Homepage 2025

MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT RUTH WATKINS


The main and health campuses at the University of Utah have joined in creating a strategic roadmap that ensures a One U approach to the future—a blueprint designed to accelerate the university’s rise as it focuses on four overarching goals: student success, knowledge transfer, community engagement and institutional vitality.

Strategy 2025 is the result of a process launched in spring 2019 that harnessed the creative power of our campus community and stakeholders to shape a new vision, with strategies and measurable outcomes to guide us for the next five years.

Our stakeholders proposed hundreds of ideas, including innovative approaches to education and health care, ways to support the well-being, equity and safety of students, and how to meet the changing demographic, educational, workforce and health care needs of our state and nation. If ever there was a time for us to come together on these issues, it is now. Our world is being reshaped by a pandemic and by the justified calls for a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society. The university is pivoting to be responsive to these global challenges and as the very landscape of higher education, health care and fast-paced technological developments require thoughtful and nimble considerations and implementation.

What follows is a summary of the ideas, themes and tactics that emerged and that will help guide the University of Utah to 2025—and continue our momentum as a leading research university and the state’s preeminent institution of higher education.
 

Ruth Watkins
President
The University of Utah

strategy 2025 data sources

Town Halls & Ideation Sessions

Convened eight town halls that engaged thousands of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members

Alumni Survey

Partnered with Strada Education Network to survey and gather perspectives from 15,000 alumni

U of U Health Strategy Refresh Recommendations

Serving our communities
Education & discovery
Innovating care
Accountability for outcomes

Online Submissions

More than 120 ideas submitted online

Leadership Meetings

University leaders met frequently with various campus and community stakeholders to gather feedback

Exceptional Educational Research

More than 800 students provided feedback about their educational experience

Educational Futures & Student Success Task Force Recommendations

Expand online and certificate offerings
Revise budget models to support new initiatives
Centralize and streamline resources and services
Improve transit, parking and mobility options
Diversify pathways to student success
Utilize our physical infrastructure to its fullest potential
Ensure students have a sense of belonging

OUR VIBRANT CAMPUS COMMUNITY NURTURES CREATIVITY, INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP, EQUIPPING STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS as they join A DYNAMIC AND global WORKFORCE

Promote Student Success to Transform Lives

The core of student success is access, equity, growth, experience and completion. We are building an inclusive community that fosters a sense of belonging, well-being and safety in which every student to thrive. As the movement for racial justice has shown, this commitment is more vital than ever.

The university has made tremendous strides in providing an exceptional educational experience and advancing completion rates. With each new incoming class, the U continues to attract bright students from across the state and globe.

Going forward, the U seeks to engage in individualized partnerships with all students to ensure they develop academically, personally and professionally over their lifetimes. Our vibrant campus community nurtures creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, equipping students for success as they join a dynamic and global workforce.

THEMES FROM STRATEGY 2025
Meet students where they are
  • Increase physical footprint in the community and use community health clinics to reach nontraditional students and areas with high population growth
  • Improve processes and utilization of technologies to ensure delivery of exceptional service and education to each student
  • Increase online educational offerings
  • Develop alternative credentialing options to provide flexibility and enhance the skill sets of students to prepare them for a changing economy
Provide an exceptional educational experience
  • Deepen sense of belonging for all students by providing a foundation of safety and building a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Connect curriculum to career opportunities
  • Develop more structured mentorship opportunities for every student, starting in their first year
  • Provide, strengthen, communicate and connect students to resources, opportunities, events, etc.
  • Provide timely and innovative financial resources and support networks to increase retention and completion, particularly for minoritized and first-generation students
  • Expand and innovate mental health resources for students
  • Deepen the student experience by expanding learning opportunities beyond the classroom
Prepare students for a dynamic and global workforce
  • Develop certificate and certificate-to-degree programs that meet industry needs and student interests
  • Provide more opportunities for undergraduate research, internships, fellowships, international experiences and other career-readiness options
  • Partner with employers to provide hands-on training and experiences
Strengthen the on-campus experience
  • Increase on-campus housing capacity
  • Enliven students’ on-campus experience
  • Create an environment free of hate and committed to an anti-racist climate
  • Increase on-campus job opportunities
  • Continue to improve university safety functions
  • Expand dining and commercial retail options on campus, especially at night
  • Build employer partnerships to support certification and degree completion
  • Identify and develop high-demand micro credentials in collaboration with employers
  • Increase on-campus jobs with structured mentoring and career development components
  • Scale and deploy “retention teams” to target student populations to achieve equity in completion
  • Provide bridge programs for specific demographic and affinity groups
  • Ensure that students receive individualized attention and support
  • Become a leader in racial equity and creation of an anti-racist campus
  • Enhance seamless admission and registration processes
  • Develop a model for university safety focused on empowering community members
  • Review and refine current financial aid and scholarships to align with institutional strategic goals
  • Create more timely and better utilization of financial-aid tools and interventions to increase persistence and completion, such as the For Utah Scholarship and the Invest in U income share agreement program
  • Ensure continuity across online and in-person educational offerings
  • Expand residential options for students
  • Transform campus into a “complete community” by providing more places to live, work, play, eat and shop
  • Create a basic needs center and an emergency aid fund that includes automated micro scholarships/grants
  • Remove barriers and facilitate re-entry and completion for returning U students with incentives such as waiving modest unpaid balances, reviewing past credits and providing mentorship
  • Deploy innovative interventions for mental health: JED Campus, mental health counselors strategically located around campus, tech-enabled preventive services and suicide prevention
  • Increase online education, short-term credentialing and professional master’s degree programs
  • Identify existing minor degrees that can be converted to industry-relevant certificate programs
  • Develop partnerships and more “on-ramps” or bundles of courses to promote college success for target populations
  • Increase enrollment to 40,000 students
  • Achieve six-year completion rate of 80%
  • Address the equity gap: increase completion rates for underrepresented populations
  • Increase the number of students who routinely take at least one online course to 20,000
  • Increase certificate offerings and professional master’s degree programs by 50% to meet workforce needs
  • Achieve national safety accreditation

Develop & Transfer New Knowledge

The University of Utah is recognized as one of the nation’s leading research institutions as evidenced by its selection as a member of the Association of American Universities. The U is engaged in research, scholarship and generation of knowledge that seeks to solve grand societal challenges and positively affect the state, the nation and the world--a role highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic. The importance of our role as a research institution and the high quality of our work is reflected in increases in sponsored project funding, faculty publications, and awards and projects that benefit our communities. The U aspires to continue this momentum while also broadening the diversity of faculty and researchers who are producing new knowledge and expanding our understanding of the world.

THEMES FROM STRATEGY 2025
Solve serious challenges of our time
  • Be the place the world looks to for experts and leaders to research and solve our biggest challenges, such as: cancer, diabetes, communicable diseases, suicide prevention, mental health, interpersonal violence, equitable public safety, immigration and human rights, climate change, air quality and energy innovations
  • Orient research agenda, make investments in and align faculty hires to directly address societal needs
  • Build on a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation to ensure long-term economic vitality with a focus on informatics, artificial intelligence, data science and ethical challenges related to rapid changes in a technologically based society
adopt structural changes that increase One U success
  • Expand campuswide infrastructure to incentivize and support diversity, interdisciplinary and nontraditional programs through, for example, large-scale grants, courses, projects, centers, labs and faculty appointments
  • Increase programmatic opportunities for students, scholars and staff across campus to support professional success, with particular attention to increasing opportunities to add diversity
  • Improve communication of research opportunities and potential faculty partnerships, etc.
Enhance career development opportunities
  • Support and develop programs for a new generation of researchers
  • Offer more internships, fellowships and tangible work experiences for new researchers
  • Expand career development opportunities and campuswide communication about mentorship for junior faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate students
  • Deepen industry engagement to facilitate research and student career opportunities
  • Building upon our strengths, restructure the existing models for resource allocation to incentivize more university-level interdisciplinary collaborations, faculty appointments, centers and labs, courses, student credit hours, etc. focused on solving compelling challenges
  • Expand resources for grand challenge issues, through seed grant programs such as 1U4U, the Degree Completion Challenge, Air Quality Symposium, etc.
  • Build capacity and resources for developing strong proposals for competitive external grants of all sizes
  • Incentivize research excellence as evidenced by performance measures
  • Develop campuswide programs to support first-generation researchers, young faculty, graduate students, and fellows linked to career success as evidenced by federal funding, scholarly activity, etc.
  • Revise graduate student and postdoc training to be more interdisciplinary and increase the number of fellowships, particularly for underrepresented groups
  • Scale the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and heighten national recognition
  • Create interprofessional education opportunities via course schedule alignment to facilitate cross-disciplinary learning
  • Improve collaboration between people with similar research and scholarship interests
  • Use research activity to positively impact society by enhancing prevention, access and care, and producing new devices, therapeutics and software that improve health and delivery of health care
  • Transform campus into an interdisciplinary living lab
  • Continue the upward trajectory of annual research awards with a goal of approaching or exceeding $650 million in funding support
  • Increase major prizes and awards received by faculty to 1,200
  • Increase support for interdisciplinary research partnerships between main campus and health sciences that are focused on solving societal issues as measured by initiatives, centers, programs, labs, seed funding and grants
  • Increase funding for research aimed at producing positive benefits for underrepresented populations
  • Increase the number of innovative technologies that positively impact society and move from concept to market by 20%
  • Continue to strengthen systems and build capacity to ensure research lab safety and compliance, including travel safety mechanisms to support research endeavors
THE U IS one of america's leading research universities
THROUGH COLLABORATION AROUND A SET OF SHARED GOALS, WE WILL POSITION THE U AS A NATIONAL LEADER IN COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Engage Communities to Improve Education, Health, Economic Well-Being & Quality of Life

As the state’s flagship university, the U is the University for Utah just as it is the University of Utah. The U embraces its role as a vital anchor institution serving the education, health and economic needs of Utah, catalyzing the state’s economic engine and engaging students in impactful community service and learning opportunities. The U also serves as the state’s major art, culture and athletics hub. Our reciprocal grassroots partnerships with stakeholders from across the state foster improved education, health, economic well-being and quality of life for Utah families. Through collaboration around a set of shared goals, we will position the U as a national leader in community engagement while recognizing our state's changing demographics. It is incumbent upon us as an anchor institution to embrace and serve our state's diverse communities, a role particularly important in times of great economic and social disruption.

THEMES FROM STRATEGY 2025
Meet our communities where they are
  • Expand presence, outreach, admissions and partnerships in underserved, rural and growing parts of the state
  • Engage the “some college, no degree” population and alumni by delivering credential and non-degree program opportunities
  • Incentivize community engagement, research and community-based courses that boost workforce readiness
  • Expand fine arts, cultural and athletics outreach to the community
Develop and strengthen reciprocal partnerships
  • Create more and deepen employer, government and nonprofit partnerships in education, research, employment and economic development opportunities
  • Increase collaboration among campus units to facilitate community engagement
  • Strengthen partnerships with Salt Lake Community College and other higher education institutions to enhance transfer pathways
  • Expand and deepen outreach and recruitment efforts to elementary, middle and high schools
  • Utilize our expertise and excellence in arts and education to innovate and extend new knowledge and cultural enhancements to our communities
  • Create structural changes that build capacity for One U success
  • Broaden engagement of alumni, expand alumni networks and enhance student/alumni connections
  • Strengthen international partnerships and student recruitment through our global hubs in Ghana and South Korea, while ensuring constituent safety
Strategic marketing, branding and community presence
  • Increase visibility and cohesive U branding in the community
  • Strengthen town and gown relationships to enhance community connections to the U
  • Add community engagement and impact on society to the retention, promotion and tenure and other faculty evaluation criteria
  • Create a One U community engagement network led by a chief community engagement officer and presidential community engagement council
  • Create an economic engagement plan and leadership strategy
  • Increase engagement with community members who have “some college, no degree” to encourage them to finish their degrees and pursue credentials or certificates
  • Engage alumni in additional educational opportunities such as non-credit programs and certificate opportunities
  • Increase physical footprint and engagement in growing areas of the state through strategic, statewide higher education and employer partnerships focused on meeting Utah’s workforce needs
  • Expand coordinated and strategic K-12 outreach to create more summer pathway experiences for middle and high school students, with an emphasis on historically marginalized and currently underserved communities
  • Work with downtown businesses and organizations to increase the U presence and branding to instill a feeling of a “University City”
  • Build partnerships to leverage economic development tools to further town and gown opportunities close to campus and in Research Park
  • Partner with public and private entities to create innovation districts in strategic locations
  • Expand fine arts, cultural and athletics outreach to the community
  • Leverage existing community collaborations (i.e., University Neighborhood Partners) and expand community partnerships with entities such as the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City to increase societal impact
  • Strengthen partnerships with state public safety agencies
  • Strengthen partnerships with community organizations where appropriate
  • Pursue process for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation
  • Explore the creation of a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center
  • Create a One U community engagement network
  • Increase number of Utahns served by U of U Health to 1 in 5 by growing our capacity to serve patients through use of digital technologies, telehealth, community clinics and affiliate hospital networks
  • Increase interdisciplinary research, community collaboration and health services throughout the state focused on the most pressing challenges through efforts such as the Huntsman Mental Health Initiative, Driving Out Diabetes, suicide prevention and air quality and racial justice initiatives
  • Increase student participation in community-engaged learning courses and grow service hours to 200,000
  • Expand degree completion options for community members with “some college, no degree” and community college partnerships
  • Broaden the U’s alumni network by increasing the number and quality of touchpoints, both in Utah and around the world

Ensure Long-Term Vitality of the University

The University of Utah is on the rise, thanks in large measure to the achievements of our campus community and support we receive from the state, our stakeholders and funding organizations. Our goal is to ensure long-term vitality through the effective use of resources while improving the campus infrastructure and growing endowments and capital support. This will be achieved through innovations in health care and education and use of digital technology to provide broader, high-quality and efficient services. We also must work to ensure we are providing relevant and in-demand educational opportunities for students across their lifetimes and responding to the changing demographics of our state. As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, our vitality also depends on our ability to be adaptable and nimble in meeting societal challenges.

THEMES FROM STRATEGY 2025
Meet needs in growing areas of the state
  • Go and grow where the people are and offer a range of educational and health services
  • Offer more degrees and credentials in line with evolving workforce needs and opportunities
  • Leverage technology and communication platforms to better serve our communities
Invest in our people
  • Increase mentorship and career development for staff, faculty and students, emphasizing diversity
  • Invest in intentional promotion of faculty for national recognition
  • Develop retention, promotion and tenure and other structural processes to recognize international, interdisciplinary and community engagement work
  • Provide more accessible child care for students, staff and faculty
  • Build a safety infrastructure that allows the U community to feel safe and focus on work, education and other activities while on campus
Enliven the campus experience
  • Partner with the private sector to develop a more vibrant zone of commercial services and offerings in walking distance of campus
  • Transform campus into a “complete community” by providing more places to live, work, play, eat and shop
  • Increase engagement of students in athletics events
  • Increase student participation in arts and cultural activities on campus
Increase comprehensive and strategic marketing
  • Create more strategic, sophisticated and stratified marketing of the U
  • Simplify navigation of and improve websites campuswide to better communicate resources, opportunities, events, etc. for our campus community and for prospective students and families
Improve resource stewardship
  • Centralize, embed and/or outsource processes and procedures where it makes financial and service-level sense
  • Lead in sustainability via an emissions policy, transportation partnerships, procurement guidelines and a landscape master plan
  • Consolidate, develop and refresh technologies and centralize data and analytics to better serve our constituents
Enhance space utilization
  • Revitalize housing for families, as well as graduate and international students
  • Increase summer enrollment and diversity of academic pathways, including engagement of middle and high school students
  • Improve utilization of existing buildings, classrooms and lab spaces
  • Use community health clinics for educational support, classes, etc.
  • Evaluate and modernize internal business and financial services
  • Evaluate student services models to improve customer experience, effectiveness and efficiency
  • Enhance data analytics and predictive capabilities
  • Review university expenses to identify savings to be redirected toward growth strategies
  • Review and revise the academic budget model to better support innovation, collaboration and the common good in education and training, research and scholarship, and common infrastructure and services
  • Evaluate non-core assets and activities and consider roles for third-party partners
  • Monetize non-core assets to unlock capital in support of the institutional missions
  • Expand engagement at our global hubs in Ghana and South Korea through learning abroad, student and
    faculty exchange programs and research
  • Support building an infrastructure priority list in conjunction with the campus master plan
  • Increase marketing and communication efforts regarding our research and academic successes to position the University of Utah as a leader in discovery, health care, educational excellence and societal innovation
  • Develop additional mechanisms to recruit, develop and retain high-potential staff, faculty and researchers, with an emphasis on increasing our diversity
  • Continue strategic development of digital and telehealth strategies to better address population health and social determinants of well-being to broader geographic areas
  • Increase the education and development of employees in high-demand health care, STEM and technical fields to meet the needs of the state and regional workforce
  • Enhance our enrollment management strategy to reach growing diverse and non-traditional populations
  • Develop partnerships with public and private entities to create innovation districts in strategic locations
  • Expand the culture of philanthropy among alumni and friends of the university to broaden financial support of strategic goals
  • Explore and develop public-private partnerships for housing and commercial projects
  • Increase the university’s endowment to approach or exceed $1.3 billion
  • Meet or exceed capital campaign goal of $2 billion
  • Achieve 50% carbon neutrality by the year 2025, 80% by 2040, and 100% by 2050 and reduce energy costs by 10% by 2025
  • Create new revenue-generating opportunities and partnerships
  • Position the U to be recognized as a desirable place for highly talented people to work
  • Increase both faculty and staff diversity by 35% each
  • Develop and implement a Leadership Development Program to enhance the career development and effectiveness of our organization
  • Continue strategic expansion of educational and health care points of access by advancing key facilities projects: MEDX, HELIX, Applied Sciences Building, Ken Garff Performance Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Kahlert Village, Fine Arts theatre projects, the Union Building and the SLCC/U of U Herriman Project
  • Implement value engineering practices to reduce cost of new buildings or renovations by at least 10%
the university of utah is on the rise, thanks in large measure to the achievements of our campus community and support from the state, our stakeholders and funding organizations

CONCLUSION

We are grateful for the way our campus stakeholders have come together to share ideas and strategies for how we reach the next milestones at the University of Utah. The vision you are helping to shape today will make us a stronger, more vibrant university in the future and will enhance the mission, vision and values that have always been our foundation.

With this strategy refresh document in hand, we will truly act as One U to fulfill our role as one of America’s leading research universities and as the University for Utah, meeting the needs of our state, the nation and the world. We will be living up to our pledge to provide every student at the University of Utah an exceptional educational experience. And we will demonstrate the nimbleness and adaptability of our university in pivoting to meet new challenges.

Thank you for your partnership in this endeavor.

The University of Utah Strategy 2025 Documents

 
 

Strategy 2025

 
 

U of U Health Strategy Refresh

 
 

Educational Futures & Student Success Taskforce