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UT Strategic Plan


UT Strategic Planning Process

This is our moment. In a rapidly changing world, we have a once-in-a-generation chance to position ourselves for the future. This is why we’re embarking upon a strategic planning process — so we can seize new opportunities and identify new directions that support our teaching, research, and service missions. Read on to learn about the strategic direction we have adopted during this opening phase of the process, and get ready to share your ideas as we move to the next phase: identifying and prioritizing the bold initiatives that will help us achieve our aspiration.

Leadership Reflections

President Jay Hartzell

"Strategy conversations start with a basic question: What is our goal? Do we want to be the top-ranked public research university? And, what do we even mean by that? Or, do we want to have the prestige or selectivity of Ivy League schools? Do we want to boast that our graduates go on to earn the highest salaries or go to the best graduate schools?

These are all good things, but as a leadership team, our aspiration is much broader. For us, a word that keeps coming up again and again in our conversations is IMPACT.

UT has an incredible combination of advantages, and we’re in a unique position. With those, how can we do more to change the world? The flag we’re planting is that UT should become the world’s highest-impact public research university.”

— President Jay Hartzell

Our Strategic Direction: Aspiration and Pillars

Earlier this year, we began the process of defining a strategic direction, a 10-year aspiration and the supporting pillars to help us achieve it. Our team, led by faculty leaders in partnership with our Advisory Committee, arrived at this direction after conducting more than 100 interviews and focus groups with faculty, staff, students and alumni, reviewing 1500 responses from multiple surveys across campus, and ultimately reviewing and refining the approach via 60 small group sessions with campus stakeholders. You can learn more about the ideas and themes underpinning this direction by reading the supporting narrative or listening to President Jay Hartzell’s State of the University Address.

Become the world's highest-impact public research university, unleashing knowledge, opportunity and innovation from the heart of Texas


An exceptional, diverse community of learners and scholars, leaders and trailblazers...
  • Attract outstanding, high-potential students, faculty and staff
  • Cultivate a distinctive UT culture of excellence, inclusivity, equity and innovation
  • Foster free and open discourse to enhance knowledge and understanding
  • Engage Longhorns for life, personally and professionally


...amplifying the unmatched potential of Austin and Texas...
  • Embrace and enrich the growth and spirit of Austin and Texas
  • Partner with industry, community and government to pioneer new models of service, learning, health care and research
  • Enhance life, work, health and learning by creating next-generation university environments on and beyond our campus


...and changing the world through transformative...


  • Propel the individual passions and journeys of our students, faculty, staff and alumni
  • Ignite a strong sense of belonging, community and purpose
  • Embody our public mission to serve Texas, the United States and the world
  • Deliver excellence at every touchpoint through outstanding personnel, operations and technology


  • Boldly innovate undergraduate, graduate and lifelong education for a dynamic, digital and global future
  • Deepen the integration between instruction and experience, research and service
  • Equip and inspire students for a lifetime of success, leadership and impact


  • Advance ambitious research, scholarship and creative arts
  • Tackle society's biggest challenges in key areas of interdisciplinary strength, including Energy & Environment, Health & Well-Being, and Technology & Society
  • Operate best-in-class research infrastructure and resources

Share Your Ideas

Having just concluded the first phase to set our direction, we are moving into phase two, where we are asking every member of our community — faculty, staff and students — to participate in transforming these aspirations into reality, by helping us identify, design and implement initiatives. If you have an idea for an initiative that supports our strategic direction, please share it with our university strategic planning team.

Share Your Input

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do we need a strategic plan? Why now?

    This is a critical moment in time for UT, Austin, higher education, and the world. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to innovate and create educational and research opportunities beyond our traditional offerings by embarking now on a strategic planning process. This plan will help us achieve our bold ambition to be among the nation’s very best public research universities, global in its impact, and preferred by the most talented faculty, students and staff.

    COVID-19 and recent events especially have highlighted the importance of this work on the strategic plan. We can bring fresh thinking to what a university education and research could be and how to achieve excellence in all we do. The prospects are exciting and include creating a more vibrant and engaging educational experience on campus or online, potentially investing in relevant research centers, creating a more diverse and welcoming environment for people from all backgrounds, projecting UT’s positive influence to the global community, and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of our operations.

    This is a momentous time for UT. We have the opportunity to leverage our considerable strengths (our brand, location, students, faculty, staff and many other assets) to emerge from the current environment stronger and ready for the future.

  • What are the key components of the strategic plan?

    Aspiration: A compelling vision statement that describes the institution UT aims to become in the future (~10 years from now) and inspires the community

    Pillars: 4-6 top priorities within the umbrella of the aspiration (e.g., driving state and global economic impact)

    Goals: Measurable results that will mark progress toward the aspiration (e.g., increase faculty, staff and student sense of belonging by X%)

    Initiatives: Concrete activities within each pillar to help achieve goals (e.g., expand and create new dedicated community spaces)

  • How will this university-wide strategic plan interact with college, school and unit (CSU) plans?

    CSU-level plans should be complementary to university-level plans, though they may be more specific and include distinct priorities and initiatives. To start, CSU-level plans should align with the mission, values and vision for UT. We also expect several themes to be common across both, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and research initiatives that interconnect several disciplines. Finally, a CSU-level plan might clarify and articulate the CSU’s role in university-wide initiatives.

  • Who will be responsible for creating the strategic plan?

    The UT strategic planning process is being led by UT leaders who are engaging a broad and diverse set of faculty and staff members and students through interviews, working sessions, and focus groups on strengths, potential aspiration and big ideas. The entire UT community can participate by posting ideas for strategic initiatives that are based on the pillars of our strategic direction and promote the aspiration of the university. Specifically:

    • President Hartzell, the UT Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, the Faculty Strategic Plan Leaders, and key operational leaders meet regularly to oversee the development of the Strategic Plan and operational improvement efforts.

    • UT Strategic Plan Faculty Leaders (Bobby Chesney, Richard Flores and Lauren Meyers) are leading the development of the strategic plan and undertaking broad campus engagement and consultation.

    • Operational improvements are being sponsored and guided both by academic leaders and functional leaders; overall guidance is being provided by Senior Vice President and CFO Darrell Bazzell, Larry Singell and members of the Advisory Committee. Initiatives are led and supported by teams of staff members and academic leaders to ensure operational improvements meet the needs and deliver value to all university stakeholders.

    • Communications related to the strategic plan and operational improvements are being led by Vice President Emily Reagan and a campuswide team of communicators, supported by academic leadership and aligned with key UT stakeholder groups.

    • Paul Kinscherff, President Hartzell’s deputy for business development and planning, is coordinating the overall effort.

  • What progress has been made to date?

    Strategic Direction: President Hartzell announced UT’s strategic direction, including an aspiration and goals, in his State of the University address in September 2021.

    Operational Improvements: We have launched work on a set of initiatives to improve the effectiveness of UT operations, a critical enabler of our success and of the experience of every member of our community. Examples include:

    1. Procurement – helping campus buy faster, smarter, and with less bureaucracy

    2. IT – enabling our campus for a digital-first world

    3. Staff and faculty talent development – development of a campus-wide sabbatical programs and finding ways to attract and retain top talent, and

    4. Finance – improving communication and access to data within the finance function


    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): we created a comprehensive overview of UT’s DEI metrics, which will underpin the development of an updated university-wide DEI plan.

    All this progress is underpinned by UT leaders, faculty and staff members working collaboratively to develop a strategic plan including academic and operational excellence. We have done this through extensive stakeholder engagements, surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews.

  • What work remains on UT’s strategic plan?

    UT leaders will continue to collaborate with the UT community to develop our strategic plan and operational improvements. Future work:

    Complete and publish UT’s strategic plan (next spring)

    • Further define how we want to grow and measure UT’s impact.

    • Accelerate progress on priority, high-impact initiatives and, working with campus stakeholders, identify new initiatives that advance our strategy.

    • Integrate and support the development of our DEI strategies and action plan.

    • Support ideas and strategy development pilots from college, schools and units (Moody College of Communication and School of Information) and make what they have learned available to other units.

    • Ensure effective, ongoing communications and change management related to the planning process and initiative work underway.


    Support operational improvements

    • Design and implement procurement process improvements to capture savings and reduce cycle times.

    • Outline a path forward to modernize our information technology and launch initiatives to begin that journey.


    Build internal capability to maintain momentum and progress, including the opportunity for new ideas and initiatives to gain visibility and support as we implement the strategic plan over its 10-year horizon.

  • How will UT ensure that the process engages stakeholders and is inclusive of the diverse UT community?

    The UT strategic planning process has engaged members across the UT community, including faculty and staff members, students, deans, vice presidents, executives, and alumni. We have conducted more than 100 interviews, focus groups and small group sessions and surveyed some 1,500 individuals regarding strategic planning, information technology, finance and human resources to understand the current state on strategic perspectives and operational opportunities. These broad engagement efforts were foundational to the development of our 10-plus-year aspirational pillars in the strategic direction.

    In this process, we also are getting valuable input from across the UT campus community to identify initiatives. All staff, faculty, students and other UT community members are encouraged to submit their initiative ideas regularly via the feedback form on this website. All ideas will be read and reviewed.

  • Have we engaged an external partner to support the strategic planning effort? What are the benefits of having an external partner assist with this work?

    President Hartzell is taking a comprehensive approach to defining our overarching strategy, which will create a roadmap for the next decade and beyond. To deliver this comprehensive approach, UT has engaged an external consulting partner, Bain & Company, to work collaboratively with the UT community to help formulate recommendations for President Hartzell and the Advisory Committee to accelerate positive change and to help build internal capabilities.

    To achieve our strategic goals and have global impact, we need to start investing in the underlying infrastructure that enables our teaching and research missions. Approximately two-thirds of Bain’s time and expense supports the design and implementation of operational improvements, with significant focus on procurement and information technology. We are planning to extend Bain’s contract to next summer to provide adequate time to make meaningful, lasting progress in these areas and ensure UT is able to achieve its goal. No part of Bain’s scope or objective is to achieve financial savings by reducing UT’s workforce.

    Finally, the work we do with Bain will deliver savings in excess of fees to Bain; we anticipate procurement savings will exceed all Bain fees in one to two years. Because these procurement savings will recur annually, UT will realize a very significant return on this investment.

    More broadly, external consultants bring experience, state-of-the-art processes and tools as well as third-party perspectives, benchmarks, and fresh insights that help UT generate new and better ideas. They also bring a high level of focus and energy that helps keep our strategic planning effort moving forward, thus enabling more analysis, faster decision-making, and broader engagement.

    How was Bain selected?

    UT held a competitive process in the spring of 2021 to select a partner to help in developing a strategic direction. UT leaders as well as Faculty Council and Staff Council representatives were involved.

    Ultimately, UT determined Bain was the best choice based on its experience and its alignment with UT’s core values and mission. Bain has had successful engagements with tier-one universities including UC Berkeley, UNC-Chapel Hill and Cornell. Bain also has engaged with Dell Medical School. Additionally, Bain is highly regarded for its commitment to workplace diversity, equity, and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

    Is Bain a private equity firm? What is Bain’s relationship to Bain Capital?

    Bain & Company (our consulting partner for the strategic plan) and Bain Capital (a private equity firm) are separate companies, with no shared ownership, governance or employees. Bain & Company is not private equity firm.

  • Where can I get more information?

    We are committed to transparency through the strategic planning process. This website will be the hub for all communication, and we also will be sharing updates via an email newsletter, social media and other channels.

    We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. Later this fall, a new podcast called “Strategic Conversations” will provide a behind-the-scenes view from UT faculty and staff who are participating in the process.

  • How can I engage in the process?

    We appreciate your interest and are very excited to have you participate! Broad engagement across faculty and staff members, students, alumni and the community is vitally important to the strategic planning effort, and we encourage you to attend community updates about the program (for example, Faculty Council meetings, Staff Council meetings, CUBO updates, or Student Government meetings) to provide your input.

    You can sign up for our newsletter, listen to the upcoming podcast series, respond to the survey with feedback or initiative ideas, and view regular updates on the UT Strategic Planning website.

    If you have ideas for strategic initiatives based on the “pillars,” please submit them here. We welcome your ideas!

    If you have additional feedback, please send an email to Internal Communications.