Campus Strategic Planning Process

Strategic planning is a process -- one Chancellor Steinmetz believes should happen from the ground up, and be as inclusive as possible. 

As part of this comprehensive approach to campus planning, and following meeting with every academic department,  many interdisciplinary programs and centers on campus, students, faculty, and staff, the chancellor received a deeper knowledge of the issues faced by the academic units, while providing an opportunity for departments to share their strengths, priorities, and future direction. 

The process unfolded in several phases, and with the arrival of Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor James Coleman in January 2017, a new phase in the planning gets underway. The broad strokes  are detailed below:

Phases/Semester Timeline

Spring 2016

  1. Campus academic departments, centers and programs summarized their strengths, weaknesses, and challenges with an eye toward their future direction. They defined long-term goals, needs, priorities, directions and reported back to the chancellor’s and provost's offices and the deans by the end of the semester via summary document. 75+ individual meetings held with the chancellor were completed by May 31.

Summer 2016

  1. Deans and their staffs reviewed departmental summary documents and identified themes across the individual colleges.

  2. Three groups of faculty, staff, and students reviewed the departmental summaries with an eye toward identifying university-wide themes that have emerged from the unit discussions. These groups were organized by the traditional mission areas of research and service; teaching and learning; and outreach and engagement. The committees, students and academic deans provided summary reports to the chancellor.

  3. The work of the committees was collated at the administration level to begin to define the university's direction for the future.

Fall 2016

  1. The institution's guiding priorities, as drafted, are being shared with the campus for feedback. Following a feedback period, each priority will be assigned to a campus unit to flesh out some potential action plans and initiatives.

  2. Chancellor Steinmetz' investiture speech on October 20, 2016, outlined the campus priorities.

  3. Eight team leads (along with eight groups of faculty and staff), have been assigned a priority with the task of fleshing out potential initiatives that could be implemented.

Spring 2017

  1. The provost will convene the Guiding Priority team leads to create a framework for reporting.  
  2. The colleges will determine and report how the priorities align with college-level strategic plans. The service units will develop plans that support the institutional priorities that have been defined.
  3. The provost will determine which initiatives will be adopted and a summation of the plans described above will be shared with the campus community in March 2017.

Guiding Priorities for the University of Arkansas

A comprehensive public land-grant institution with a mission of teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, should likewise have a comprehensive focus to guide its priorities—but a focus also rooted in the strengths of the institution and attuned to areas for continued growth and improvement. The University of Arkansas has long demonstrated its ability to attain greatness in these core mission areas and is poised to continue this trajectory to become an even better institution. The following priorities for the U of A were crafted through a collaborative process that involved meetings with faculty and staff in our academic units, discussions by committees of faculty and staff organized around our mission areas, and input from the academic deans and our students. These discussions included assessments of our strengths, challenges, opportunities and aspirations as an institution—the work was collaborative and imbued with a shared sense of optimism and excitement for the future of the University of Arkansas. From this input, eight priority areas have emerged, which are briefly described here:

  • Advancing Student Success

    Maximizing the success of University of Arkansas students is our highest priority starting with their recruitment and ending with their transition to careers or further education. We will work to maximize the success of our students, with special attention to first-generation college-going Arkansans, by increasing financial assistance for those who need it, easing the transition into the university, improving retention and graduation rates, and providing career planning and career transition assistance.

  • Building a Collaborative and Innovative Campus

    The University of Arkansas is a comprehensive university with many individual units and disciplines that contribute to teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement. The world of higher education, however, is becoming increasingly more interdisciplinary and collaborative in these mission areas, which reflect the world around us. To be a leader, we will work to foster a university environment that embraces collaboration and interdisciplinary pursuits while also stimulating innovation in our approaches to creating and disseminating knowledge.

  • Enhancing our Research and Discovery Mission

    The creation of new knowledge and creative activities is a defining feature of a research university. We will work to increase and enhance our research activity across the broad spectrum of areas that make up this comprehensive university and in the process define signature areas where we can excel as an institution.

  • Enriching Campus Diversity and Inclusion

    We believe that diversity should permeate the very fabric of the University of Arkansas. We will therefore work to diversify along many dimensions our faculty, staff and students and at the same time create an environment and atmosphere that is welcoming and inclusive for all.

  • Investing in Faculty Excellence

    A great university recruits, hires and retains a great faculty. To ensure that we can hire and retain an outstanding faculty, we will work to increase the salaries of existing faculty, provide competitive salaries for new faculty and for staff that provide support to faculty and students, enhance support for teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, and provide a supportive environment for academic pursuits.

  • Promoting Innovation in Teaching and Learning

    High quality faculty teaching and student learning experiences have been defining features of the University of Arkansas for many years. We will work to maintain this high level of teaching and learning and at the same time promote the creation of timely and innovative academic programs and learning experiences, domestically and internationally.

  • Reaffirming our Land-grant and Flagship Responsibilities

    The University of Arkansas is unique in that it is both the state’s flagship university and a land-grant institution. With this unique status comes a responsibility to engage, collaborate, and provide outreach to the citizens, businesses, governmental and civic entities of the state to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. We will define what it means to be a land-grant and flagship university in the 21st century and augment our outreach and engagement efforts, broadly defined, across Arkansas.

  • Strengthening Graduate Education

    Graduate education is an important part of a research university and graduate students make significant contributions to the research and teaching missions of the university; and key to the university’s impact on economic development. We will work to enhance and improve graduate education at the University of Arkansas by intensifying the recruitment and boosting support of graduate students as well as making sure that our programs are preparing graduate students for a variety of productive careers.

Campus Strategic Planning: Phase III Update February 2017

 Jim Coleman, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, has convened the heads of the eight groups to direct the development of their individual reports, which are due in March.

Once those reports are delivered, the groups will meet to synthesize them, focusing on emergent top priorities for implementation, Coleman said.

“Ideally, the endpoint is the development of the plan, which will span 3-5 years, articulate a set of action item, and allocate not only the resources but the responsibility for each thing. Determining what we will measure has been at the forefront of the work these groups are doing.”

Some actions may be selected as early as March – while others may be phased in over time.

Academic and administrative units were asked to go into the budget process with a plan for cutting 1 percent from their budgets each year for the next three years. Academic units will reallocate their 1 percent to support the guiding priorities within their colleges, while the administrative units’ 1 percent will fund a centrally managed pool of funds for strategic allocation.

Service units can begin their planning until March, when the actions are determined.


The initial report from seven of the eight groups is available for review. Please note this is not the final plan or document. This document will be further assessed for cross-cutting initiatives, potential costs and resources available, responsibilities, actions, and metrics. 

 Advancing Student Success: Charles Robinson (lead)

  1. Suzanne McCray
  2. Todd Shields
  3. Anne Raines
  4. Stephanie Schulte
  5. Rachel Glade

 Building a Collaborative and Innovative Campus: Elizabeth Margulis (lead)

  1. Peter MacKeith
  2. Lynda Coon
  3. Marty Matlock
  4. Fran Hagstrom (GRAD)
  5. Stephanie Pierce (LIBR)
  6. Doug Behrend (ARSC)

Enhancing our Research and Discovery Mission: Jim Rankin (lead)

  1. Jack Cothren
  2. Ed Pohl
  3. Fred Spiegel
  4. Carol Reeves
  5. Lisa Corrigan
  6. Trish Starks

Enriching Campus Diversity and Inclusion: Ro DiBrezzo (lead)

  1. Barbara Lofton
  2. Geffrey Davis
  3. Anna Zajicek
  4. Michael Evans
  5. Calvin White
  6. J. Shelton

Investing in Faculty:  Ashok Saxena

  1. John Pijanowski
  2. Kathy Van Laningham
  3. Wes Stites
  4. Matt Waller
  5. Neil Allison
  6. Euche Ewelucwa

Promoting Innovation in Teaching and Learning: Terry Martin (lead)

  1. Cheryl Murphy
  2. Shelly Walters
  3. Lorraine Brewer
  4. Jeannie Whayne
  5. Curt Rom
  6. Dave Frederick

Reaffirming our Land-grant and Flagship Responsibilities (Outreach/Engagement): Randy Massanelli (lead)

  1. Cynthia Sides
  2. Heather Nachtmann
  3. Leslie Yingling
  4. Terry Siebenmorgen
  5. Patrick Williams

Strengthening Graduate Education: Kim Needy (lead)

  1. Alan Ellstrand
  2. Brinck Kerr
  3. Kate Mamiseishvili
  4. Necia Parker-Gibson
  5. Jean-Francois Meullenet
  6. Charlie Rosenkrans

Questions? Feedback? Please email Laura Jacobs, chief of staff

Thank you for your interest and taking part in this critical process.