Strategy 2025 Documents

PLC Strategy Session Recap

Members of the President’s Leadership Council gathered in person on April 9 for their Impact 2030 strategy session, facilitated by Chis Nelson, chief university relations officer. President Taylor Randall thanked participants for their leadership and emphasized the importance of everyone’s feedback to help guide the strategic plan. He encouraged them to consider not only what they’re excited about but also what obstacles stand in the way and how we can address them.

Chris proceeded to ask several key questions about mission, vision, and values and then invited participants to divide into breakout sessions by topic. A facilitator at each table led discussions and those in attendance were invited to attend two breakouts each. Brief summaries of the breakout sessions are below:

Societal Impact: Discussions about the U’s impact ranged from health care to continuing education to research to athletics. Suggestions to increase impact included broader marketing, more experiential learning, increased alumni engagement, better job placement, additional affordable housing, more influence in state policymaking, increased collaboration with businesses/nonprofits, and more civil discourse to teach students how to contribute to a healthy democracy.

Advancing Research: This group identified three key areas for advancing research. First, they cited a need to increase awareness externally and internally of U research and the collaboration opportunities available. Second, they suggested a parallel incentive program that would help garner more research resources and spread them more evenly across the university. Third, participants mentioned that there should be far more application for grants and awards and that there is a strong need for more mentorship of the next generation of researchers.

Undergraduate Student Enrollment & Success: Participants agreed that the biggest obstacles to undergraduate recruitment include cost, not having a clear mission/tradition story, and not understanding the value of higher education or the ROI of a degree. They also agreed that student job placement would improve if career placement efforts were fully embedded into academic units and were part of the core academic mission. They discussed improving academic advising, creating a more residential campus, making stronger academia-to-industry connections, and increasing recruitment efforts to Utah students at younger ages.

Graduate Student Enrollment & Success: The group agreed that grad program rankings directly impact recruitment, that grad programs need to be tailored to match employment trends, and that the U needs to be more equitable in its graduate student compensation. They discussed the missed opportunity of not accepting students with three-year undergrad degrees (i.e., those from international schools such as Oxford), and they explored other ways the U can meet prospective students where they are to increase graduate program enrollment.

Faculty Retention, Recruitment, & Well-Being: Participants agreed that the U’s “outdoorsy”location and retirement packages are the two biggest draws for recruiting and retaining faculty. On the flip side, the state’s conservative culture, air pollution, water issues, and expensive housing are some drawbacks, as well as low salaries and a lack of a sense of community for faculty. They also discussed how many of the state’s recent policy changes and laws impact our faculty recruitment and retention, especially in health sciences.

Staff Retention, Recruitment, & Well-Being: This group discussed the need for improved hiring practices, including more accurate postings, better communication with candidates, and broader reach. They also discussed increased mentorship for new employees, more career progression opportunities, and more training opportunities. They generally agreed that staff are underpaid and undervalued and that the biggest recruitment draw is the benefits package.

Community Outreach & Engagement: The discussion started with suggesting the U clearly define the “community” it wants to impact. Participants explored themes of how to encourage community engagement, have better transparency and communication, increase its reputation in the local community, and sharpen its value proposition and share it. They suggest the U do more listening and less lecturing to the community, establishing a two-way relationship where they can learn from each other.

Communications & Marketing: Participants discussed themes such as how U of U Health helps enhance the university’s overall reputation, how to boost in- and out-of-state reputation, how the U can reach all parts of Utah, and a desire to communicate internally more clearly. They emphasized a need for more presentations at national conferences as a way to enhance reputation and the need for the U to have a clearer, more identifiable identity/brand.

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