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Regents Approve New Strategic Plan For University System

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Six Goals Focus on Building System’s Capacity to Meet State Needs

Atlanta — August 7, 2007

What do you give yourself when you are 75? If you’re the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents, you give yourself a plan of action that sets a course for Georgia’s public colleges and universities well into the future.

Currently celebrating its 75th diamond jubilee during 2007, the USG’s governing board today approved a new six-point Strategic Plan, which has as its central theme building the System’s capacity to ensure it is ready to meet the state’s growing needs for higher education, research, and economic development.

The new plan also has a theme of building on excellence in all areas of the System, from the classroom, to research, to support services and general operations, along with a continuing push to ensure a diverse enterprise in terms of students, faculty and staff.

“This System has done an excellent job of creating broad educational opportunities for Georgians,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “But as we look to the future, our actions must be driven by broad policy designed to educate more Georgians to higher levels than at any time in our history. And we must act in ways that clearly demonstrate our willingness to be measured for performance and assure our funding partners of our prudent and efficient use of resources. This plan gives us the structure to increase the value we add to the state.”

USG Chief Operating Officer Rob Watts, who has led the planning efforts, outlined the six strategic goals in a presentation during the regents’ monthly meeting today. The board has been involved in the planning process during the past year.

The six strategic goals are:

  • Renew excellence in undergraduate education to meet students’ 21st century needs. This will be achieved by restructuring the System’s core curriculum (those courses all students must take), increasing college graduation rates, ensuring high quality academic advisement for students, increasing study abroad participation, and supporting and rewarding faculty members who make meaningful contributions to undergraduate student learning and success.
  • Create enrollment capacity in the University System to meet the needs of 100,000 additional students by 2020. Under this goal, officials will target increasing the diversity of the USG’s enrollment and closing enrollment gaps for under-represented groups, increasing the use of two-year access colleges to meet higher education needs in underserved areas, creating a more robust sector of comprehensive (four-year) universities, increasing the joint use of facilities among USG institutions, and increasing the use and reach of distance education.
  • Increase the USG’s participation in research and economic development to the benefit of a global Georgia. The University System will build on the fact that all 35 institutions are economic engines in their communities and the state. This will mean making the System’s research universities even more competitive for federal research funds. The USG also will increase the numbers of health profession graduates and create a long-term, system-level academic plan for workforce development.
  • Strengthen the USG’s partnerships with the state’s other education agencies, with a key focus on the Alliance of Education Agency Heads that is working to increase the high school graduation rate and postsecondary enrollment rates. In addition, the USG will create a closer working relationship with the Department of Technical and Adult Education.
  • Maintain affordability so that money is not a barrier to participation in the benefits of higher education by continuing a tradition of low tuition rates and by establishing a need-based financial aid program. This goal also will focus on Chancellor Davis’ desire to increase revenue sources from areas other than state funding and tuition.
  • Increase efficiency by working as a system to focus on business functions, developing a leadership culture, engaging in workforce process improvements and establishing accountability metrics.

Now that the regents have approved the broad goals, Watts said the next step is to utilize individuals in the University System Office and on the 35 campuses to develop specific action steps, desired, measurable outcomes, and timelines. Each of the regents also will participate in the ongoing development and implementation of the plan by serving on one of six Strategic Planning Oversight Committees created by Board Chairman Allan Vigil this year. Each Oversight Committee will monitor the progress being made to achieve one of the six goals.

Over the coming months, Chancellor Davis will meet with USG presidents, USG institutional foundation heads and the heads of foundations in the private sector, business leaders, legislators, community leaders and news media to discuss the Strategic Plan and how it is designed to strengthen the state’s ability to be globally competitive.

The full plan can be accessed at: http://www.usg.edu/strategicplan/

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