Serving Georgia: UGA's Response To Georgia's Key Challenges
Georgia's challenges demand a new level of imagination and commitment from its flagship, land-grant, research university. The University must, in the service of Georgia, reach for and attain new heights of teaching quality, scholarship, research and service. It must, if Georgia is to fulfill its potential and its citizens to fulfill theirs, become one of the premier research universities, not only in America, but in the world.
It is anticipated that this must happen in two ways: First, we must achieve and maintain excellence in teaching, research and service in each of the disciplines in which the University offers programs. We must not allow the siren songs of new programs to distract the institution from its first priority of allocating its resources to ensure that its teaching of both undergraduates and graduate students, in each of the programs of study it offers, is of the highest possible quality.
Second, the University must indeed adjust its curriculum and its structures of disciplinary organization to meet the new challenges and opportunities of the rapidly changing world. It is not obligated, of course, to offer all programs of higher education study; it is, however, obligated to offer those most needed by the citizens of Georgia for the foreseeable future, and to adjust its resources to support those programs.
Achieving and being recognized as a land-grant research university of the highest quality are two different things, but both will require at least the following:
- A library of the highest quality. UGA's library is already superb, and moving in all the right directions to continue to provide information support at the highest level. We must provide the support it needs to continue its leadership.
- National leadership in the disciplines comprising Arts and Sciences. The life sciences at UGA are arguably our strongest research area (as well as our largest), with Ecology, Chemistry and Mathematics also of very high quality. Political Science (including Public Administration), English, History, Art and Music are all large departments with potential for achieving national leadership, given sufficient resources and resource management.
- Agriculture remains the single largest segment of Georgia's economy. Clearly, agriculture is important to the future of our state and the various and many programs at the University of Georgia which support and enlarge the agriculture of Georgia will continue to be of paramount priority.
- National-caliber schools of law and business. These fields are indispensable to the mission of the land-grant university in the contemporary world - they are where education makes business happen. Both UGA's Law School and Terry College of Business, have the potential, if properly supported by their alumni and other external constituencies, to rank among the best in the nation at the end of a decade of focused hiring, management, resource development and ambitious labor by faculty and staff.
- Outstanding regional leadership, and competitive national and international presence by the other colleges and schools of the University: Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Education, Environmental Design, Family and Consumer Sciences, Warnell School of Forest Resources, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Pharmacy, Social Work, and Veterinary Medicine.
- New programs that respond to emerging interests of students, strengths of the current faculty and opportunities for new resource development.
- An expanded volume of research, scholarship and creative endeavors, supported by a substantial increase in badly needed research space across the campus.
- Superior teaching in all of its myriad forms, including residential and tutorial, fully aided by the vast array of information technology now increasing the range of teaching and learning opportunities almost daily.
- A major commitment to achieve the highest level of information technology support for all areas of the institution. This will be an area of major new expense for the imaginable future, but without a world-class information technology environment UGA cannot hope to be a world-class university.
In each of its programs, in each area of teaching, research and service, and in every dimension of its thinking, the University has as its first and foremost goal the high calling of "Serving Georgia." Teaching its students with care and distinction, pursuing new discoveries and artistic creations that will enrich and improve the lives of our citizens and continually looking for ways in which the expertise of faculty and the other manifold assets of the institution can be utilized to benefit the state is the fundamental mission of the University of Georgia.
The Three Revolutions of Higher Education
There are currently three great revolutions of extraordinary consequence for American higher education: The information technology revolution; the global recasting of everything we do; and the revolution in biology. Each of these revolutions has created new frontiers for achievement in teaching, research and service; each has raised the bar for achievement for higher education of the highest quality.
Information Technology and the New Learning Environment
The revolution in learning, teaching, research, service and communications created by information technology has already begun to transform both the practice of and planning for higher education. It is anticipated that higher education will change more over the next decade than it has over the past millennia. The paradoxical result of the new capabilities of "distance education" is that distance is no longer an issue: Both traditional higher education and the "lifelong" learning required by the rapidly changing world of contemporary professional life are being reshaped and transformed by the new communications technologies and the Internet.
With the accelerated move to high-tech interactivity comes the accelerated requirements for a more personal, "high-touch," strongly residential, educational environment. Great universities are finding myriad new ways to develop and combine the human and technological resources now available to create an entirely new environment for learning, an environment that is richer, more effective, more stimulating and more continuous than ever before. This environment must be both personally customized and globally relevant, both technologically sophisticated and intellectually contemplative.
The learning environment must, in class and out, foster engagement with both the traditional disciplines of liberal education and the key issues of the day and the future, including those related to the environment, the global economy and culture, and the responsibilities of the educated person in the community.
The Globalization of Everything
In The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas Friedman has illustrated effectively that every organization is linked and anchored inextricably to global interactions. The abstract concept of international understanding has been, and will continue to be, a traditional value of education: Socrates said "I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." The practical effect of "globalization" is that it affects nearly every aspect of life. Educational programs, regardless of level, must provide tangible recognition of this evolving perspective.
The study of the art, history, literature, language, business, politics, religion and culture of other countries, coupled with a working understanding of international dynamics, is now a fundamental part of the education necessary for success in any profession. International education is no longer an ancillary concept: Study abroad programs and related academic initiatives are no longer auxiliary add-ons to college and university experiences. International education programs and activities must be considered as core elements of any academic program.
Mark Twain observed, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.... Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the earth all one's lifetime." Involvement in international education programs has a similar impact on students and is becoming increasingly a part of any thoughtful undergraduate and graduate educational program.
The New World of Biology
The revolutions going on in biology are frontpage news: The combination of information technology, robotics and the advancement of the life sciences has made possible a whole new age of discovery. This revolution was initiated in a university laboratory with the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. The mapping and sequencing of the human genome, and of every other living thing on earth, that is going on now in laboratories, particularly university laboratories, all over the world is an extraordinary moment in human history, but is in many ways only the beginning: These discoveries will provide the tools for advances in our understanding of life beyond our wildest imagination even two decades ago.
Strategic Vision for UGA in 2010
Fully aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by Georgia's needs and by these three intellectual and cultural revolutions, the students, faculty and staff of the University have developed a vision for the University of Georgia for the next decade which will create the kind of public, land-grant, research university that will serve Georgia and Georgians in new, exciting and vitally important ways - while maintaining the traditional strengths and strong student-centered values of the University.
That vision for UGA includes the following:
- Endowment support for faculty will have the highest priority, both to provide new positions in support of teaching and research at the highest level, and to provide "start-up" support for new faculty. The first and foremost requirement of a great university is great faculty - inspiring teachers and scholars and researchers of the first rank.
- Investment in research in the sciences will intensify, particularly in the areas of the environment, genomics, bioinformatics and the biomedical sciences. Research facilities across campus will be a high priority for public and private support. Support for public-private partnerships, technology-transfer and other research-based business development activities will be dramatically increased.
- Recognizing the indispensable role they play in building a fine quality of life, we will continue to strengthen our programs in the humanities and the fine and applied arts, which already include some of our strongest departments, programs and facilities. The best people and firms will not come to or stay in Georgia without a fine quality of life.
- Information technology and support will be upgraded in every aspect of institutional activity. It is anticipated that within five years UGA must develop a learning environment in which all students will benefit from a rich combination of classroom-based and distance learning opportunities. Programs of study teaching students to "think with computers" will become central elements of the standard undergraduate education.
- The University will grow only slightly, perhaps to 32,500 from the current 31,000, primarily at the graduate level. This goal will itself stretch our institutional and community infrastructure to its uppermost capacity.
- Accordingly, as the number of students graduating from high school increases by roughly one third over the next decade, the quality of entering students will rise as well; by 2010, the average SAT score could surpass 1250 (compared to 1200 today).
- Undergraduate education will become much more a residential experience, and out-of-class activity much more closely tied to in-class activity. Dorms, cafeterias, classrooms, libraries, advising centers and computer labs will be increasingly under the same roof.
- Nothing is more important to the development of UGA as a research university of the first rank, and to its ability to contribute to the state's economic development, than the growth of the quality and number of graduate students. Sustained effort to secure the resources to raise the graduate student population by 1255 students, which would result in 25% of UGA's student body being graduate and professional students, and to continue to raise the overall quality of graduate students, will be made.
- Recruiting, hiring and retaining faculty and staff of the highest quality in an internationally competitive marketplace will be a major priority. The knowledge age, as many are calling our present circumstance, depends as never before on the knowledge worker. Success in being an employer of choice will require the highest level of commitment to competitive salaries and benefits; to amenities that enrich the culture of the institution, such as childcare and retirement facilities; and to a continued involvement in institutional decision-making: Knowledge institutions thrive where knowledge workers believe they are responsible for both policy and product.
- Various intensified institutional efforts to "diversify" faculty, staff and students to better reflect Georgia's population will be greatly assisted by the development of the Athens-Atlanta railroad line; by new and imaginative activities to ensure that the student population of UGA represents all areas of the state, and by the institutional coordination and synergy generated from a new office of associate provost for institutional diversity.
- International programs will be expanded and new ones developed. Study abroad activity will increase dramatically. Language programs will be broadened and increased.
- Lifelong learning is ever more necessary for the continued success of our businesses and communities. Professional schools such as business, journalism and mass communication, veterinary medicine, forest resources, pharmacy and public administration will spearhead the University's efforts to provide leading-edge continuing education to our business, political, and community leaders.
- It is anticipated that the various mechanisms of distance learning will enable UGA to serve the powerful "growth market" appetite for continuing education, including the increasing array of certifications required by nearly every professional field. Online courses will serve, primarily and supplementally, all UGA student markets.
- The campus will become much more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, with parking moved to perimeter decks and traffic moved to campus perimeter loops.
- Increasing attention will be paid to architectural style and tradition in the construction of new and renovated buildings, in accordance with the recently completed physical master plan.
- UGA will accelerate its work on cooperative projects with the Athens/Clarke community, and will develop new programs to bridge the University and its neighbors.
- The Division of Public Service and Outreach will launch a new era of highly focused, technologically sophisticated and globally aware programs and services to support the needs and opportunities (e.g., "One Georgia") of Georgians in general and rural Georgians in particular.
- The several colleges and schools of the University will become increasingly more responsible for raising the research and private dollars on which growth much beyond current levels will depend.
- The University of Georgia Foundation and the UGA Real Estate Foundation will play increasingly important roles in the improvement and development of the University. Fundraising and campaign priorities will reflect the priorities of the strategic plan: Endowment to attract and retain superior faculty; support for expanded student programs and services, including need-based scholarships; and resources to assist in the considerable facility needs of a national research university.
Strategic Directions and Priority Initiatives
In order to achieve this strategic vision for UGA in 2010, the University has developed three strategic directions for the coming decade to guide its program development and its search for and allocation of public and private support as it seeks to become one of the world's premier universities:
Each of these strategic directions will be carried out through institutional and college or unit-based initiatives. Initiatives with institutional priority are identified here, organized under the three strategic directions; college/unit initiatives are listed with the college and unit plans in the companion strategic planning documents, "Strategic Plans of the Principal Units of the University of Georgia" and "Plans for New Units at the University of Georgia"; also available at www.strategicplanning.uga.edu.
- Strategic Direction 1
- Building the New Learning Environment
In order to provide our students with opportunities for success in the digital age and to provide Georgia with a steady stream of highly educated, flexible, diverse, culturally sensitive, emotionally as well as academically intelligent, and technologically sophisticated citizens for the 21st century economy, UGA must develop the highest level of information technology, access and support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for students, faculty and staff. It must create new academic and certification programs to support the many ways in which the new information technologies are transforming traditional academic disciplines, such as the New Media Institute and its New Media Certification Program, the Department of Computer Science and its Certificate in Computing, the Masters in Internet Technology, the Digital Media Lab and the Electronic Teaching Library. It must strengthen programs and facilities for the digital age, including the reengineering of the King Law Library to become a state-of-the-art facility for law students and current members of the bench and bar, and the establishment of a Center for Information Technology to house and showcase UGA's computing and information technology-based teaching, learning and research initiatives.
The University must also educate its students to be effective leaders in the complex arenas of business and government, and is establishing leadership programs to do so. The Institute for Leadership Advancement in the Terry College and the Student Leadership Development Programs provided by the Office of Student Affairs, for example, are designed to provide specialized leadership training for all University students through classes, mentoring, and/or the Internet.
The ultimate measure of UGA resides in the quality of its teaching and learning. In order for UGA to thrive, that teaching and learning must fully utilize the unique opportunities presented by UGA's status as a research university, by its residential nature, by its service mission and by its large size. The UGA Honors Programs is, and should continue to be, in the vanguard of this effort with new teaching, learning, and student service programs to take advantage of UGA's recruitment of the very best high school students. Increasing the national profile of the Honors Program, and its premier undergraduate scholars, the Foundation Fellows, will drive UGA's reputation as a first-rate university for undergraduate instruction.
As a research university, UGA should assure that each undergraduate student has the opportunity to engage in a significant research experience and should use that opportunity as a means to attract students. A highly visible office of undergraduate research should fully inform students, faculty and staff about research opportunities, seek private and grant funding for student faculty collaboration in research, and sponsor an annual undergraduate research symposium.
As a residential university, UGA should maximize its unique and beautiful physical campus in the manner outlined in the newly adopted physical master plan to promote the creation of a true community of scholars. This residential character will be enhanced by renovating existing on-campus housing and building new on-campus housing with the goal of doubling the number of students residing on campus. UGA will greatly enrich both its residence life facilities and programs, in part through an integration of its in-class and out-of-class experiences. By 2005, the University will have greatly expanded the existing academic presence in the residence halls to include more classrooms, stronger academic support services, innovative cultural programs, state-of-the-art computing environments, and a significant faculty presence. By 2010, the University will have fully in place a residential college system in all undergraduate halls which creatively and persistently extends the life of the mind to students to wherever they live on-campus.
In order to build on the University's greatest strength, the quality of its teaching, UGA intends to become the finest teaching university in the country. The University will launch a "superior teachers program" designed to attract, reward and retain the best cadre of undergraduate teachers in America by 2010. These teachers, and all UGA faculty, will be actively and vigorously supported in their teaching through expanded instructional and faculty development programs.
- Strategic Direction 2
- Research Investment
Achieving the top ranks of American research universities, so critical to the future economic development of Georgia and to the education of its students, will require an unprecedented level of commitment from the University and the state of Georgia. In order to reach that level, UGA will need to focus its current and new resources on areas of (1) greatest strength; (2) greatest external funding opportunity; and (3) greatest opportunity for national distinction. These areas of strength with great external funding opportunity include environmental sciences; biosciences generally and genomics in particular; the biomedical area; behavioral and social sciences; and technologically aided agricultural research and service programs, such as digital imaging and diagnostics. Those with greatest opportunity for additional national recognition include history, public and international affairs, areas of English such as humanities computing, literary studies and creative writing; Art; and Music, including the Center for New Music.
Initiatives to achieve the next level of success in research and creative work will include: Creating one hundred endowed research professorships; increasing graduate enrollment by 1255 students, through a strong endowment for superior graduate student support, and by producing access to a health care program for graduate students; focusing faculty hiring decisions on selected areas of research excellence and opportunity, and making competitive "startup" funding available centrally in areas of focus; and developing support for the construction of badly needed research facilities in key areas of institutional strength, including: a major hospital for Veterinary Medicine; an addition to the College of Pharmacy, including space to support UGA/MCG biomedical initiatives; the several facilities being developed in support of the Center for Applied Genetic Technology (including transgenic research facilities for cattle, poultry, swine, fish and most major crop plants); and substantial new facilities to support the life sciences, including the College of the Environment, the Institute for Integrated Genomics and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.
Significant expansion of engineering through establishment of a Faculty of Engineering will broaden the capacity and reinforce the opportunities for research, external funding and student experiences in all of the sciences and expand the application of cutting-edge research to meet the challenge of economic development.
- Strategic Direction 3
- Competing in a Global Environment
Strategic Direction 3
COMPETING IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY
In order to serve Georgia and Georgians in the 21st century, the University of Georgia must accelerate dramatically its international dimension in a variety of ways: By strengthening its current international programs that have achieved international distinction, such as the Center for International Trade and Security and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government's International Center for Democratic Governance; by establishing new academic programs focused on the international dimension of academic disciplines, such as a School of Public and International Affairs, a new College of the Environment; and the Terry College's and the Warnell School of Forest Resources' Global Partnership Programs; by increasing the number of languages taught and the variety of methodologies for teaching languages; by increasing the number of students engaged in study abroad by a factor of ten by the end of the decade; by strengthening the area studies programs of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and by developing UGA Study Abroad Centers throughout the world.
Being globally competitive also means that UGA must be globally competitive in Athens as well as abroad. The city and the University of Georgia are in a constant and significant conversation about their mutual needs for both growth and economic development, and about the indispensable value of mutually developed and supported quality-of-life elements of our college community: Good schools; tree-lined streets and boulevards; historically preserved and protected homes and buildings; bike trails; interconnected green spaces and walks; outdoor cafes, sitting and gathering areas; live musical performances in public areas; the creation of a riverside "green way" along the Oconee River; and the development of attractive "border crossings" between the University campus and the shops and cafes and other businesses of Athens will all serve to make both the University and the multi-county Athens community competitive for the quality of life to which each aspires.
Athens and the University of Georgia can build on their current synergy and strengths to become, in this time of rethinking the built urban environment in America signaled by the "smart growth" phenomenon, a state, regional and national model for mutually advantageous development of academic and urban life on a human scale. The national and international expertise provided by the Division of Public Service and Outreach, the School of Social Work, the Colleges of Education and Family and Consumer Sciences and the School of Environmental Design, supported by the Office of University Architects, guided by the University's and the City's recently developed physical master plans, will support this effort to compete globally for superior students, faculty, staff and economic development.
Paying For Excellence
There are six viable sources for funding the initiatives identified by this plan. Options from those sources include:
Redeployment of current internal resources:
- Redirecting as much as 2% of the resident instruction budget, which would provide roughly $8M annually ($100M over the decade) to help fund the mission-critical and institutional initiatives of this plan.
- The salaries of UGA personnel eligible for retirement over the next decade totals roughly $80M (in current dollars). These retirements will create a significant opportunity for strategic redirection. In addition, normal attrition will allow the University to reallocate another $5M to $10M annually ($50M to $100M over the decade) in vacant position salary dollars.
- Strategically targeting units for budget redirection or elimination to reallocate resources to areas of higher priority.
These actions and/or others will enable the University to create a redeployment pool of roughly $350M over the next ten years.
- A "technology fee," specifically called for by the Student Government Association strategic plan and widely in use on other campuses throughout the country, was implemented in the fall of 2000. Over the next decade, this fee (currently $75/student/semester) will provide roughly $50M to help meet the costs of creating a "24/7" campus fully supported by information technology.
- The University will explore the competitive opportunities of "differential tuition" of, roughly, $1000/year to reflect the aggregate costs and benefits resulting from study at a research university. Potential revenue would be, roughly, $30M annually, $300M over a decade.
- As a result of the strategic institutional initiatives launched through this plan, it is expected that UGA will increase its externally sponsored research by 50% by 2010.
- In support of this plan, UGA will immediately carry out a campaign feasibility study on the strategic directions and initiatives identified, with an expectation of launching a capital campaign to support them in the range of $500M to $1B.
- In order to continue to attract and retain the quality of faculty and staff required to offer nationally competitive programs and services, salary increases will continue to be the University's highest priority for state appropriations; estimated salary increase dollars required over the decade = $200M.
- New capital outlay dollars under current procedures should yield roughly $100M in new facilities in the coming decade.
- Renovation dollars are particularly important to a University with as many old and often historic buildings as UGA has; total renovation allocations should total roughly $80M over the decade.
- TRS to pick up retirement benefits for UGA retirees ($7M/ yr).
Special State Support:
- The University will explore with the state of Georgia opportunities for a special, one-time $350M appropriation or bond issue to build the requisite research facilities required for UGA to properly support the economic development Georgia deserves.
- The University will also work with the state leadership to create a lottery-funded Fellowship Program for graduate student support in areas of high priority for the state's economic and cultural development ($5-10M annually).
Summary: Additional Revenue/Redirection Support Goals
|Source:||Additional or redeployed $ (over 10 years):|
or redeployed $
(over 10 years):
|TOTAL = +/-$2.5B|
|Strategic Direction||Activity||2000: Current Status||2010: Projected Benchmarks|
|Building the New Learning Environment
Overall Enrollment: 31,000
Graduate/Professional: 6,870 (22%)
Overall Enrollment: 32,500
Graduate/Professional: 8,125 (25%)
|Average SAT score for entering freshmen
|Average GPA for transfer students
6% students are black;
Ranked 5th highest in the nation in number of black tenured and tenure track faculty
10% students are black;
|Technology||OK-to-poor campus service and infrastructure
||Top level support and access throughout campus; websites for every enrolled student with complete information, centralized billing, etc.
|Rankings||UGA ranked 20th among public universities in USNWR||UGA ranked 15th among publics|
|4-Year Graduation Rate
||39% (1998 data)
|6-Year Graduation Rate
||22 to 1||20 to 1|
National Ranking for Federal Research Expenditures: 86th
Federal Research Expenditures: $54.7M
Total Research expenditures: $217.9M
National Research Ranking for Total Research Expenditures: 35th (1998 data)
National Ranking for Federal Research Expenditures: 50th
Federal Research Expenditures: $100M
Total Research expenditures: $300MNational Research Ranking for Total Research Expenditures: 30th (2008 data)
Arts and Sciences: 1 department in NRC top 25
Law School ranked 29th, 11th among publics
Business ranked 48th, 22nd among publics
Arts and Sciences: 6 departments in NRC top 25
Law School ranked in top 20 nationally, top 10 among publicsBusiness ranked in top 25, top 15 among publics
|Undergraduate students engaged in Research
|Square footage of research space
||934,000 ASF (Main Campus)||1,400,000 ASF|
|Number of Library volumes
|National rank of library by ARL
|Competing in a Global Economy
||Students Studying Abroad
||4% of student body
||20$ of student body
|Percentage of Undergraduates graduating with International Education Experience
|Number of UGA Year Round Academic Programs Abroad
|Percent of Undergraduates Graduating with Conversational Foreign Language Competency
$48M in new private gifts and pledges
$100M in new gifts and pledges
The decade of the 1990s saw the University of Georgia join the ranks of the best public universities in the United States: The average SAT score for entering freshmen rose 100 points, to 1200 by the fall of 2000; US News and World Report's famous "College Guide" edition ranked UGA 20th among the nation's public universities; the School of Law rose as high as 27th in those rankings, and the Terry College of Business placed among the top 40 programs in several national rankings. Five faculty in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences were named to the National Academy of Sciences; their colleagues across the aisle in the humanities, in English, History, Art, Music and others, achieved new levels of scholarship and academic distinction; and two faculty in Engineering were named to the National Academy of Engineering. The University built more than a half of billion dollars in new facilities for teaching, research and service, including a new arts campus featuring unsurpassed performance halls and a Museum of Art to rival those at the best public universities in the country. Over $400 million was raised from private sources for institutional support, and the University's endowment grew by 400%. Students won three Rhodes Scholarships, innumerable other awards and honors, and 30,000 of them became new alumni of this great institution, now 215 years old.
In many ways, however, the University of Georgia lost ground.
UGA's national research ranking fell steadily during the 90s, from 68th to 86th - while federal research dollars rose to new and unprecedented heights. Research and teaching facilities lagged behind both needs and ambition, affecting nearly every department on campus; support for outreach programs was dramatically curtailed in the early '90s and never restored; maintenance funds for facilities were steadily diminished; 2200 additional students were enrolled by the end of the decade with only 35 new faculty positions added to the budget, and some of those were supported by private dollars. Graduate enrollment showed modest growth over the decade, despite the institution's unique mission in Georgia and broad range of graduate programs. Only the University's ecology programs were ranked among the nation's top 20 by the National Research Council - and no "revenue producing" sport has won even a conference championship in over10 years.
The state of Georgia enters the 21st century as a lion whose time has come: The 10th most populous state in the nation, Georgia's current economic prosperity is unmatched in its history and unexcelled in the country. Atlanta's emergence as one of the major metropolitan forces in North America is largely a phenomenon of the 90s, and its economic might drives the entire southeastern sector of the country. Enlightened elected and private leadership, Atlanta's most telling resource throughout the 20th century, has put in place a state-funded scholarship unparalleled in the nation's history and a public-private partnership, the Georgia Research Alliance, designed to make Georgia's one of the top five state economies by 2010 by developing the high technology and research potential of its major research universities. As the largest state east of the Mississippi, Georgia's potential for success and prosperity is limited perhaps only by the ability of its educational institutions to achieve success.
The Strategic Planning Process
In 1999, the University of Georgia entered into a process of strategic planning designed to determine the optimal strategies for its role in helping build the Georgia of our dreams for the next decade. That effort, directly involving some 600 faculty, staff, students and administrators and called "Strategic Planning for the First Decade of the 21st Century," has attempted to identify, college by college by major administrative unit, the principal opportunities for serving Georgia over the next decade. The colleges and units have developed strategic priorities based on combining the most compelling of those opportunities with their strongest programs, and this institutional plan incorporates and elaborates on these priorities with additional university-wide initiatives. A description of that process and its participants appears at the end of this document.
The unique strength of the University of Georgia lies in the extraordinary combination of elements that make up the total student experience of studying in Athens, and that emanates into every corner of Georgia in the programs and services which so clearly mark UGA as a land (and sea) grant university. Those elements include UGA's history as the oldest public university in America; its beautiful and historic buildings and grounds; its legends and stories of, among other things, the youthful follies of later famous leaders of Georgia. They include the experience of strolling beneath the 200-year-old oaks of North Campus, the world famous music and pubs and nightlife of downtown Athens as well as the historic charm of one of the great college towns in America. The excitement of football games, as alumni repopulate the campus and reinvest it with their affection and support, all amid the superior teaching, research and service programs offered by an extraordinarily talented faculty and staff working in a unique combination of academic and professional disciplines: These are just some of the elements that, taken together, make the University of Georgia a unique and incomparably rich experience for its students.
While the initiatives of this strategic plan focus on various parts of the enterprise that appear to have a strategic opportunity to achieve new levels of distinction and service, we should not lose sight of the fact that the University of Georgia's strongest strategic position is and will be the "fit" of its many elements and functions. The vital key to improving the University's competitive strategic position is to strengthen not simply the individual elements, but also the ways in which those elements and activities fit and reinforce each other.
Serving Georgia by Serving the Nation and the World
Throughout this strategic planning process of thinking about how its flagship, state, land-grant, research university serves Georgia best, we have kept ever-mindful of the national and increasingly global nature of our academic, social, cultural and economic future. UGA serves Georgia best by being an institution competitive with the best in the world, college by college by administrative unit. If the Chemistry department or the international program or the football team is only the best in Georgia, we've achieved little that will benefit Georgia. Only as they are nationally distinctive and internationally competitive will UGA's programs of teaching, research and service help Georgia build the future it dreams of.
Georgia deserves, and must have in order to reach its potential, core arts and sciences departments that are nationally competitive and regionally distinguished; law, business, journalism and mass communication and pharmacy schools that are among the best in the nation; and programs in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Environmental Design, Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Warnell School of Forest Resources, Social Work, and Veterinary Medicine that provide University students with an educational experience that is second to none. Such an array of colleges immediately identifies that greatest of American educational creations, the land-grant university, which has done so much to bring prosperity to this country since its inception in 1861. The University of Georgia's service to Georgia, on-campus and off, through teaching, research, public service and outreach, is its proudest legacy, and one it can continue only by becoming more global and more competitive.
As Georgia's state, public, flagship land-grant, research institution, the University of Georgia must think about its future first by thinking about Georgia's. In the first decade of the 21st century, these appear to be Georgia's largest challenges:
- The challenge of workforce development is the highest immediate priority of business leaders throughout Georgia, who see a present and accelerating shortage of personnel possessing sufficient skills in the utilization and application of information technology; in sophisticated analytic, synthetic and compositional skills; in language skills - in Spanish and Asian languages in particular; in "emotional intelligence," including the ability not only to co-exist but to thrive in the increasingly 'team' or work-group oriented, and culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse work environment of the 21st century. From kindergarten through college, the education of Georgia's citizens is the first priority for Georgia and its flagship university.
- The challenge of economic development is the most focused need Georgia has for its research universities, and that need is, compared to that of workforce development, longer-range and institutional rather than individual. There is no doubt in the minds of Georgia's elected and business leadership that the principal opportunities to improve this state's standard of living will come from its research universities, specifically from the combination of cutting-edge research with business development and applications support: That is the premise of such major state investments as the Georgia Research Alliance and the Yamacraw Mission. Other states are launching their own such initiatives, such as Michigan's $200M commitment to biosciences research at the University of Michigan, paid for from that state's tobacco settlement funds, and the $3 billion bond issue for higher education facilities approved by referendum in North Carolina. Such strategic investments will determine the winners and losers of the global competition for quality-of-life in the coming century. At the same time, the 106 counties in Georgia that are below the national average in per capita income and percent of population in poverty have an economic development challenge that the land-grant university was created to address, and that the Governor's "One Georgia" initiative is designed to support.
- The challenge of globalization propelled in large part by information technology, will be the hallmark of the 21st century. We are already on the doorstep of a world characterized by the routine extension of business and banking products, individual and corporate communications, and educational programs and services to other parts of the world. Employers want graduates who speak the languages of their new and future customers, such as Spanish and Chinese, and who know how to communicate, on-and off-line, with people from cultures other than our own. Global competitiveness requires a high degree of technological literacy as well as cultural understanding; "thinking with computers" is a skill everyone will need in the new global economy.
- The task of building "the good community" even when the economy is good and the citizens are prospering is perhaps Georgia's most acute challenge. Despite the extraordinary, indeed unprecedented, prosperity of Georgia in general and Atlanta in particular over the past generation, few are satisfied with the current condition or future prospects for the quality of schools, water, air, transportation, housing, cultural accomplishments and family cohesiveness. "Smart growth," "the new urbanism," mixed-use" development, K-12 education reform , "community-building" and GRETA (the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority) are all part of the buzz identifying these quality-of-life issues as Georgia's most pressing challenges - and in this, as in so many ways, Georgia is a timely microcosm of the nation and its most pressing needs.
|Core purpose:||To enrich and transform the lives of Georgians through education, research and service.|
|Goal:||To be ranked among the top fifteen public universities in America by 2010.|
|Theme:||Building Georgia's World University|
|Higher Education's Three Revolutions:||