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 identify new opportunities and innovate new capacities that support the future of teaching and research.
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Introduction to Our Strategic Planning Process
How can we reach higher? How do we build on our strengths to reach new goals given the current state of the world? A strategic plan will help ensure that we deliver on our mission, purpose and values for the next 10 years and beyond. The plan will also help us achieve our bold ambition to be among the nation’s very best public research universities, competitive with elite private universities, global in its impact, and preferred by the most talented faculty, students and staff. With excellence at the heart of all we do, we will be a powerful engine for progress.
Through the strategic planning process, we will align our aspiration for the future of the university and identify new opportunities to pursue. The overall process will take place in 3 phases over the next several months:
Strategic Planning Overall Approach
Phase 1 - Where to Focus
Set 10-year aspiration; align on strategic pillars and measurable goals
Phase 2 - What to do
Develop portfolio of initiatives and detailed plans to achieve those goals
Phase 3 - How to Implement
Build implementation infrastructure and launch early signature initiatives
Change & Performance Management:
Build detailed performance capabilities and change management plan
Deliver on near-term opportunities to improve experience, unlock resources, and have impact
BEYOND - Full launch
Launch full-scale effort to drive the plan with rigor and excellence
Ongoing change and performance management
A distinguished group of the university’s leaders will steer this process. We are excited to hear from our incredible community to help shape the outcomes.
You can participate by answering the call for input from surveys, interviews and focus groups. While we cannot meet with every employee and student, we are asking everyone to participate in the survey. As we move into phases 2 and 3, students, faculty and staff will be involved in designing and implementing specific initiatives.
We also invite you to subscribe to our newsletter if you have not yet done so.
Excerpt taken from President Jay Hartzell's State of the University Address, delivered on February 4, 2021.
"On January 11, we initiated a new strategic planning process to ensure that we can deliver on our mission, purpose and values over the next decade and beyond. Its purpose is to identify and map those tailwinds, to capture the many opportunities we have ahead of us. This process will build on the work of previous initiatives such as the Commission of 125 and the Council for Texas Impact. To be clear, we’re not re-inventing the wheel, nor is this a cosmetic exercise. Our core focus will remain the same: to teach and listen, to conduct impactful research, to revolutionize health care, and to serve the people of Texas. Furthermore, we’re already one of the best public universities in America, and we compete with many of the elite privates. My point is simply this: We can reach higher, and I truly believe we’re at a special moment in time where we can raise our sights even further given all the factors we’re facing.
So how do we reach higher? I want to outline three strengths on which we will build:
1. Continuing to recruit elite faculty and outstanding students.
2. Creating an environment characterized by excellence, academic freedom and diversity, and
3. Leveraging the unique set of opportunities afforded us by our location: in Texas, at Austin."
Strategic Planning Key Terms
A compelling vision statement that describes the institution UT aims to become in the future (~10 years from now) and inspires the community
4-6 top priorities within the umbrella of the aspiration (e.g., driving state and global economic impact)
Measurable results that will mark progress toward the aspiration (e.g., increase faculty, staff and student sense of belonging by X%)
Concrete activities within each pillar to help achieve goals (e.g., expand and create new dedicated community spaces)
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the key objectives of the strategic planning process?
The key objectives are:
Develop a strategic plan to ensure that UT delivers on its mission, purpose and values for the next 10 years and beyond
Invest in university priorities to improve student, staff and faculty experience
Leverage the strategic planning process to create a series of clear strategic priorities
Build capabilities across UT to enable high-quality implementation and continuous improvement
Identify opportunities to reinvest resources in university priorities
- Why do we need a strategic plan? Why now?
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. The plan will help us achieve our bold ambition to be among the nation’s very best public research universities, competitive with elite private universities, global in its impact, and preferred by the most talented faculty, students and staff.
COVID-19 and recent events have especially highlighted the importance of this work on the strategic plan. We have the opportunity to bring fresh thinking to what a university education and research could be. The leadership team will define guidelines and boundaries given the situation, with a focus on excellence in all we do. The prospects are exciting, including 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, and projecting UT’s positive influence to the global community.
- 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 will be led by UT leaders but engage a broad and diverse set of faculty, staff and students through interviews, working sessions, focus groups on strengths, potential aspiration and big ideas. The entire UT community will have the opportunity to participate via survey available from February 4, 2021 until the end of the Spring semester. We invite you to respond to the survey now if you have not yet done so.
Specifically, the strategic planning process will be led by an Advisory Committee responsible for overseeing the effort and approving recommendations. There will also be Working Teams responsible for directing the effort, including governance of strategic priority design, deliverables and eventual implementation road map.
- How will UT ensure the process engages stakeholders and is inclusive of the diverse UT community?
The UT strategic planning process will engage members across the UT community, including faculty, staff, students, deans, vice presidents, leadership, donors and alumni, among others, through interviews and focus groups. These efforts will help shape and provide input on the 10+ year aspiration and vision for UT, as well as emerging strategic priorities to achieve that vision. This first phase of work will be of listening and reflecting that great input into the emerging pillars. In the phases of work to come, we will develop detailed initiatives designed to deliver on those strategic pillars, and this university-wide engagement can offer some insight into who potential initiative owners might be.
- How will I be kept informed?
This website will be the hub for all communication regarding the strategic planning process. We will also be sharing updates regarding progress, findings, events and other information via an email newsletter, social media and other channels.
We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter if you have not yet done so.
- How can I get involved?
We appreciate your interest and are very excited to have you participate! As a starting point, please respond to our survey, which is a means by which we are collecting broad community perspectives on what is important in this process. Please also subscribe to our newsletter for additional opportunities for participation.
If you have additional feedback, you are welcome to send an email to Internal Communications.