Our Strategic Plan incorporates eight Principles that apply to most or all Goals. These Principles define foundational elements essential to accomplishment of our Goals and accordingly find expression throughout the Strategic Plan. The Principles are the threads binding together our Strategic Plan.

Enhanced Safety and Security.

Provide a safe and secure environment by investing in infrastructure and programs that focus on community well-being and on enhancing the complete campus experience.

Our top priority at the University of Memphis is physical safety and security. (This includes the security of our information systems and pedestrian safety.) The University of Memphis has earned accolades for our efforts to protect our campus, but we realize more hard work is needed to earn and keep the confidence of our on-campus community. We understand that a reasonable sense of physical safety and security is foundational to student success and the overall well-being of our on-campus population. Our aim is for students to always feel safe anywhere on campus. We are committed to making additional and ongoing investments in measures to further safeguard our campus. This includes adoption of best practices and protocols, implementation of new proven technologies and timely and substantive communications.


Whole-Person Student Success and Support.

Walk alongside students in their academic, social and emotional journey by offering excellent and engaging programs, experiences, opportunities and facilities that maximize student success.
We put students first at the University of Memphis. Our University is not successful if our undergraduate and graduate students are not successful. We take a broad view of student success, which extends beyond academic success to career success and life success. We have been graduating students for more than 100 years and know what is needed to succeed in a career and in life. We produce mature, workforce-ready, well-rounded and resilient graduates that are eager to undertake career and life challenges. Achieving such success requires that we work closely with students and accompany them on their journey while at our University. We provide more than just academic support but also help students with nonacademic challenges — financial, emotional, social — that they might be facing. Our holistic approach is practical and ensures that all elements of the University experience are aligned, integrated and well-executed to provide the seamless support needed to maximize student success.


Improved Access and Affordability.

Improve access and affordability for students that meet our admissions standards through intentional efforts that focus on unmet financial need and minimize postgraduation debt burdens.

Access and Affordability is a key element of our value proposition that requires Universitywide efforts to sustain. Access means we seek to minimize financial (and other) barriers to matriculation of students that meet our admissions standards. Financial hurdles should not prevent qualified students from attending the University of Memphis. Access also means creating easier pathways to our University that fit a student’s situation and stage in life.

Affordability means that we actively work to minimize a student’s unmet financial need and post-graduation debt. Our aim is to maximize financial resources available to needy students, including development of innovative sources of funding. Affordability also means that we must increase a degree’s return on investment by focusing on not only a degree’s costs but also a degree’s benefits (e.g., post-graduation earnings).


Intentional UofM-Community Partnership.

Maximize and leverage the strong bond between the University and the community so that we remain forever a source of pride in the region and the state.

The University of Memphis and local communities we have served for over 110 years take great pride in our mutual bond. Our relationship is intentional and a great source of strength. The University of Memphis is a critically important civic institution that has served as an economic engine for Memphis and surrounding communities. This includes providing a skilled workforce for local employers, who have long been faithful partners with us. The community’s support and buy-in has allowed our University to thrive. We are thankful for this backing. We appreciate the many positive attributes of the community where we are situated: its rich history; its storied civil rights tradition; its wonderful music, arts, entertainment and cuisine; its great sports teams; its central location and accessibility; and its affordability. We embrace our community. Our aim is to better leverage our community’s positive attributes to uplift and unite our University, community and local stakeholders. We are increasingly looking for opportunities to further collaborate, particularly with an eye to creating a stronger and more expansive mutual support network within our region and greater Tennessee.


Next-Generation Diversity & Inclusion.

Support an inclusive campus environment that reflects cultural competency, societal dynamics and social opportunities, so that we serve the public good.

The University of Memphis has been a trailblazer in advancing diversity and inclusion. We have a diverse student and faculty population that is the envy of our peers. Our campus culture is kind and welcoming. We are proud of the great progress we have made since our campus was first integrated by the Memphis State Eight in 1959. Our aim is to continue to be in the vanguard of diversity and inclusion. Our continued emphasis will be on those things that unite rather than divide us ... a focus on our common humanity and respect for the dignity of all people. We understand that continued progress will require a more sophisticated and broader perspective on diversity and inclusion. Our goal to be a top national university will result in even greater diversity as we cast a wider net for students, faculty and staff. Our future entails greater geographic, ethnic and cultural diversity. Our proportion of non-traditional students — e.g., transfers, adult learners, veterans, rural students — will increase. Our intention is to better highlight and leverage our diversity. However, we also are ever mindful that increased diversity presents challenges. We must better tailor our services to more varied student needs. And we must develop a deeper cultural competency that includes tolerance of viewpoint diversity that results from increased demographic and geographic diversity.


Increased Collaboration.

Encourage and incent an institutional collaborative spirit to expand workforce development opportunities, our research portfolio and our community engagement.

Collaboration is critical to amplifying and accelerating our impact and to expanding our geographic footprint. We can do more together. We are committed to identifying, cultivating and maximizing partnerships both within the University and beyond the University (with external partners). Traditionally, our University has excelled at external collaboration; however, we realize that there is much untapped potential in both our existing relationships and in expanding our collaborations to new entities, including other universities in both the U.S. and abroad. Internally, we are committed to increased cooperation across our institution. Our intent is to implement a more systemic approach that incents and catalyzes working together. Our future approach will include assessments of organization structure, better leveraging deans and optimal distribution of functions. Our hope is that the Strategic Plan will unify our constituents through promoting a common understanding of our priorities and through better defining our shared culture.


Strict Accountability.

Personify accountability, trustworthiness and transparency by establishing high standards, by developing rigorous processes and by closely monitoring progress so that an expectation of excellence is instilled in our campus community.

All staff and faculty play an important role in advancing the goals of the University. Accountability, properly understood and implemented, is a powerful tool for such advancement. Accountability means individuals, units and even ad hoc implementation teams at the University of Memphis take responsibility for their actions in achieving our co-developed goals. Accountability necessarily involves consequences for actions. Most often, these consequences involve (re)allocation of resources to areas of highest impact. However, for accountability to work in advancing the University, practices and processes must be agreed upon and followed. Well-defined goals should be collaboratively set. Timelines for goal achievement are usually needed. Roles and responsibilities must be clearly established. Resources must be allocated and provided when scheduled/needed. A system for monitoring and communicating progress is a necessity. Finally, consequences for success (and failure) must be articulated at the outset. It is also important that a cultural discipline be established around accountability, especially application of project/ program management best practices and tools. This includes a strong focus on return on investment.


Distinct Organizational Culture and Identity.

Cultivate organizational identity around pillars of resilience, pride in our achievements, innovation and entrepreneurship, technology-savviness, responsiveness and excellent communications.

The University of Memphis has a distinct culture and identity. We know who we are and we are committed to doing things the Tiger Way. In addition to our emphases on accountability, collaboration and diversity and inclusion (discussed above), our organizational culture is defined by seven additional pillars: integrity, resilience, pride, innovation, technology-savviness, responsiveness and excellent communications.

Integrity defines our moral being, characterized by honesty, truthfulness and respect.

Resilience refers to our can-do work ethic ... a certain driven-by-doing fighting spirit and grittiness that is infused in everything we do and that we strive to inculcate in our students.

Pride refers to our celebration of our achievements and a distinct institutional loyalty, camaraderie, exuberance and commitment that characterizes our campus environment.

Innovation (and entrepreneurship) are evidenced in our constant quest to do things better and more efficiently, to lean into creativity and to take calculated risks.

Technology-savviness means we are ever focused on identifying and implementing cost-effective and adaptive technologies that enhance our efficiency, impact, reach and connectedness.

Responsiveness is defined by a proactive commitment to work positively and expeditiously with other stakeholders and units to address issues and to advance the University.

Excellent Communications are transparent, honest, clear, timely and substantive.

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