ABOR Approves New Strategic Plan for UA

ABOR Approves New Strategic Plan for UA

By Alexis BlueUniversity Communications
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The Arizona Board of Regents last week approved a revised version of The University of Arizona's five-year strategic plan, which has been visually redesigned and updated to include information relevant to the University's transformation process.

The UA's strategic plan for 2010 to 2014, titled "Expanding Our Vision, Deepening Our Roots," replaces an untitled 2009 to 2013 plan previously in place.

The revisions were made in response to a request from the Board of Regents of all three state universities to adjust their plans to reflect how they will work with the broader strategic goals of the board's own "2020 Vision Strategic Plan," which calls, in part, for the state to increase the proportion of Arizonans with baccalaureate degrees from one in four in the year 2000 to one in three by 2020.

Regents also approved plans for Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University during the meeting.

In creating the new plan, the UA's Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee took into account input from Provost Meredith Hay, who suggested the plan include more concrete performance measures related to the strategic directions it outlines. The committee heeded feedback from Thomas Miller, associate provost for faculty affairs, who advised and aided in translating the existing plan's general outline format into a more engaging narrative style, complete with pictures and sidebars highlighting University traditions and achievements, said Miranda Joseph, the committee's chairwoman.

While the key strategic directions addressed by the plan remain largely the same, two areas were combined to make room for a category related to transformation at the UA. Expanding educational access and enhancing educational excellence became one strategic direction instead of two. The remaining categories include increasing achievements in research, scholarship and creative expression; expanding community engagement and work force impact; and, finally, improving productivity and increasing efficiency – the piece related to the transformation process.

"We can't have a strategic plan that doesn't acknowledge this massive thing that we're doing at the U of A," Joseph said.

The plan's executive summary reads, in part:

"The University has initiated a Transformation Plan that sets out a process of strategic renewal that includes a reassessment and restructuring of academic and business units to streamline operations and strengthen our core teaching, research, and service mission. As part of this process, we are also developing ways to direct tuition revenues to best serve our students and to reallocate research revenues more strategically to invest in areas of particular promise. As we restructure, we are renewing our commitment to accountability and innovation to serve changing needs."

In addition to the substantive changes to the plan, Joseph said she hopes its more visually interesting presentation and the inclusion of hard data to illustrate the University's progress toward its goals, and the goals of the Board of Regents' 2020 Vision, will better communicate the UA's mission.

The new strategic plan can be read online.

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