The Board of Trustees of The University of Tulsa held a special meeting Friday, Jan. 29, where it approved a new strategic plan for the institution.
“This plan has the potential to transform this institution,” Board Chairwoman Dana Weber said. “We all recognize that to maintain its special place as the region’s pre-eminent private university, TU has to evolve and meet new demands and opportunities. This plan does that – it focuses on student success, leverages our historic strengths, creates a path to financial stability, and has identified new areas of focus where TU can compete and win nationally and internationally.”
The resolution approving the plan was voted for unanimously by the board. Earlier, the Faculty Senate voted overwhelmingly in approval of the plan, which was also endorsed by TU’s Staff Advisory Council.
Community engagement and input was a vital component throughout the process. “The community input we received has been critical to the development of this plan and its ongoing refinement,” said Trustee Marcia MacLeod, leader of the Strategy Committee. “Faculty, staff, board members and others have significantly strengthened this plan, and I would like to thank everyone from across the TU community who has been engaged and provided thoughtful input into this process.”
A core component of the strategy is to strengthen and expand TU’s existing excellence in energy and cyber. “This plan is about new investment in areas that analysis, data and trends show are spaces we can expect to succeed and where we can grow enrollment by capturing market share in areas of increasing demand,” MacLeod said.
The plan also emphasizes the importance of a broad educational experience, expanding our commitment to the value of a liberal arts foundation by encouraging all students to earn a combined major and minor in the liberal arts and professional studies. As such, the plan builds on TU’s strengths, wrapping each student in rich and diverse offerings of languages, arts and humanities, social sciences and natural sciences core to a TU education, no matter what their chosen area of focus. “As testament to the confidence we have in the quality of a TU education, for the first time – and unique among universities – TU will design and launch a ‘job guarantee’ program for all incoming undergraduate students,” Weber said.
Other highlights of the plan include:
- Simplifying curriculum and courses to enable combined liberal arts/professional studies degrees to be a norm for students and a differentiator for TU;
- Increasing annual investments in student success, diversity and inclusion and career services;
- Continuing to rigorously assess all academic and nonacademic programs on a regular basis against a holistic set of metrics;
- Funding more intensive marketing efforts to support enrollment goals and awareness of TU’s areas of distinction; and
- Approving up to $44 million in investments over five years to support the plan, and launching a campaign to raise $156 million to fund those investments as well as short-term deficits and targeted endowments.
Faculty and staff input was especially important in shaping the plan. “The board’s Strategy Committee and the administration actively sought input and listened to faculty and staff, which helped to make this plan so much better,” said Faculty Senate President Jennifer Airey. “I feel very optimistic that we’re making great progress toward strengthening the institution.”
“This plan is thoughtful, rigorous, achievable and importantly rooted in who TU is as an institution,” said Interim President Janet K. Levit. “One of the primary reasons the board brought in Boston Consulting Group to support this effort was to rigorously test assumptions and validate that our plans can actually work. We are confident and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead but also are clear-eyed that there is a great deal that needs to be done.”
The next step is for TU to organize and begin implementation, leveraging community subject matter experts to bring the plan to life. “It is important to understand that while the strategic plan is clearly defined, the implementation plan is dynamic and will continue to evolve,” Levit said. Faculty and staff have been and will continue to be involved throughout the process. “Their input has been vital to the creation and refinement of the plan, and they will play a critical role in implementing the plan successfully,” she said.
For more information, please visit strategicplan.utulsa.edu.