Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis

**The below information is from the 2006-2016 UIS Strategic Plan. For information on the current 2018-2028 Strategic Compass, visit **

This SWOT analysis builds on the Environmental Assessment and on the strategic planning discussions led by President White for the University of Illinois.

The UIS Strategic Planning Committee discussed SWOT specifically at two of its meetings, one in March 2005 and one in October 2005. It discussed strengths and weaknesses relative to our competition and in doing so, first identified who our competitors are. So this analysis begins with a list of competitors identified in the two meetings, in feedback from others at UIS, and in conversations among committee members.

Like the president’s list for the University of Illinois, some of the SWOTs here overlap and some are contradictory; yet they form the basis for a thoughtful
discussion about the future of UIS. Selected competitive variables are compared in Appendix B and Appendix C.

Major competitors, on-campus programs:

Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Western Illinois University, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois College, Northern Illinois University, Bradley, and McKendree.

Major competitors, online programs:

University of Phoenix Online, University of Maryland University College, SUNY Learning Network, Arizona Universities Network, UMassOnline, Michigan State,
Penn State World Campus, Stanford, University of Texas System, University of Wisconsin Extension.

UIS Strengths:

  • U of I name
  • affordable
  • location in state capital
  • small size
  • full-time faculty teach most classes, and there is a strong bond and a high level of interaction between faculty and students
  • expertise in teaching non-traditional students
  • comprehensiveness, quality, and growth of online education
  • accessibility – day, night, online formats
  • interdisciplinary and experiential education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Capital Scholars Honors Program as a model of an integrated honors curriculum in a living-learning community
  • Faculty service to the university and the larger community.

UIS Weaknesses:

  • underfunding in many departments and programs
  • lack of financial support for faculty Scholarship
  • thin on cultural/racial/ethnic diversity
  • declining enrollment from the mid- to late-1990s, followed by uneven patterns of growth
  • understaffing at many levels
  • inadequate resources for recruitment, retention, advising, and marketing – all the things needed to recruit and retain students
  • lack of infrastructure – including physical, financial, and human resources; inadequate capital funds to support all that we want to do
  • underdeveloped campus life and facilities
  • not enough undergraduate degree programs

UIS Opportunities:

  • continuing education for intellectual enrichment and for people of all ages
  • online opportunities worldwide
  • downtown presence – for classes and a residential center for graduate students/interns
  • opportunity to build an undergraduate experience using the best practices from throughout the country
  • tap into the health care industry, which is growing in Springfield with two major hospitals, a medical school, and only the second state-created Medical District in Illinois
  • more conversations and partnerships with local employers – those in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors – so that our students are more appealing to them
  • partner with the University of Illinois in “unlimited university” online initiative
  • educational opportunities related to Lincoln and tourism
  • international and off-campus study and exchange programs
  • becoming a leader in interdisciplinary and integrated learning

Threats to UIS:

  • reduced public funding of higher education in Illinois
  • risk of losing prominent faculty and staff for genuinely better opportunities at other universities or locally
  • growing competition from nearby public universities and small privates in central Illinois