The University of Memphis is emerging as one of the great metropolitan research universities in the United States, noted for drawing on the strengths and challenges of the urban setting and region in which it is located to address society's issues and needs. Opened in 1912, the University enrolls more than 20,000 students. The University offers 15 bachelor's degrees in more than 50 majors and 70 concentrations, master's degrees in over 45 subjects, doctoral degrees in 21 disciplines, the Juris Doctor degree and a specialist degree in education.
The vision for the University and its subsequent growth require careful development and placement of resources. Strategic planning at the University of Memphis, therefore, is an ongoing process. The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), the University's governing body, requires the president of each institution in the system to "exercise such supervision and direction as will promote the efficient operation of the institution." Additionally, TBR requires that each institution under its authority submit a five-year plan that supports the system's mission, vision, goals and priorities. Accordingly, a preliminary plan was developed for 2000-2005.
With the arrival of new leadership at the University in the early years of the 21st century, a refinement in the University plan was begun. The new team members, including President Shirley Raines, Provost Ralph Faudree, Vice President for Student Affairs Rosie Bingham, Vice President for Information Technology Douglas Hurley, Vice President for Business and Finance Charles Lee, and Vice President for Advancement Julie Johnson, initiated a planning process involving faculty members, students, staff members and other important constituents to review the University's vision, mission, values statements; identify goals to support the mission; and select strategies and actions for accomplishing those goals. At the same time, TBR worked with its member campuses and constituencies to update its strategic plan. The two initiatives provided the opportunity to align the University to move forward more effectively toward its mission and within the framework of TBR. Importantly, the plan points to what the University seeks to accomplish by 2012, the year of its 100-year anniversary.
Central tenets of the University's values are commitments to excellence in teaching and research, innovation and creativity, respect for diversity and individual worth, responsible stewardship and conservation of resources and leadership and involvement in the economic, social, and professional growth of Memphis, the state of Tennessee, and the nation. Meeting those commitments requires constant assessment of appropriate directions for the University. Planning therefore must be a dynamic and ongoing activity.
Following are results of that activity, the components of the University's strategic plan. Its vision, mission, and values, and goal statements were approved by TBR at its December 2005 meeting. A set of key strategic priorities and areas of focus provide overall direction for the University. Subsequent to TBR approvals, the University is completing development and implementation of strategies and actions for accomplishing each of its goals.