive, and safe work environment.
  • Strategy 3.4.1 – Improve the Office of Human Resources position as a strategic partner for human capital management and business decisions.
  • Strategy 3.4.2 – Enhance the University's "employment brand" and core messaging to complement and reinforce strategic goals, values, and mission.
  • Strategy 3.4.3 – Sustain continuous progress in employment of women and all minorities at all levels of the University.
  • Strategy 3.4.4 – Strengthen market competitive compensation and benefits to attract, retain, and reward top talent and high performers.
  • Strategy 3.4.5 – Introduce, enhance, and support a comprehensive orientation experience to ensure a successful start for newly hired employees.
  • Strategy 3.5.1 – Establish and improve robust partnerships between Information Technology and campus constituencies.
  • Strategy 3.5.2 – Build a sustainable funding model for developing information technology resources.
  • Strategy 3.5.3 – Leverage the University's Enterprise Resource Planning system (IRIS) to simplify and improve key University business processes and help improve unit productivity and accountability.
  • Strategy 3.5.4 – Provide superior analytic and business intelligence infrastructure and end-user tools that improve decision-making processes.
  • Strategy 3.6.1 – Add library faculty and staff to support student success through activities such as training in information literacy, extension of library hours of service, and engagement with faculty in incorporating library resources in classroom experiences.
  • Strategy 3.7.1 – Complete capital projects currently under way (the new Pharmacy Building, including fit-up of the top two floors; the Digital Village II building; and Phase 1A of the new Patient Care Facility).
  • Strategy 3.7.2 – Construct new residence halls through private partnership.
  • Strategy 3.7.3 – Seek funding for the top new construction priorities of the University (Business, Law, and Science Research buildings and library auxiliary storage facility); seek funding for renovation of vacated buildings.
  • Strategy 3.8.1 – Continue classroom and research laboratory renovations and upgrades and modernization of residence halls.
  • Strategy 3.8.2 – Complete the first phase of building modifications utilizing the Energy Savings Company contract methodology, yielding energy reductions and upgrades of building infrastructures.
  • Strategy 3.8.3 – Develop office space design guidelines and apply them to future University construction projects.
  • Strategy 3.8.4 – Implement a more collaborative process for building class and classroom schedules to improve efficiency of classroom utilization.
  • Strategy 3.8.5 – Upgrade accessibility to campus facilities for those with mobility limitations.
  • Strategy 3.8.6 – Establish programs to further synergies and sustainable practices in the areas of facilities planning and development.

Goal 4: Promote Diversity and Inclusion

It is a straightforward and important fact of life that diversity is one of the strengths of American society. Participation in diverse families, workplaces, schools, and communities is the norm and not the exception. From such participation emanates a realization of both similar and distinct approaches to dealing with human situations and solving problems and a better understanding of human concerns and interactions. This better understanding leads to more sound decisions about ways to improve the quality of human engagement and what people do and experience. The University of Kentucky will prepare students for meaningful and responsible engagement within and across diverse communities. Through its own example and engagement, the University will improve the climate for diversity throughout Kentucky, a commitment given special importance and emphasis by shared history. The composite effect of work with students in classrooms, residence halls, offices, laboratories, clinics, libraries, and public places should enable them to develop a more enlightened worldview; attain a deeper understanding of and commitment to authentic democratic values and social justice; embrace a greater commitment to service and leadership for the common good; exhibit greater cultural knowledge and competence; and play a personal role in Kentucky's success in the global economy.

Embracing and nurturing diversity is the responsibility of every member of the University community. It must be clear and convincingly evident that diversity is an essential value that informs every area and aspect of the University community. A genuine commitment to diversity as a core value establishes and sustains an inclusive and celebratory view of diversity as a systemic influence on the conduct of students, faculty, and staff and as members of society. As such, the goal of diversity is inherent in all of the University's strategic goals.

  • Strategy 4.1.1 – Establish a common understanding of diversity and inclusion.
  • Strategy 4.1.2 – Adopt an organizational structure that makes explicit the shared responsibility of the entire community for inclusive excellence.
  • Strategy 4.1.3 – Develop an evaluation strategy for assessing the University's progress in achieving greater diversity and inclusion in all its endeavors.
  • Strategy 4.2.1 – Develop a coherent and focused University- and unit-level implementation strategy for achieving greater diversity and inclusion in curricular and co-curricular activities.
  • Strategy 4.2.2 – Establish clearly defined expectations, incentives, interventions, and accountability measures as key components of the diversity and inclusion strategy.
  • Strategy 4.3.1 – Establish a plan for better internal and external communication with respect to the University's diversity efforts.
  • Strategy 4.3.2 – Develop partnerships with local, regional, and statewide organizations that promote inclusion and academic excellence.

Goal 5: Improve the Quality of Life of Kentuckians through Engagement, Outreach, and Service

Outreach has been the historic hallmark of public universities, particularly those with dual roles as flagship and land-grant. The University of Kentucky fully and enthusiastically embraces its outreach responsibilities and its potential for improving lives across Kentucky. As an engaged 21st Century postsecondary institution, the University is committed to sharing human, intellectual, and material resources with the larger community for the benefit of both.

The University will conduct outreach and engagement proactively, making the institution a strategic resource of the Commonwealth by strengthening communities; advancing schools; recruiting and creating businesses; fighting disease; and improving and enriching lives. The University will partner respectfully and responsively, ready always to combine community and University expertise in seeking practical solutions. While the primary ground for UK's engagement is Kentucky, the institution's involvement extends to the region, the nation, and the world.

  • Strategy 5.1.1 – Develop a common understanding of engagement and its relationship to teaching, research, and outreach/service.
  • Strategy 5.1.2 – Evaluate and adopt in promotion and tenure regulations the best practices on assessing engaged scholarship.
  • Strategy 5.1.3 – Promote faculty and staff involvement in engaged research, application, outreach, and service.
  • Strategy 5.1.4 – Provide incentives for and recognitions of significant faculty and staff outreach and engagement activity.
  • Strategy 5.2.1 – Develop college, department, and unit mission statements that reflect linkages with their natural community constituencies and counterparts.
  • Strategy 5.2.2 – Implement a community query and response portal for accessing University expertise.
  • Strategy 5.2.3 – Create a University-wide marketing strategy to promote public awareness of the community query portal and University engagement, outreach, and community services.
  • Strategy 5.2.4 – Promote regional outreach and engagement partnerships.
  • Strategy 5.2.5 – Pursue significant research and application that improve the lives of Kentuckians, particularly when such research and application may have broader implications.
  • Strategy 5.3.1 – Increase local, state, federal, and philanthropic support to expand engagement activities.
  • Strategy 5.3.2 – Secure external recognition for engagement, outreach, and service initiatives.
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