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Regents Shape New Strategic Plan to Face New Challenges

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Atlanta — August 8, 2001

The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents today adopted a bold new strategic plan aimed at creating “a more educated Georgia,” enhancing the quality of the System’s academic offerings, and impacting the state’s economic development.

“A More-Educated Georgia” is the theme of the new plan. It encompasses a new vision statement and a revised mission statement for the University System, which also now includes administration of the state’s public libraries. It addition, the document includes defining characteristics for System institutions, goal statements and an implementation plan to tackle key challenges facing the state’s public institutions.

The new plan builds upon a highly successful strategic planning effort developed and adopted by the Board of Regents in October 1994, shortly after the arrival of then-new University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen R. Portch. Titled “Access to Academic Excellence for the New Millennium,” that document has been the foundation for much of the University System of Georgia’s success over the past seven years. Many of the plan’s goals were tied to 2001, the year set for full implementation of the Board of Regents’ heightened admissions standards.

“We have shaped a strong foundation for planning that will enable us to effectively target and focus our priorities for the next five years,” said Chancellor Portch. “Our mission is to prepare Georgians for the reality of a world where first-class higher education is an increasing necessity. We also must identify ways to provide educational opportunities to a broader, more diverse group of the state’s citizens, thereby expanding access to Georgia’s economic success.”

The new Vision Statement reads: “The University System of Georgia will create a more-educated Georgia, well-prepared for a global, technological society, by providing first-rate undergraduate and graduate education, leading-edge research and committed public service.”

The 11 key goals encompassed within the new plan include:

  • Enhancing the curriculum to expand the intellectual, ethical and leadership quality of USG graduates;
  • Expanding participation in higher education by better serving the needs of non-traditional students, increasing distance education opportunities, advancing the use of the state’s public libraries, and increasing marketing efforts regarding the advantages of higher education.
  • Improving the quality of the curriculum, research activities and international opportunities in the System;
  • Increasing academic productivity via improved recruitment of new students, increasing the number of current students who remain in college, improving the time it takes students to earn a degree, increasing the number of credit hours students take, augmenting continuing education opportunities and continuing the use of technology in the delivery of instruction and student services;
  • Emphasizing the recruitment, hiring and retention of the best possible faculty, staff and administrators;
  • Accelerating economic development by producing graduates and academic programs to meet state need, and expanding marketing of the University System as an economic asset of the state;
  • Identifying best business practices for potential replication in the operational and administrative functions of the University System by benchmarking national peers;
  • Providing and maintaining superior facilities within the University System, and speeding up the timeline to their usage;
  • Making USG education “seamless” with K-12, DTAE and the state’s private postsecondary sector;
  • Increasing, diversifying and strategically allocating funding for the University System; and
  • Maximizing cooperation with other state agencies, boards, Office of the Governor and General Assembly while maintaining the Constitutional authority of the Board of Regents.

While much of the strategic plan outlines new goals and directions for the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents maintained its strong commitment to accountability, first shaped in its 1994 plan. The language was transferred in tact to the new plan, and reads: “In meeting these goals, the University System of Georgia will hold itself accountable to the citizens of Georgia for the effective and efficient use of every available material resource, new technology, and human insight and activity and charge its collective intellectual power on behalf of the state.”

The first draft of the strategic plan was reviewed initially by the regents at their June board meeting. They were given time to reflect and provide feedback regarding the recommendations over the past two months before voting on the revised document. At the Board’s upcoming September and October meetings, the regents will review proposed implementation or policy documents for the new strategic plan. Final approval of the implementation process, including specific targets and goals, is expected early in 2002. This timetable accommodates the Board of Regents’ current search for a new chancellor, who will be expected to provide insight and input into the strategic planning process before it is finalized.

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