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Five Year Plan Presents Vision of Excellence at USF


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TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 6, 2007) – The University of South Florida’s vision for the next five years is to evolve into a premier research university with state, national, and global impact, boost the quality of the undergraduate, graduate and research programs, and position USF for membership in the elite Association of American Universities (AAU). This vision is outlined in a new strategic plan unveiled today and titled Shaping Our Future, 2007-12 – Transforming Higher Education for Global Innovation.

The strategic plan outlines the vision, values, priorities, and future performance expectations that will measure progress toward the goal. It was developed in a collaborative effort that engaged students, faculty, staff, university leaders and the Board of Trustees.

“It’s a bold plan,†said President Judy Genshaft. “Some have even called it audacious, particularly in light of the difficult budgetary situation Florida universities are facing this year. But at the same time, few would have expected USF to achieve the excellence it has in just 51 years. This plan will help us remain laser-focused, strategic and disciplined in our priorities, policies, and practices so we can reach an even higher level.â€Â

Established in 1956, the University of South Florida has rapidly ascended into the ranks of America’s research universities. Among USF’s achievements is a classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in its highest tierâ€â€a Research University with Very High Research Activity. USF is one of three public Florida universities with that designation. USF is the only university in Florida designated by the Carnegie Foundation as Community Engaged (and one of only ten public research universities in the nation that hold both designations).

The strategic plan outlines USF’s five priorities:

·        Student Success

·        Integrated, Interdisciplinary Inquiry

·        Research and Innovation

·        Community Engagement

·        Global Literacy and Impact

Future performance expectations will be measured alongside four major goals, which include:

Goal 1 -- Expanding world-class interdisciplinary research, creative, and scholarly endeavors.

Goal 2 – Promoting globally competitive undergraduate, graduate and professional programs that support interdisciplinary inquiry and intellectual development.

Goal 3 – Expanding local and global engagement initiatives to strengthen and sustain healthy communities and to improve the quality of life.

Goal 4 – Enhancing all sources of revenue, and maximizing effectiveness in business practices and financial management to establish a strong and sustainable economic base in support of USF’s growth.

To assist in formulating an action agenda for the strategic plan, President Genshaft has retained Dr. Stephen R. Portch as a consultant. He is the co-author of a report titled Proposing a Blueprint for Higher Education in Florida: Outlining the Way to a Long-term Master Plan for Higher Education in Florida, otherwise referred to as The Pappas Report. Dr. Portch was named one of the “21 Most Influential Voices of the Academy in the Nation.†He is Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Georgia and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow for the Education Commission of the States (ECS).

“USF has charted an ambitious course,†said Dr. Portch. “To achieve its goals, USF will need to be highly disciplined in its approach; will need inspired leadership from key positions; will need to make virtually all its decisions, especially resource allocation decisions, based on the strategic plan; and will need to generate momentum through early wins.â€Â

Dr. Portch admitted that when he was first approached by President Genshaft for this project, he was skeptical about USF’s chances of achieving its goal. After working with University leaders he said, “The overall quality of USF’s strategic planning is extremely high and is superior to the planning of a number of prestigious universities that I’m familiar with.â€Â

AAU institutions were studied during the development of USF’s strategic plan. AAU institutions have several things in common, including some of the best undergraduate and graduate learning experiences and a conducive environment for creativity and research. They’re engines of economic growth and innovation, contributing to the continuous growth and prosperity for their regions. They offer some of the best alumni professional and social networks.

There is only one AAU member in Florida (the University of Florida) compared with nine in California, seven in New York, four in Pennsylvania, and three each in Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts. There are 60 nationally, and two in Canada.

“There are no great cities in this country that do not have an AAU institution in their community,†said President Genshaft. “We believe this is an important goal not just for USF but for the Tampa Bay region as well.â€Â

At the same time, Genshaft says it’s important to focus on the journey rather than the destination.

“As we make progress toward our goal,†she said, “the bottom line is a higher level of excellence throughout the University. That means a better undergraduate experience, the recruitment and retention of world class faculty and students, more research dollars and more breakthrough research that benefits the world.â€Â

            The complete strategic plan, Shaping Our Future, 2007-12 – Transforming Higher Education for Global Innovation can be read or downloaded on USF’s website at http://www.ods.usf.edu/plans/strategic/.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 76 community engaged universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida’s top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $310 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 217 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialty and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.6 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves around 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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