The University of Louisiana

Tradition – Transition - Transformation
The 2009-2014 Strategic Plan


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Strategic Planning Assumptions
Our Eight Strategic Imperatives
    1 ǀ Strengthening student recruitment and enrollment processes
    2 ǀ Enhancing student engagement and success
    3 ǀ Facilitating quality teaching and learning
    4 ǀ Supporting the research portfolio of our community of scholars
    5 ǀ Preparing our students to thrive as global citizens
    6 ǀ Creating an institution our stakeholders will highly regard
    7 ǀ Optimizing administrative effectiveness and efficiency
    8 ǀ Fostering economic and community development

Our Strategic Planning Environment
In June 2008, after 34 years in the presidency, Dr. Ray Authement retired as the longest standing chief executive officer of a four-year public institution of higher learning in the United States. During his tenure, he orchestrated the evolution of the University from one with a regional name and influence to one with internationally-acknowledged signature degree programs enrolling over 16,000 baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral students. In this new millennium, UL has indeed emerged as a global newsmaker. Team CajunBot developed an autonomous land vehicle that has participated as a finalist in three exclusive races sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Beausoleil Team was one of 20 chosen worldwide to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy's 2009 Solar Decathlon in which universities design and build an experimental house powered entirely by the sun. The Mini-Baja team recently placed fourth in an international contest sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. And the CAPE 1 team constructed and launched a picosatellite now orbiting the earth. But we, the University of Louisiana, have not always been here at the cusp of distinction.$$President Authement led the University of Louisiana through an era characterized by an unpredictable and undiversified regional economy and, consequently, during a period of widely fluctuating and inadequate state funding. Exacerbating these fiscal challenges were both an inflexible tuition and fee structure and the deeply embedded desire of the University to keep collegiate education as accessible and affordable as possible for first-generation Acadiana students. But out of this challenging environment was developed an extreme culture of economic conservatism, of doing more with less. The University further benefits from the generation of $50 million in annual extramural funding, a foundation endowment of $100 million, and a recently approved opportunity to raise tuition from one of lowest levels in the nation.

A notable strategic advantage of the University is our uniqueness in areas difficult to replicate. Examples abound, from the aesthetic—Cypress Lake, the managed wetland located just steps from the Student Union, the only swamp found on a university campus anywhere to be inhabited by alligators—to the profoundly futuristic—the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, located in the Research Park, harnessing the power of supercomputers to quickly transform massive amounts of data into three-dimensional images— the only facility of its kind in the world accessible for commercial and economic development purposes.

In addition, we are strengthened by our university’s many positive attributes: our qualified faculty, who daily manifest both their passion for teaching and compassion for our students; the unparalleled commitment of our service and support staff, whom students explicitly recognize as being critical to their success; our better prepared and achievement- oriented student body; our strong liberal arts emphasis, structured to create holistically knowledgeable and ethical life-long learners; the proud and supportive locals who, without overt invitation, regularly wear red on Fridays in a spirited act of solidarity; the encompassing sense of community and cohesion manifested by our diverse campus family; our generous donors and benefactors who entrust us with significant endowments; our broad-based dedication to community outreach; and our advanced technological positioning and infrastructure, visibly evident across campus from our numerous student- funded SMART classrooms to our supercomputer, Zeke, situated to capitalize on the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI) and the National LambdaRail.

Even so, we understand our enthusiasm ought be tempered by a realism regarding related challenges and limitations that mitigate our strengths and often lead to the genesis of intolerable paradoxes. To illustrate, during the past five years, over $150 million of campus construction has yielded numerous new and renovated academic and student support facilities. Yet we now find that our campus of over 200 structures is landlocked, with many buildings suffering the effects of years of deferred maintenance.

Other dichotomies abound. For example, the University’s administration team is motivated and poised to lead our institution beyond our extant prominence, yet crippled by the inability to exploit evident strategic opportunities because of its structural leanness. We are nationally lauded for having the country’s most distinctive moniker in the Ragin’ Cajuns, yet we fail to recruit and retain coaching and athletic department staff needed for our namesake to become associated with a winning tradition. Our alumni are anecdotally proud of their association with the University, but are relatively inactive in contributing to annual funds or in participating in other forms of giving back. Our students are fiercely loyal and possess a robust sense of family values, but their insular attachments too often serve to dissuade them from travelling or studying abroad. Admissions criteria, fully implemented in 2005, have elevated the academic credentials of our student body to levels exceeding the national average, yet attrition in the honors program remains inexplicably high. We recently celebrated the acquisition of the millionth volume housed in our library, yet we increasingly serve a population technologically and socially oriented to consider a library a virtual destination rather than a physical place.

In all these realms, we concede the opportunity to do better. Hence, this strategic plan. It is a plan borne out of the recognition that this is the time – a time of transition and of opportunity – in which we are ideally suited to celebrate our traditions and strengths, acknowledge our challenges, and intentionally pursue the transformation to distinction of which we are imminently capable.

The Strategic Planning Process In July 2007, the James L. Fisher, Ltd. educational consultancy firm was retained to conduct an institutional effectiveness audit in anticipation of the search for and subsequent inauguration of a new president. Dr. Fisher and his team carried out a thorough document review and met with over 250 UL constituents in preparing the environmental scan. His final report on the state of the University issued in October 2007 yielded numerous suggestions.

These suggestions became the framework upon which incoming President E. Joseph Savoie formulated, in April 2008, six thematic advisory teams collectively comprised of over 75 internal and external stakeholders. In July 2008, the advisory teams presented their much-heralded recommendations to the campus and the community. The CEO of Noel-Levitz higher education consultancy visited in September 2008, and after meeting with 74 representatives from all areas of campus, offered insight into enhancing our enrollment process, with particular emphasis on student recruiting and retention. In October 2008, these reports were integrated with existing planning and governance documents to form the corpus of this strategic plan.

During that same month, several forums were conducted and moderated by both internal and external facilitators to discuss and modify the proposed plan. In attendance at these sessions were faculty members, department heads, research center directors, deans, vice presidents, and service/ support directors and coordinators. As a result of feedback gathered, the plan underwent several iterations to reach its present state. An invitation for comment and the actual plan were posted for public review on the Faculty Senate website in October 2008, and it was presented to student body and UL Foundation representatives in November. After incorporating the reactions of these stakeholders, the plan was adopted by the University Council in early February 2009.

Strategic Planning Assumptions
We are collectively proud of our past accomplishments, although many remain unknown to those not regularly engaged in campus life. Consequently, the plan must reflect our desire to explicitly reveal not only those goals to which we aspire, but also those domains where we are eagerly striving to capitalize on our strengths. It must also preserve our proud heritage and those traditions that make us unique and differentiate us from other esteemed universities. The plan must acknowledge that the University finds itself at a critical intersection of the past and the future, with the ascendancy of a new president and the strengthening academic preparation of the incoming student body. Despite the financial challenges and uncertainties currently facing the University, state and nation , we recognize that it is critical to persist in our dedicated pursuit of our strategic imperatives. This plan reflects the atypical place and time of transition in which we find ourselves, a transition which obligates us to act decisively and rapidly so as to capitalize on the energy and willingness of the faculty and staff to collaborate as we seek the realization of the transformation promised in our vision.

The University of Louisiana, the largest member of the University of Louisiana System, is a public institution of higher education offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Within the Carnegie classification, UL is designated as a Research University with high research activity. The University’s academic programs are administered by the Colleges of the Arts, Education, Engineering, General Studies, Liberal Arts, Nursing & Allied Health Professions, B. I. Moody III College of Business Administration, Ray P. Authement College of the Sciences, and the Graduate School. The University is dedicated to achieving excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, in research, and in public service. For undergraduate education, this commitment implies a fundamental subscription to general education, rooted in the primacy of the traditional liberal arts and sciences as the core around which all curricula are developed. The graduate programs seek to develop scholars who will variously advance knowledge, cultivate aesthetic sensibility, and improve the material conditions of humankind. The University reaffirms its historic commitment to diversity and integration. Thus, through instruction, research, and service, the University promotes regional economic and cultural development, explores solutions to national and world issues, and advances its reputation among its peers.

To further the University’s evolution as a distinctive institution recognized as a catalyst for transformation—of students, faculty, staff, Acadiana, Louisiana, and the globe—through its engagement in research, scholarship, creativity, and the enhancement of our unique culture.

UL’s core values reflect the principles in which we believe and to which we aspire as we collaborate and persist toward the fulfillment of our mission.
1ǀ Access, opportunity and success for all students as we synergistically partner with them in their development as globally-responsible, productive citizens.
2ǀ An informed appreciation for and desire to contribute to our culturally-rich and unique community, which simultaneously embodies a progressive spirit of creativity, a dedicated work ethic, a resilient value for family, and a robust joie de vivre.
3ǀ The creation and dissemination of knowledge that elevates the stature of our community of scholars and contributes to the betterment of our world.
4ǀ Civility and integrity in all of our interactions to promote a collegial, diverse and healthful learning environment.
5ǀ Engagement of all our stakeholders in our pluralistic quest to fulfill our mission.
6ǀ Stewardship which demonstrates an appreciation and respect for all the resources
which we can impact and which have been entrusted to us.
7ǀ Commitment to open communication and constructive dialogue to foster a shared understanding of our progress, challenges and accomplishments.

Our Eight Strategic Imperatives
1. Strengthening student recruitment and enrollment processes
2. Enhancing student engagement and success
3. Facilitating quality teaching and learning
4. Supporting the research portfolio of our community of scholars
5. Preparing our students to thrive as global citizens
6. Creating an institution our stakeholders will highly regard
7. Optimizing administrative effectiveness and efficiency
8. Fostering economic and community development

Strategic Imperative 1 ǀ Strengthening student recruitment and enrollment processes
1A ǀ To raise awareness and enhance the visibility of our institution

  • create a unified and integrated website with appropriate interactivity, utility,
  • comprehensiveness, aesthetics and communicative capacity
  • showcase the University through cutting-edge marketing and promotion
  • promote our graduate programs more vigorously
  • determine and attain the student population size that meets workforce and societal
  • demands and maximizes efficient utilization of resources
  • recruit students with increasingly stronger academic preparation, credentials and talents

1B ǀ To advance our positioning as an institution of ‘choice’

  • review and improve the process and effectiveness of awarding scholarships and financial aid
  • invigorate the Honors Program
  • improve cleanliness, general conditions and the physical attractiveness of the campus
  • ensure environmental sustainability, safety and physical accessibility on campus
  • build new residence halls and improve existing student housing
  • modernize and restore historic facilities and renovate Martin Hall
  • engage in academic facilities planning to ensure an appropriate learning environment

1C ǀ To better manage our enrollment processes

  • create a comprehensive strategic enrollment management plan
  • partner with secondary and other post-secondary educational institutions
  • develop improved electronic communications networks with students
  • enhance the number and success of transfer students
  • revamp and elevate the relevance of orientation for all students

Strategic Imperative 2 ǀ Enhancing student engagement and success
2A ǀ To create a meaningful first-year experience

  • develop a substantive and formative first-year seminar for incoming students
  • foster commitment to making a difference through community engagement
  • bond students with others through learning communities
  • provide resources to assist students with choosing or affirming their choice of major

2B ǀ To improve the campus climate for students

  • construct a student union to serve as the gateway to campus life
  • enrich the vitality of campus life through extra- and co-curricular activities and organizations
  • create synergies among and optimally integrate student support and service units
  • improve service to internal and external constituents
  • ensure policies, rules and procedures facilitate student engagement and campus involvement
  • support emerging forms of appropriate electronic media to enhance student communication

2C ǀ To increase the number of students graduating

  • implement an online degree audit system
  • increase the graduation rates of transfer, at-risk, non-traditional and underrepresented students through the nurturing of appropriate
  • support services and programs
  • grow selected undergraduate and graduate programs
  • involve career services early in our students’ academic progression
  • increase the number of graduates in high-demand professions
  • reduce the average time required for undergraduate students to matriculate

Strategic Imperative 3 ǀ Facilitating quality teaching and learning
3A ǀ To recruit and hire the best faculty for student learning

  • enhance commitment to faculty development
  • reinforce quality teaching and student research
  • promote faculty diversity
  • engage adjunct faculty members in the life of the University
  • motivate faculty to provide more course offerings in the summer
  • create and fill all currently vacant endowed chairs with faculty of national prominence

3B ǀ To enhance the classroom experience

  • continue pursuing learning-oriented IT infrastructure opportunities
  • create increased opportunities for active learning and community engagement
  • raise the profile of graduate study and create the environment and funding structure for growth
  • offer distance learning to select markets and assure high quality delivery
  • increase student opportunities to customize a viable cross-disciplinary degree program
  • grow and encourage internships and co-op experiences

3C ǀ To improve learning through evidence-based assessment

  • increase staffing in the office of institutional research
  • proactively incorporate institutional research in university planning processes
  • implement an integrated enterprise management system
  • continue a coordinated assessment of institutional and student learning outcomes

Strategic Imperative 4 ǀ Supporting the research portfolio of our community of scholars
4A ǀ To plan strategically for enhanced research efforts and results

  • develop an integrated, coherent approach to incentivizing, measuring and promoting research productivity at the individual, college and
  • university levels
  • clearly define and support the attainment of aggregate productivity targets in the basic, applied and pedagogical domains of research

4B ǀ To foster the creation of rigorous research and other eminent intellectual contributions

  • increase attainment of competitive federally- and industry-supported grants for funding research and graduate assistants
  • explicitly incorporate quality as a performance dimension
  • forge avenues for interdisciplinary collaboration on meaningful and influential research projects
  • ensure access to and availability of the informational and physical resources necessary for the creation of high-impact contributions in all academic disciplines

4C ǀ To focus on signature initiatives supporting the future of our earth and society

  • launch innovative and non-redundant signature initiatives to take
  • advantage of our potential strengths and external opportunities for funding and support
  • consider development efforts and a research foundation dedicated to funding viable programs of basic research

4D ǀ To grow successful academic centers and programs to enable greater levels of achievement

  • encourage center staff members to engage in reciprocal interaction with academic departments
  • ensure provision of a budget to cover essential center needs when warranted by a positive return on investment

Strategic Imperative 5 ǀ Preparing our students to thrive as global citizens
5A ǀ To widen our global perspective

  • centralize functions associated with international students and internationalization
  • increase the number of international students and exchange faculty
  • engage international students in campus life
  • expand and invest in study abroad programs to maximize student opportunities for participation
  • internationalize the curriculum in all colleges
  • develop strategic partnerships with international universities
  • sponsor intercultural events on campus

5B ǀ To ensure our students are poised to face major challenges of the 21st century
reinforce the importance and acceptance of diversity
emphasize sustainability and actions for prudently handling
environmental resources
enable students to evaluate rationally the causes of problems
facing our society and our world
socialize students to value and internalize the need to protect
human rights

Strategic Imperative 6 ǀ Creating an institution our stakeholders will highly regard
6A ǀ To make university accomplishments more evident

  • strategically improve branding and marketing of current endeavors
  • develop brand recognition of, preference for, and loyalty to the University
  • publicize high-profile (signature) initiatives, research contributions and academic programs
  • focus on enhancing and broadening our institutional reputation

6B ǀ To provide support for the athletic programs and the Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation

  • strategically and systematically renovate athletic facilities through support of a capital campaign and other sources of nontraditional financing
  • develop an academic center for student athletes to enhance their educational success
  • establish an endowment for athletics to increase competitiveness within the conference

6C ǀ To increase voluntary contributions for educational purposes

  • develop an integrative master plan for donor relations, fund raising and stewardship with the collaboration of the UL Foundation
  • determine the optimal relationship between the University and affiliated organizations such as the UL Foundation and the Alumni Association
  • elevate the role and responsibility of academic colleges in fund raising initiatives
  • improve alumni relations through the creation of contemporary engagement opportunities

6D ǀ To plan for the growth needs of the University

  • formalize a master plan for the use and future expansion of university properties and facilities
  • develop property acquisition and disposal policies

Strategic Imperative 7 ǀ Optimizing administrative effectiveness and efficiency
7A ǀ To focus on human resource management challenges

  • change the evaluation of faculty performance and the awarding of merit pay to a system that simultaneously reflects budgetary constraints, motivational factors and institutional priorities
  • streamline and expedite hiring procedures for faculty
  • monitor and ensure compensation at all ranks and for all contractual faculty is competitive with appropriate benchmarks
  • develop a comprehensive system for the hiring, evaluation, equitable compensation and best-practices management of unclassified professional staff
  • ensure adequate administrative support staff
  • determine and meet classified staff needs for evaluation, development and recognition

7B ǀ To optimally structure the organization

  • examine the formal and informal administrative organization and reporting structures to ensure the appropriate level of (de)centralization
  • automate the purchasing process and post comprehensive budgets and available financial resources online
  • foster communication among internal stakeholders
  • create a culture emphasizing the value of exceptional service
  • combine local, state and federal relations into a single government relations office
  • strategically reengineer the centralized information technology unit

Strategic Imperative 8 ǀ Fostering economic and community development
8A ǀ To support internal stakeholders working to generate a positive economic, scientific, cultural or social impact

  • increase access to and awarding of external funds for research and other learning activities
  • foster activities of internal stakeholders that have the potential for enterprising ventures
  • incentivize the invention and commercialization of intellectual property
  • encourage interdisciplinary initiatives that preserve our regional culture
  • engage in outreach to enhance regional citizens’ physical health and well-being

8B ǀ To further develop the research park to enable both research generation and economic development

  • develop a master plan for the park’s future growth
  • strategically cultivate tenants based on consideration of synergistic collaborations and economic sustainability
  • carefully segment and locate prospective tenants in each of the University’s research intensive sites and locations

8C ǀ To increase the interface between the community and university

  • create a regional economic development council to leverage our intellectual assets and applied research for the betterment of the area
  • continue and make known our emphasis on partnering with regional not-for-profit enterprises
  • collaborate with pre-collegiate institutions to provide educational opportunities for underserved populations

8D ǀ To enhance the vibrancy of the State of Louisiana

  • collaborate with economic development entities to mitigate exporting of state educated college graduates

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