Why is UK developing a Strategic Plan now?

As part of its process to be an accredited institution (a requirement for UK to receive federal funding or financial aid), the University of Kentucky must develop and follow a strategic plan.

The institution's governing regulations also require that UK periodically goes through a strategic planning process. Our current strategic plan runs through June 2014.

 As importantly, a strategic plan offers an opportunity for the institution to reflect, take stock and think about where it is now in accomplishing its missions of education, research and service. And it offers the opportunity to think ambitiously about the future -- what progress in the future should look like and how it will be measured.

UK is now underway with the process to develop a new strategic plan to guide our efforts through 2020. To that end, the Board at its annual retreat in October strongly endorsed six guiding principles, around which the strategic plan will be organized and created:

  • Creating a vibrant undergraduate learning community
  • Advancing a high quality graduate and professional education portfolio
  • Cultivating a robust research environment
  • Developing a strong and sustainable UK infrastructure
  • Creating a positive work environment for faculty and staff
  • Having a meaningful impact on the Commonwealth and the community

More information about the guiding principles can be found here.


How were the planning committees selected?

Working groups have been organized around each of the six guiding principles.

Nominations were sought and received from throughout the campus. More than 230 people were nominated by about 80 different nominators. About 100 different people are serving on working groups and committees.

There also is a steering committee, composed of the President, Provost and senior leadership, along with the co-chairs of the work groups; an integration committee that will work throughout the process to ensure coordination among the work groups ; and a communications committee that is charged with keeping the campus informed and engaged throughout the process.


Who is on the planning committees?

There is faculty, staff and student representation on each of the planning committees and great care was taken to ensure gender and diversity balance on all the work groupsin order to reflect the values of the institution and its many stakeholders. Every college is represented in the process as well as UK Libraries. 


How will this plan be used?

A good strategic plan should be both aspirational and achievable. It should lay out ambitious goals and a vision for the institution's development over the next several years. At the same time, it should outline specific and measurable ways to gauge our progress and performance. President Capilouto and the Board of Trustees have laid out a broad vision for the institution -- to be the first choice for the best students -- at all levels -- in Kentucky and the region and to be a premier institution in the research it conducts and the service it provides. We want to be focused on Kentucky's challenges in ways that garner national attention and recognition. That's our vision. But every vision needs a plan -- a plan to guide our efforts as we move forward. That's the goal of "see tomorrow: The University of Kentucky Strategic Plan" -- to push the institution toward an ambitious agenda for the Commonwealth, while laying out specific markers of progress along the way.


What is happening to the existing UK strategic plan?

The current strategic plan -- along with other substantive planning documents -- has guided our institution's efforts for more than five years. Many of the goals were reached or surpassed. Others were not. In its totality, the plan -- along with those at other institutions -- is providing ample background for our working groups as they start to discuss how to move forward with the new strategic guide for our future.


How can colleges and units relate their unit’s plan to this one?

The goal with "see tomorrow" is to be framed and developed in such as way so that colleges and units across the campus can put together individual and customized strategic plans -- plans that accentuate what makes each college and unit distinctive, but at the same time, that fit within the context of the university's overarching goals and mission. The areas of emphasis for the university's strategic plan, for example, cover our core missions as an institution - education at all levels, research and service. And they reflect those aspects of university life critical to supporting and expanding those missions -- a positive, diverse and inclusive work/life experience and the appropriate infrastructure (from buildings to technology) to enhance our work together.


What is the timeline for the strategic plan process?

The first phase of the strategic plan process took place during the Fall 2013 semester and the start of the Spring 2014 semester.  At this time, –we are evaluating and defining the issues at hand.  Workgroups are identifying challenges and primary themes that will shape the strategic direction and content.  We are collecting data, benchmarking against other institutions, surveying stakeholders, bringing in outside speakers with different areas of expertise in higher education and developing different metrics to evaluate our progress.  In March and April 2014, we integrate the work of the various committees and begin drafting the strategic plan.  

The long-term implementation of the plan, however, is just as important. During the Spring 2014 semester, the campus community will discuss how best to ensure that this plan doesn't simply sit on a shelf with other well-intentioned documents. It must have both broad support and be ambitious and bold enough to attract long-term interest and buy-in going forward.


How can I get involved?

There are a number of ways to become involved in this important process. Throughout March and April, a series of open, "town halls" will begin, with the first two focusing on trends in higher education. Our hope is to answer questions and solicit feedback from the community. Through an ongoing speaker series featuring leading experts from our campus community and higher education nationally, the community will have additional opportunities to learn about the issues surrounding the strategic planning process. Check the speaker series page frequenly, as it will be continuously updated. And, finally, we encourage everyone to contact us with questions and feedback at