Strategic Planning Update 2013-2016

Strategic Plan Update

View the Strategic Planning Update (PDF – 1.4MB)

The University of Illinois at Springfield is a young university – only 43 years old. Its relatively brief history is marked by two defining moments – its institutional founding, which was grounded in a commitment to innovation in education and engagement with public affairs, and its transition in 1995 to being one of three distinctive campuses of the world-class University of Illinois. The University of Illinois is among the preeminent public universities in the nation and strives constantly to sustain and enhance its quality in teaching, research, public service, and economic development. The guiding values of the University of Illinois are, in all that we do, to aim high; to strive to control our destiny; to be accountable for our actions and exercise responsible stewardship; to be inclusive, treat each other with dignity and respect, and promote citizenship; to value excellence, quality, and service; and to foster innovation and creativity. The mission and vision of the University of Illinois at Springfield are in accord with these values. As a campus of the University of Illinois, UIS aspires to be a premier public university; we are committed to achieving that vision by building on our foundation of innovation and engagement and by pursuing excellence in all that we do.

STRONG FOUNDATIONS: THE 2006 STRATEGIC PLAN

In 2006, UIS formally completed its first comprehensive strategic plan as the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois. The strategic planning process built upon earlier foundational work, including the 2000 Campus Master Plan and the 2003 National Commission on the Future of UIS report, and further engaged the campus in an intensive, rigorous, and data-driven competitive analysis and bold visioning process. Faculty, staff, and students on the Steering Committee conducted a careful, competitive analysis of our distinctive institutional strengths and weaknesses, as well as an assessment of significant environmental threats and opportunities. The process generated clear mission and vision statements and outlined action steps that would enable UIS to make significant progress in six strategic areas: achieving academic excellence, enriching individual lives, making a difference in the world, strengthening campus culture, improving enrollment and retention, and increasing resources and enhancing infrastructure.

PROGRESS IN A CONTEXT OF CHANGE AND CHALLENGE

UIS has made considerable strategic progress over the last six years, although not without significant effort. Few could have anticipated in 2006 the full measure of challenges that would soon converge on American higher education, though the winds of change were already making themselves known in steadily rising educational costs, troubling economic forecasts, and precipitous declines in state support for public higher education. Contributing factors include a major national recession and associated state-level impacts; shifting population demographic, migration, and educational attainment trends; increasing unmet needs for a highly skilled workforce in the science, technology, and manufacturing sectors; mounting regulatory burdens that slow research and consume shrinking administrative resources; growing pressure to increase access and affordability through the use of technology and streamlined curricula; increasing competition from for-profit universities for students; and rising federal and state demands for accountability in terms of retention and graduation rates, applied learning outcomes, and post- graduation employment. These and other factors will most certainly continue to impact higher education sectors for the foreseeable future.

Despite economic and competitive challenges over the last six years, UIS has maintained focus and taken significant steps to actualize the vision shaped through the 2006 strategic planning process. Our accomplishments over the last seven years are a testament to the integrity and strength of the 2006 strategic plan and to the dedication of our faculty and staff who remain committed to the mission, vision, and goals that emerged. After approval of the UIS Strategic Plan in 2006, divisions, colleges, and other major units of the campus developed unit plans in keeping with the UIS Strategic Plan. Unit-level processes contributed to the richness of the campus dialogue about the Strategic Plan. The following is a brief summary of significant actions and impacts that illustrate UIS’ progress to date within the six overarching goals of the UIS Strategic Plan.

Goal One: Achieving Academic Excellence

Actions We’ve Taken

  • Expanded student recruitment
  • Designed and implemented general education curriculum
  • Established Office of Faculty Development to create, organize, and sustain faculty development programming for best practices in teaching, scholarship, and service
  • Implemented the ECCE Speakers Series, Lincoln Legacy Lectures, Wepner Symposium, and Annual Day of Dialogue to enrich intellectual culture on campus
  • Established Undergraduate Research Support Program
  • Integrated assessment of learning outcomes into formal program review cycle
  • Developed the Center for Online Learning, Research, & Service
  • Expanded international opportunities for collaborative teaching, research, and service projects
  • Implemented research fellowships in the Center for Online Learning, Research, & Service and in the Center for State Policy & Leadership
  • Designed and implemented an Academic Leadership Institute for faculty and staff
  • Implemented intramural grant programs to support high-visibility research projects and strategic academic initiatives
  • Incorporated category of strategic initiatives into annual budget planning process
  • Developed First-Year programming and academic support initiatives to strengthen retention

Impacts

  • Enrolled a larger and more diverse student body
  • Increased faculty participation in professional development
  • Advanced the assessment of learning outcomes
  • Increased faculty scholarship
  • Increased external grant support for high priority research initiatives
  • Increased faculty contributions to national dialogues on excellence in teaching and learning
  • Increased faculty-student collaborations on research and creative work
  • Supported the identification and development of future academic leaders on campus
  • Enhanced intellectual life of campus

Goal Two: Enriching Individual Lives

Actions We’ve Taken

  • Opened the ECCE Speakers Series, Lincoln Legacy Lectures, Wepner Symposium, and Annual Day of Dialogue to external community to encourage participation in campus life
  • Expanded first-year recruitment and programming
  • Increased infrastructure and resources for the visual and performing arts programs
  • Established a Diversity Center for students
  • Expanded academic, student life, and professional development programming to support diversity
  • Enhanced search guidelines and support services to strengthen faculty and staff diversity Strengthened academic support programming for student athletes
  • Enhanced visibility of academic and cultural programming and athletics
  • Redesigned UIS web sites to ensure access for those with disabilities

Impacts

  • Increased participation by students, faculty, staff, and external community in intellectual and
    creative arts events on campus
  • Increased student diversity and provided support for student retention
  • Increased private support for visual and performing arts
  • Increased faculty participation in student athlete support programming
  • Increased community engagement with and support of UIS athletics

Goal Three: Make a Positive Difference in the World

Actions We’ve Taken

  • Developed and implemented innovative general education and online undergraduate degree programs to strengthen educational access
  • Increased study abroad opportunities for students
  • Increased efforts to recruit international students
  • Increased faculty engagement in public affairs research and service projects
  • Strengthened institutional linkages with local and regional constituencies through select partnerships in areas of shared interest
  • Expanded public affairs programming to promote informed action on public policy and civic engagement
  • Designed and implemented service learning and student volunteer services programming
  • Increased support for faculty travel to present research at national and international conferences
  • Developed academic and research affiliations with select international universities
  • Implemented environmental sustainability programming

Impacts

  • Increased student enrollment in on-campus and online degree programs
  • Enrolled more diverse student population
  • Increased student and faculty participation in opportunities for international education and
    research opportunities
  • Increased student and faculty engagement in public service and applied research endeavors
  • Named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for five consecutive
    years
  • Enriched educational quality and strengthened preparation of students for life in a global society
  • Increased visibility of high quality education and research at UIS
  • Increased awareness of and participation in environmental preservation and sustainability efforts

Goal Four: Strengthen Campus Culture

Actions We’ve Taken

  • Implemented branding, communication, and competitive marketing strategies to enhance visibility of UIS
  • Expanded recruitment
  • Implemented the ECCE Speakers Series, Lincoln Legacy Lectures, Wepner Symposium, and Annual Day of Dialogue to enrich campus culture and engage external community in campus life
  • Developed and implemented an annual campus-wide Student Arts & Research Symposium, which is open to the public
  • Implemented annual CARE award program (Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence) to recognize outstanding performance by civil service staff members
  • Expanded student life programming
  • Implemented Campus Welcome Committee and orientation programming for new employees
  • Became member of NCAA Division II
  • Improved campus signage
  • Enhanced student-gathering spaces

Impacts

  • Garnered increased national recognition for high quality online education and undergraduate
    education
  • Strengthened UIS identity and reputation at local, regional, and state levels
  • Enrolled a larger and more diverse student body
  • Increasing student retention and satisfaction
  • Increased collaborations between UIS and external constituencies
  • Increased community attendance at UIS events
  • Received positive feedback from internal and external constituencies
  • Enhanced awareness of UIS as an important steward of place

Goal Five: Increase Enrollment and Retention

Actions We’ve Taken

  • Strengthened student recruitment and retention efforts
  • Implemented innovative online transfer programs
  • Implemented competitive marketing strategies to enhance institutional visibility
  • Increased competitiveness of our merit- and need-based financial aid
  • Increased private sources of funds for financial aid
  • Implemented a general education curriculum and increased online degree programs to expand educational access
  • Increased institutional partnership agreements to encourage transfer to on campus and online degree programs at UIS
  • Raised additional money for scholarships and increased awareness of their availability

Impacts

  • Enrolled a larger and more diverse student body
  • Expanded educational access
  • Early indicators of improving retention
  • Enriched educational and cultural environment for the campus
  • Enhanced recognition and awareness of quality at UIS

Goal Six: Increase Resources and Enhance Infrastructure

Actions We’ve Taken

  • Reviewed and reduced administrative costs
  • Enrolled more students
  • Increased tuition
  • Implemented use of instructional resource metrics
  • Reduced internal budgets as needed to offset sequential cuts to state appropriations
  • Aligned funding allocations and investment priorities with strategic planning goals
  • Successfully completed Brilliant Futures Capital Campaign raising $28 million
  • Added The Recreation and Athletic Center in 2007
  • Received funding for a new Public Safety Building
  • Made the renovation of Brookens Library a major capital priority
  • Secured funding for and developed the Therkildsen Field Station at the Emiquon Nature Preserve
  • Renovated oldest student housing
  • Enhanced campus grounds to support student recreational activities, including baseball, Frisbee golf, and cricket pitch

Impacts

  • Budget reductions, reallocation of resources, and marginal revenues from enrollment and tuition increases used to offset state appropriation cuts and to fund strategic investments

CONTINUING ON THE PATH OF PROGRESS

The campuses of the University of Illinois must be prepared to face continuing fiscal and paradigmatic challenges in the years to come. It will be necessary to contain costs, to allocate resources effectively to maintain quality, and to invest wisely in transformational initiatives that will advance each campus. Toward that goal, in January of 2013, President Easter and the Board of Trustees asked that each campus prepare a plan to guide academic investments and resource allocation decisions over the next three years.

The UIS plan for continuing progress under the 2006 Strategic Plan has emerged out of dialogues and discussions that have transpired since Chancellor Koch arrived at UIS in 2011. Chancellor Koch spent considerable time in the first eighteen months of her appointment talking with UIS faculty, staff, students, alumni, and constituencies in the external community about UIS’ strengths, challenges, goals, and opportunities. In addition, special meetings were held with faculty and staff to exchange ideas on priority areas. What emerged was a sense of confidence in the ongoing validity and importance of the foundations and directions presented in the 2006 Strategic Plan, and priorities were refined in light of progress made and needs for further growth. All strategic planning documents are best regarded as living documents. Even as defining foundations and aspirations are affirmed, specific action items must necessarily evolve in concert with environmental realities. The remainder of this planning document affirms core components of the 2006 UIS Strategic Plan and identifies the strategic priorities that will guide actions and enable continuing progress over the next three years.

AFFIRMING OUR FOUNDATIONS: MISSION, VISION, & GOALS

The impact of actions taken in accord with the 2006 Strategic Plan have advanced the University of Illinois at Springfield significantly and demonstrate its continuing cogency and relevance as a guiding document. Thus, as prelude to outlining priorities and action steps for the next three years, we begin by reiterating core components of the Strategic Plan:

The Mission of the University of Illinois at Springfield is to provide an intellectually rich, collaborative, and intimate learning environment for students, faculty, and staff, while serving local, regional, state, national, and international communities.

Our aspirational Vision for the University of Illinois at Springfield continues to be a premier public university offering innovative, high-quality liberal arts education, public affairs activities, and professional programs dedicated to academic excellence, to enriching individual lives, and to making a difference in the world.

Our Vision is grounded in a distinctive combination of four core attributes: we offer a teaching-focused academic experience; an abundance of opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to collaborate in the service of educational goals; a “right-sized” supportive community; and a special emphasis on public affairs and global citizenship.

We have established an institutional reputation that is consistent with these strengths as well as our strategic goals – we are known for Leadership Lived, a reputation that honors past and present by acknowledging the spirit of innovation in education and public affairs that has characterized UIS since its inception. It is also a very fitting reputation for a university located in the capital of Illinois and the home of Abraham Lincoln.

Within the landscape of higher education in the United States, UIS’ identity is also reflected in its active memberships in the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). COPLAC is an organization of 27 public colleges and universities that works to support and promote the value of high-quality, liberal arts education; AASCU is an association of nearly 420 regional public universities that are student-centered, oriented toward access and opportunity, and productively engaged with their communities and the regions they serve. As we move forward in our vision to be a premier regional university, we bring to this endeavor a deep commitment to liberal learning, with the goal of preparing all students to be critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. We also bring distinctive strengths in delivering exceptional public affairs opportunities and outstanding professional and graduate programs. We are and will continue to be a student-centered campus, offering both access and opportunity for educational achievement and community engagement that makes a difference in the world.

INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES AND STRATEGIES FOR CONTINUING ADVANCEMENT

We have made significant progress toward the actualization of our Vision by allocating resources toward actions that best serve six Goals (2006 UIS Strategic Plan): to achieve academic excellence, enrich individual lives, make a positive difference in the world, strengthen campus culture, increase enrollment and retention, and increase resources and enhance infrastructure. Additional progress toward strategic goals will require renewed focus, clear priorities for action and resource allocation, and decision-making that continues to be grounded in our mission and aspirational vision.

Public universities in the Midwest region, generally, and in Illinois, in particular, are operating in an increasingly competitive environment. As funding for public higher education continues to shrink at state and federal levels, competition for students and for resources will escalate as universities look for ways to become more self-sustaining. Thus, clear and present competitive challenges for the foreseeable future will come not only from for-profit and private providers of education but from other public universities in Illinois and contiguous states as well. UIS will continue to face increasing competition for well-prepared students, for top faculty and staff talent, and for the resources needed to build and maintain the high quality facilities that enable and support excellence in teaching, learning, research, and student development. Thus, in order to make continuing strategic progress over the next three years, UIS’ Priorities will be Growth, Talent Acquisition, and Facilities. We must grow our enrollment. We must recruit and retain a highly qualified, talented, and diverse faculty, staff, and leadership team. And we must provide the facilities needed to support a student experience that is commensurate with University of Illinois standards for excellence.

As we look toward the near future, our time, energy, and funding must be reserved for efforts and initiatives that best serve our priorities for growth, talent acquisition and retention, and facilities. Thus, the following eight Strategies will inform our decision-making with regard to action steps and budgetary considerations for the next three years.

Strategically, the University of Illinois at Springfield must be increasingly:

Excellent in all that we do
Relevant to our regional community
Visible to prospective students and their parents as well as other constituents
Affordable for qualified prospective students
Accessible to an increasing number of students, both on campus and online
Inclusive of an increasingly diverse community
Engaged with our students, our employees, our community, and with the world
Responsible in the management of our resources

ACTION STEPS AND TARGET OUTCOMES

I. GROWTH

Action Steps:

I.1 Maintain institutional excellence in accord with mission and vision
I.2 Recruit well-qualified and diverse students at undergraduate and graduate levels through local, regional, state, national, and international recruitment efforts that highlight competitive advantages
I.3 Promote the visibility of nationally competitive graduate programs
I.4 Deploy financial aid strategically
I.5 Develop and implement new undergraduate academic programs in mission- and vision-consonant high-demand fields
I.6 Strengthen student retention by implementing best practices, such as sophomore experience programming and learning communities within residence life
I.7 Increase financial support for UIS from alumni and friends

Target Outcomes:

  • Increased enrollment of new well-qualified students at undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Increased student retention and completion rates
  • External recognition for educational quality
  • Increased institutional visibility in local, regional, state, national, and international sectors
  • Increased fundraising success

II. TALENT ACQUISITION AND RETENTION

Action Steps:

II.1 Enhance salary competitiveness
II.2 Continue to recruit high quality faculty
II.3 Cultivate faculty and staff diversity
II.4 Maintain support for faculty scholarship and research
II.5 Continue professional development and performance recognition programs
II.6 Streamline administrative and governance processes
II.7 Encourage innovation
II.8 Foster supportive campus culture

Target Outcomes:

  • Strong and diverse applicant pools for open positions
  • Increased visibility for high quality graduate and undergraduate programs
  • Greater faculty and staff diversity
  • Strong retention rates for well-qualified, high-performing faculty and staff
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • External recognition for educational quality and engaged leadership
  • Increased institutional visibility

III. FACILITIES

Action Steps:

III.1 Build a student union to enhance student/campus life
III.2 Complete Brookens Library renovations when state capital funding is approved
III.3 Assess adequacy of science education and research facilities
III.4 Complete planning for next academic building

Target Outcomes:

  • Increased student enrollment
  • Increased student engagement and satisfaction with campus life
  • Increased institutional visibility

SUMMARY

We recognize the many significant challenges facing public universities today but we are committed to continuing advancement at UIS despite those challenges. We have defined a future for the University of Illinois at Springfield that is commensurate with University of Illinois standards of excellence. It is a future that reflects the core values of the University as well as the innovation mandate that energized the founders and first faculty of our campus. Building on progress made and exercising careful stewardship of our resources, we intend to make additional substantive progress over the next three years toward our Vision of the University of Illinois at Springfield as a premier public university. We move forward collaboratively and strategically, with momentum focused on the priorities of growth, talent acquisition and retention, and facilities.