UofM President Bill Hardgrave Unveils Ascend, the 2023-28 Strategic Plan

March 1, 2023 — UofM President Bill Hardgrave unveiled Ascend, the University’s first Strategic Plan as a Carnegie R1 institution. Ascend is highlighted by a focus on outcomes, a holistic student experience, broadening the UofM’s reach nationally while creating access for learners of all backgrounds, and growing and strengthening the research enterprise. Other highlights include a greater emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering + Math), Health, and Business, and the creation of more institutes and centers.

The UofM Board of Trustees approved the Strategic Plan on Wednesday.

“These are very important times for the University of Memphis as we continue to ascend as a respected Carnegie R1 institution,” said UofM President Bill Hardgrave. “This is the first Strategic Plan for the University of Memphis during this historic period.

“I want to thank the hundreds of constituents who played a pivotal role to our 2023-28 Strategic Plan. The important thing is to remember that the Strategic Plan is not a finished product. It is the guide for all of us to ascend to great heights in all areas of the University of Memphis in the years to come.”

With the Strategic Plan, the University of Memphis is choosing to align its strengths with the opportunities created by external disruptions to claim its place among nationally recognized public research universities.

The Strategic Plan includes a mission, vision and goals that are woven together by eight principles.

  • Mission – defines the UofM’s purpose to produce well-rounded, successful graduates and cutting-edge research for the enrichment of the ever-changing society
  • Vision – describes the UofM’s future aspiration to become a nationally recognized public research university
  • Goals – seven goals describe the UofM’s most important priorities for the next five years that will best position the University to reach its vision
  • Principles – eight principles describe elements that apply to most or all goals and are essential to goal attainment.

In developing the Strategic Plan, the UofM solicited input from hundreds of constituents through 51 interviews, 19 listening sessions and two surveys.

The seven goals in the UofM’s Strategic Plan include:

  1. Aggressively Provide Access – Grow enrollment while simultaneously improving student preparedness by pursuing a diversified and far-reaching recruiting strategy that emphasizes the UofM’s compelling value proposition.
  2. Create Opportunities to Succeed – Foster an exciting, all-encompassing student experience, that encourages students to persevere, grow and thrive while laying the foundations for future success and creating an enriching lifelong bond with the UofM.
  3. Outcomes-focused Academics – Deliver a rigorous, practical, well-rounded and supportive academic experience through innovative programs and teaching methods that focus on student success and prepare UofM students for the workforce and graduate education.
  4. Strengthen Research Enterprise – Perform life-changing, interdisciplinary research and scholarship that is supported by world-class infrastructure and conducted by highly motivated researchers addressing the community and society’s greatest challenges.
  5. Recruit, Retain, Reward and Recognize our People – Cultivate a respectful, supportive culture for the UofM’s exceptional faculty and staff that recognizes and rewards excellence and success and that provides ample opportunities for personal growth, professional development, promotion and leadership.
  6. Exemplify Operational Excellence – Optimize operational efficiency and effectiveness through the establishment of high standards and expectations to maximize resource utilization and to uphold accountability.
  7. Generate and Steward Financial Resources – Increase funding and improve resource allocation to fuel growth through better alignment of internal priorities and external funding opportunities, through funding diversification and through application of financial best practices.

The eight Principles of the UofM’s Strategic Plan include Enhanced Safety and Security; Whole-Person Student Success and Support; Improved Access and Affordability; Intentional UofM-Community Partnership; Next-Generation Diversity & Inclusion; Increased Collaboration; Strict Accountability; and Distinct Organizational Culture and Identity.

The full 2023-28 Strategic Plan can be found at memphis.edu/strategic-plan.