strategic plan goal 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 University.

At the University of Memphis, we provide an exciting, enriching and integrated student experience. We understand that for a student to get the full college experience, what happens outside the classroom must complement what happens inside the classroom to fully nurture a student’s personal and professional growth. This is reflected in our students’ expression of higher satisfaction and well-being than students at peer universities. We graduate mature, engaged students eager to take on life’s challenges and demonstrate impact. In addition to success-driven academics, our aim is accomplished by providing a comprehensive, seamless, stimulating and enjoyable on-campus experience that is relational, not transactional.


Student Success 2.0.

Student academic success has long been our focus at the University of Memphis. We go above and beyond to help students overcome challenges and to meet students where they are. This requires sensitivity to diverse student needs and tailored solutions. Our approach is hands-on and analytics driven. We have implemented a number of effective Student Academic Success programs and practices that have facilitated student academic excellence, including affinity groups that provide a sense of belonging within a globally diverse campus; incorporation of career skills in our curriculum and close monitoring of success indicators (e.g., class attendance) to allow proactive/early intervention. We are now ready to leverage our accomplishments to address other dimensions of student success. Increasingly, we are focusing our student success initiatives on broader and/or longer-term (e.g., beyond graduation) outcomes. Elements of this approach include:

  • Retention, Persistence and Progression.
    We are increasingly stressing, monitoring and rewarding precursors to graduation.

  • Operating Model Evaluation.
    We are evaluating all elements of our operating model that touch students to ensure our processes, practices and organizational structure fully align with Student Success.

  • Success Coaching.
    We are shifting from segmented counseling for specific needs (e.g., degree program advising, career placement) to an integrated approach focused on Student Success while at our University and after graduation.

  • Success Monitoring.
    Tracking student success while at our University and after graduation is critical to the effectiveness of our Student Success efforts.


Second-to-None Safety & Security.

Safety and security are foundational to the student experience at the University of Memphis. We engage in ongoing dialogue with our campus population to understand their concerns and involve them in solution development. Our objective is to maintain campus safety through an integrated security regime that brings together police, our campus community, physical infrastructure, technology, excellent communications and proven protocols.


Cohesive Campus Community.

Our objective is to create a cohesive, kind, supportive and welcoming community (inclusive of students from all campuses) in a way that focuses on the whole person and facilitates deep, long-lasting pride and engagement. The Tiger community we are building focuses on universal human values — such as integrity, kindness and courage — that serve to unite rather than divide us. It also seeks to imbue a sense of pride in our students through a deep appreciation of our storied history and through creating and passing down hallowed traditions. We seek to create a welcoming environment that accepts and celebrates our many differences in race, ethnicity, religion, culture and viewpoints. Our aim is a whole-person support system that accounts for physical, emotional and social health. This includes more deeply engaging alumni in our efforts.


Expanded, High Quality and Affordable Housing.

With the objective of creating a more robust residential experience for more students, we are (or are facilitating) building or renovating higher-quality, affordable on or near campus apartment-style housing. Living on-campus/near campus strongly correlates with academic success and with more on-campus engagement while at a University and after graduation. To ensure long-term housing excellence, we are developing a balanced set of metrics for current and future housing that considers not only financial self-sustainment, but also housing quality, maintenance and student satisfaction.


Diversified, Delicious, Convenient and Affordable Dining.

Our objective is to create diversified, affordable and available/convenient on-campus (and nearcampus) dining options that align with student needs and preferences. This includes a strong commitment to quality, service, healthiness and cleanliness. We understand that dining is a vital element of a great student experience; it enhances the residential experience while also incenting commuting students to remain on campus and more deeply engage in academics and in University life.


Rich and Exciting Campus Life.

Our objective is to improve, innovate, increase and integrate student activity offerings to foster more student engagement and satisfaction. The University of Memphis has long offered plentiful extracurricular activities with the aim of providing a full and enriching college experience for its students. This extracurricular emphasis is exemplified in the recently opened R. Brad Martin Student Wellness Center, a 78,000 square-foot state-of-the-art fitness and recreation facility. Building on our success, we are continuing to add and improve our spaces for student life and to further expand our broad array of student organizations and activities, including community service opportunities.


Top Tier Athletics.

Our objective at the University of Memphis is to maintain a focus on, and investment in, intercollegiate athletics to ensure our beloved Tigers achieve the recognition they deserve as they participate broadly in the top tier of college athletics. We understand that intercollegiate athletics are instrumental in a complete and exciting student experience; in attaining our vision of becoming a nationally recognized public research university; and in unifying the greater Memphis community. As such, we are leveraging our strong and sustained momentum to take the Tigers to ever-higher success, including exploring conference realignment options (e.g., positioning ourselves for inclusion in one of the top conferences in the country). Intercollegiate sports are important in attracting and retaining students, instilling school pride, creating lasting relationships with our constituents, and achieving our vision of national recognition as a top public research University. We understand that our sports programs are important to national brand recognition and to garnering support — financial and otherwise — that will propel us to the top ranks of U.S. public research universities.


Exciting Off-Campus Environs.

Memphis has an energetic and exciting city life. This includes wonderful arts, entertainment, sports, recreation, shopping and cuisine. Our objective is to integrate the many positive elements of Memphis city life into the broader student experience, with a strong emphasis on fostering a safe and exciting college scene in areas near campus, thereby uplifting nearby neighborhoods and the broader community.

Goal 2

Historical Data Targets
Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020 Fall 2021 Fall 2022 Fall 2023 Fall 2024 Fall 2025 Fall 2026 Fall 2027
First-Year Retention Rate 77.70% 79.50% 71.80% 74.70% TBD 75% 80% 82.50% 85% 87.50%
Progression toward Degrees          
30 hours 2,203 2,491 2,424 2,466 2,046 2,200 2,600 2,800 2,900 3,000
60 hours 2,449 2,491 2,611 2,588 2,539 2,400 2,500 2,750 2,900 3,000
90 hours 2,835 2,779 2,852 2,921 2,989 2,700 2,870 3,000 3,200 3,420
Social Mobility Ranking #     98 78 82 80 80 75 75 75
Student Satisfaction

(Seniors: would definitely/probably attend again)*

  84%   82%   82% 84% 86% 88% 90%
Safety Rating/Ranking (in state)% 2 1 2 1 4 3 1 1 1 1  
Average Attendance at Football Games 30,178 39,784 9,145 31,347 26,196 28,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 40,000
Average Attendance at Men’s Basketball Games 11,368 16,312 1,947 11,719 11,128 13,000 15,000 16,000 16,000 16,000

# = Data provided in US News Best Colleges ranking

* = Data provided by NSSE

^ = Data as of February 16, 2023

% = Rank among TN schools with >5000 population

< GOAL 1: Aggressively Provide Access GOAL 3: Outcomes-focused Academics >