Strategic Plan

The strategic plan was built through a campus-wide, collaborative process that established a set of eight guiding priorities and measurable goals that, together, form the roadmap for the University of Arkansas’ future. With the mission of the U of A as a public land-grant institution of teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement at its core, the strategic planning process included input from all departments, many interdisciplinary programs and center, students, faculty and staff.

While the goals and actions included in the strategic plan are big picture, university-level items, every unit across the university will play a key role in implementing the actions aimed at reaching these overarching university goals and moving the overall university metrics presented in the plan. Fundamental university-level metrics will be developed and used along with a number of more distinct measurements to track the progress of the plan while ensuring alignment with the university’s mission.

Mission and Vision

The strategic plan puts into action the university’s mission and vision to establish a foundation from which to advance the university in all aspects, from student success to research, including its mission as a land-grant and flagship institution.

Advancing Student Success

Maximizing the success of students is our highest priority starting with their recruitment and ending with their transition to careers or further education. We will work to maximize the success of our students, with special attention to first-generation college-going Arkansans, by increasing financial assistance for those who need it, easing the transition into the university, improving retention and graduation rates, and providing career planning and career transition assistance.

Goal

Increase retention and graduation rates, post-graduation employment and graduate education enrollment rates.

Actions

  • Develop Student Success Center, open interim facility at Garland Center in 2018.
  • Restructure academic leadership for student success under the Provost's office and align campus and unit student success activities.
  • Implement Arkansas STEP (Student Talent Enrichment Program) to Success Initiative that includes financial assistance and peer mentoring and support.
  • Improve student success in key gateway courses.
  • Improve student access to health and wellness programs through Pat Walker Health Center and UA Cares to reduce the number of students dropping out for wellness-related issues.
  • Replace the undeclared major designation with a new “exploratory” pathway that includes specific instructional and advising activities to increase retention for undeclared students.
  • Expand testing services to accommodate students with disabilities.

Goal

Significantly increase recruitment and graduation rates of Arkansans, first generation students and several dimensions of diversity.

Actions

  • Implement and fund to $15 million the Advance Arkansas Scholarship to increase access for first generation, new, returning, and transfer students from Arkansas with financial need and a record of academic success.
  • Implement the Arkansas STEP to Success pilot program to improve retention for students through financial incentives, peer counseling and mentoring.

Goal

Increase the number of transfer students and ease their transitions from targeted institutions.

Actions

  • Develop more 2+2 transfer articulation agreements with community colleges across the state.

Metrics for Advancing Student Success

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Freshman retention rate.
  • Four and six year graduation rate – both absolute and expected.
  • Job and graduate school placement upon graduation.
  • Out-of-pocket costs for students.

Building a Collaborative and Innovative Campus

The University of Arkansas is a comprehensive, top-tier research university with many individual units and disciplines that contribute to teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement. As higher education becomes increasingly more interdisciplinary and collaborative, reflecting the world around us, we will foster a university environment that embraces collaboration and interdisciplinary pursuits to stimulate innovation in our approaches to teaching and learning.

Goal

Create a more collaborative and innovative culture on campus and improve efficiency and productivity in all aspects of the university’s mission.

Actions

  • Create a dashboard to track interdisciplinary work across campus.
  • Identify cross-disciplinary areas for investment based on current strengths of the university, the possibility for external resources, efficient use of current resources and the potential to be a national leader.
  • Invest in a collaborative and innovative curricular environment.
  • Ensure that policies and processes do not inhibit collaborative teaching and curriculum development.
  • Assess business processes and redesign those needed to improve efficiency and productivity to free up resources for allocation to other priorities.
  • Continue annual implementation of the Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration Fund competition and awards.

Metrics for Building a Collaborative and Innovative Campus

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Number of cross-college and cross-department academic programs.
  • Number of research grants with primary investigators from multiple departments or colleges.
  • COACHE survey data improvement on collaborative culture.
  • Number of collaborative publications and books in top journals and presses
  • Number of faculty participating in institutionally targeted collaborative research areas.
  • Total dollars awarded from external sponsors or donors arising from Chancellor’s Fund awards.

Enhancing our Research and Discovery Mission

The creation of new knowledge and creative activities is a defining feature of a research university. We will work to increase and enhance our research activity across the broad spectrum of areas that make up this comprehensive university and define signature areas where we can excel as an institution.

Goal

Foster new research collaborations that result in sustainable initiatives to increase research funding and expenditures, and other scholarly and creative activities.

Action

  • Continue annual implementation of the Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration Fund competition and awards.

Goal

Increase the impact of university research, scholarly and creative activities, including increasing sponsored research funding, publishing in top tier journals, creative works and national and international recognition.

Actions

  • Increase research proposal development support staff.
  • Expand use of data analytics to assess research performance of programs.
  • Assess structure, processes and policies of interdisciplinary research centers.
  • Assess needs for research space and plan for interdisciplinary research-oriented building.
  • Assess recovery and allocation of research infrastructure costs to optimize use of funds recovered from facility and administrative use.
  • Improve processes for alignment and prioritization of academic planning and academic space.
  • Develop integrated plan to grow cross-campus collaborative research in data analytics.

 Goal

Expand the culture of creativity on campus and across the region through expansion of the arts and be nationally recognized as a School of Art.

Actions

  • Secure private gift support for renovation of arts facilities.
  • Grow arts faculty and build cross-campus and off-campus collaborations.

Goal

Increase opportunities for technology transfer and commercialization to move intellectual property from the university to the marketplace.

Action

  • Assess current practices in technology transfer and commercialization.

Metrics for Enhancing our Research and Discovery Mission

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Externally sponsored funds for research, including recovery of facilities and administrative costs.
  • Scholarly productivity, indices/program ranking.
  • Patents and licenses.
  • Nationally recognized awards for research, scholarly and creative activities.
  • Proportion of faculty with external funding for research, scholarly and creative activities. 

Enriching Campus Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity should permeate the very fabric of the University of Arkansas to create an inclusive environment. We will therefore work to diversify along many dimensions our faculty, staff and students and at the same time continue to foster a culture that is welcoming to all.

Goal

Foster and grow the culture of inclusion and diversity on campus.

Actions

  • Hire a vice provost for diversity and inclusion.
  • Develop a campus-wide inclusion and diversity plan.
  • Increase enrollment of Arkansans to reflect state demographics.
  • Improve recruitment and retention of talented and diverse faculty.

Metrics for Enriching Campus Diversity and Inclusion

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Demographic data of faculty/staff/students and how it matches Arkansas’ demography.
  • Results in campus climate and COACHE survey on inclusivity, engagement and sense of belonging.
  • Retention and graduation rate gap among demographic groups.

Investing in Faculty Excellence

A great university recruits, hires and retains a great faculty. To ensure that we can hire and retain an outstanding faculty, we will work to provide competitive salaries for faculty, new faculty and staff, enhance support for teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, and provide a supportive environment for academic pursuits.

Goal

Improve promotion pathways and strengthen faculty policies and processes, increase retention of non-tenure track faculty and bolster excellence in teaching, learning, research and collaboration.

Actions

  • Realign vice provost for faculty affairs to focus on faculty issues.
  • Rebalance non-tenure track and tenured teaching lines with conversion plan for FY19 budget.
  • Integrate use of multi-year appointments for non-tenure track faculty to reduce recruitment costs and support student success and innovation in teaching and learning.
  • Continue progress to align faculty compensation level relative to professional peer group.
  • Update compensation policies for classified staff.
  • Implement faculty information system to improve annual review process to allow for better access to university data on performance in teaching, research and service to support the faculty annual review and school and college annual report processes.

Metrics for Investing in Faculty Excellence

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Compensation data relative to peer institutions for both tenured track faculty and non-tenured track faculty.
  • Number of tenured-track faculty and proportion of tenured/tenured track and non-tenured track faculty.
  • National and international awards for teaching and research.
  • Investments of institutional dollars into faculty research and teaching.

Promoting Innovation in Teaching and Learning

High quality faculty teaching and student learning experiences have been defining features of the University of Arkansas for many years. We will work to maintain this high level of teaching and learning and at the same time promote the creation of timely and innovative academic programs and learning experiences, domestically and internationally.

Goal

Improve student success through improved innovations in teaching and learning.

Actions

  • Work with faculty to improve the design and assessment of general education.
  • Integration of course redesign support for both online and classroom formats, particularly those with high failure and withdrawal rates.
  • Through course redesign, develop innovative curriculum and use a new pedagogical approaches that improve student learning.
  • Plan for new learning spaces to foster innovation, active learning and engagement
  • Develop policies and processes that include a more robust evaluation of teaching performance and effectiveness.
  • Create and publicize a central repository of innovative teaching practices and projects developed across the university.

Metrics for Promoting Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Proportion of undergraduate students who have at least one experiential learning experience upon graduation.
  • NSSE survey results on specific teaching-related questions.
  • Assessment data on general education skills.
  • External grants awarded for pedagogical improvement.
  • National awards for teaching.

Reaffirming our Land-grant and Flagship Responsibilities

The University of Arkansas is unique in that it is both the state’s flagship university and a land-grant institution. With this unique status comes a responsibility to engage, collaborate, and provide outreach to the citizens, businesses, governmental and civic entities of the state to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. 

Goal

Define and promote what it means to be a land-grant and flagship university in the 21st century and augment outreach and engagement efforts across Arkansas.

Actions

  • Refine the university’s vision and mission to clearly articulate the university’s Land Grant role.
  • Collect, assign, coordinate, support, track and report all requests for services from both public and private stakeholders.
  • Effectively communicate and promote the full range of services the university provides and how it positively impacts on the state of Arkansas.
  • Develop a strategic economic development plan to maximize the university’s role in the economic development of Arkansas’ communities.
  • Use novel timber products in partnership with Arkansas’ timber industry in construction of a new residence hall.

Metrics for Reaffirming our Land-Grant and Flagship Responsibiliteis

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Enrollment of and degrees awarded to Arkansans.
  • Economic impact of university and alumni on local and state economy.
  • Financial support received and number of collaborative agreements made with Arkansas industry.
  • Number of Arkansas start-up companies created.

Strengthening Graduate Education

Graduate education is an important part of a research university and key to the university’s impact on economic development. And graduate students make significant contributions to the research and teaching missions at the University of Arkansas. We will work to enhance and improve graduate education by intensifying the recruitment and boosting support of graduate students as well as making sure that our programs are preparing graduate students for a variety of productive careers.

Goal

Improve the quality of graduate programs offered, increase enrollment and the number of degrees awarded.

Actions

  • Analyze by program graduate stipend competitiveness with peer institutions.
  • Enhance graduate student recruitment efforts.
  • Develop strategic plan for Graduate Studies and International Education.

Goal

Develop professional Masters programs to meet workforce needs in the state.

Actions

  • Identify programs that have market need.
  • Develop a business plan that provides net revenue to units.

Goal

Strengthen international graduate student recruitment to increase graduate enrollment and degrees awarded.

Action

  • Increase number of bilateral agreements with partner institutions abroad to recruit high-quality students in targeted programs.

Metrics for Strengthening Graduate Education

Graphics being developed to track progress toward these goals:

  • Doctoral enrollment and degrees awarded
  • Proportion of graduate students supported by external sources.
  • National graduate program rankings.
  • Student enrollment and degrees awarded in professional masters and professional doctoral programs.
  • Graduate application statistics (number of applicants, GPA and GRE scores.)
  • Job placement for graduate students.
  • Investments per graduate student.

Strategic Planning Process

Strategic planning is a process -- one Chancellor Steinmetz believes should happen from the ground up, and be as inclusive as possible.

As part of this comprehensive approach to campus planning, and following meetings with every academic department, many interdisciplinary programs and centers on campus, students, faculty, and staff, the chancellor received a deeper knowledge of the issues faced by the academic units, while providing an opportunity for departments to share their strengths, priorities, and future direction. 

The process unfolded in several phases, and with the arrival of Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor James Coleman in January 2017, a new phase in the planning gets underway. The broad strokes  are detailed below:

Phases/Semester Timeline

Spring 2017

  1. The provost will convene the Guiding Priority team leads to create a framework for reporting. 
  2. The colleges will determine and report how the priorities align with college-level strategic plans. The service units will develop plans that support the institutional priorities that have been defined.
  3. The provost will determine which initiatives will be adopted and a summation of the plans described above will be shared with the campus community in March 2017.

Fall 2016

  1. The institution's guiding priorities, as drafted, are being shared with the campus for feedback. Following a feedback period, each priority will be assigned to a campus unit to flesh out some potential action plans and initiatives.
  2. Chancellor Steinmetz' investiture speech on October 20, 2016, outlined the campus priorities.
  3. Eight team leads (along with eight groups of faculty and staff), have been assigned a priority with the task of fleshing out potential initiatives that could be implemented.

Summer 2016

  1. Deans and their staffs reviewed departmental summary documents and identified themes across the individual colleges.
  2. Three groups of faculty, staff, and students reviewed the departmental summaries with an eye toward identifying university-wide themes that have emerged from the unit discussions. These groups were organized by the traditional mission areas of research and service; teaching and learning; and outreach and engagement. The committees, students and academic deans provided summary reports to the chancellor.

  3. The work of the committees was collated at the administration level to begin to define the university's direction for the future.

Spring 2016

Campus academic departments, centers and programs summarized their strengths, weaknesses, and challenges with an eye toward their future direction. They defined long-term goals, needs, priorities, directions and reported back to the chancellor’s and provost's offices and the deans by the end of the semester via summary document. 75+ individual meetings held with the chancellor were completed by May 31.

Download the departmental summaries

Campus Strategic Planning:
Phase III Update February 2017

Jim Coleman, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, convened the heads of the eight working groups to direct the development of their individual reports. After those reports were delivered, the groups met to synthesize them, focusing on emergent top priorities for implementation.

“Ideally, the endpoint is the development of the plan, which will span 3-5 years, articulate a set of action item, and allocate not only the resources but the responsibility for each thing. Determining what we will measure has been at the forefront of the work these groups are doing.”

Some actions were selected as early as March – while others will be phased in over time.

Academic and administrative units were asked to go into the budget process with a plan for cutting 1 percent from their budgets each year for the next three years. Academic units reallocated their 1 percent to support the guiding priorities within their colleges, while the administrative units’ 1 percent will fund a centrally managed pool of funds for strategic allocation.

Service units were asked to wait to begin their planning until the strategic plan actions/strategies were determined.

Task Force Groups & Draft Initiatives

The initial report from seven of the eight groups is available for review. Please note this is not the final plan or document. This document will be further assessed for cross-cutting initiatives, potential costs and resources available, responsibilities, actions, and metrics.

Download the draft report

Advancing Student Success

  1. Charles Robinson
  2. Suzanne McCray
  3. Todd Shields
  4. Anne Raines
  5. Stephanie Schulte
  6. Rachel Glade

Building a Collaborative and Innovative Campus

  1. Elizabeth Margulis
  2. Peter MacKeith
  3. Lynda Coon
  4. Marty Matlock
  5. Fran Hagstrom
  6. Stephanie Pierce
  7. Doug Behrend

Enhancing our Research and Discovery Mission

  1. Jim Rankin
  2. Jack Cothren
  3. Ed Pohl
  4. Fred Spiegel
  5. Carol Reeves
  6. Lisa Corrigan
  7. Trish Starks

Enriching Campus Diversity and Inclusion

  1. Ro DiBrezzo
  2. Barbara Lofton
  3. Geffrey Davis
  4. Anna Zajicek
  5. Michael Evans
  6. Calvin White
  7. J. Shelton

Investing in Faculty

  1. Ashok Saxena
  2. John Pijanowski
  3. Kathy Van Laningham
  4. Wes Stites
  5. Matt Waller
  6. Neil Allison
  7. Euche Ewelucwa

Promoting Innovation in Teaching and Learning

  1. Terry Martin
  2. Cheryl Murphy
  3. Shelly Walters
  4. Lorraine Brewer
  5. Jeannie Whayne
  6. Curt Rom
  7. Dave Frederick

Reaffirming our Land-grant and Flagship Responsibilities (Outreach/Engagement)

  1. Randy Massanelli
  2. Cynthia Sides
  3. Heather Nachtmann
  4. Leslie Yingling
  5. Terry Siebenmorgen
  6. Patrick Williams

Strengthening Graduate Education

  1. Kim Needy
  2. Alan Ellstrand
  3. Brinck Kerr
  4. Kate Mamiseishvili
  5. Necia Parker-Gibson
  6. Jean-Francois Meullenet
  7. Charlie Rosenkrans