Competitive Excellence

The University of Oregon campus is, once again, full of the energy and excitement of new and returning students. As we enter a new academic year, the faculty and staff have yet another opportunity to teach, discover, and serve. As an institution, we also have incredible momentum on our plans to define our path forward. We continue to be focused on the goal of achieving academic excellence, promoting students access and success, and ensuring the university’s financial stability. In September, interim President Scott Coltrane and our leadership team shared a Competitive Excellence Plan with the UO Board of Trustee and academic leadership. The plan is outlined in the PowerPoint I am sharing on this website. This process is more than a year in the making, shaped by our academic plan, benchmarking, new initiatives, and campus discussion.

Goal Setting
The competitive excellence plan reviews our strengths, challenges, and opportunities as a university. It also outlines specific strategic initiatives designed to advance our mission and secure our standing as a preeminent public research institution.  The idea of competitive excellence is that we must strive, through thoughtful planning, measuring and hard work, to be the best in everything we do. This plan outlines our path forward to excellence and access by:

  • Attracting bright, high achieving, diverse students

  • Hiring more outstanding and diverse faculty members and researchers

  • Providing more opportunities to Oregon students with financial need

  • Supporting all students’ success with increased support and enrichment

  • Creating and maintaining the spaces, resources and technology needed for faculty and students to learn and thrive

  • Ensuring financial stability and responsibility

Strategic Initiatives
To reach these goals will require strategic efforts and planning across the entire campus, in collaboration with the larger community, and will entail substantial financial investment. The leadership team has identified specific program design to reach these goals and move the needle on some of our metrics.

To attract the best and brightest, as well as diverse students we plan to:

  • Increase our scholarships for top scholars

  • Grow our honors college

  • Expand our PhD fellowships

To hire more outstanding and diverse faculty we plan to:

  • Hire 150 more tenure-related faculty members over the next five years

  • Launch and seek funding for our clusters of excellence hiring initiative

To expand access and support student success we plan to:

  • Grow our successful PathwayOregon program that provides financial and academic support to high-achieving, Pell grant eligible Oregon residents

  • Create new graduation-assistance grants and retention programs

To support all students and faculty initiatives through infrastructure we plan to:

  • Renovate residence halls

  • Add offices, labs and classroom space

  • Create the technology infrastructure to take us into the future.

To ensure financial stability and responsibility also requires planning and initiatives. We, along with all of our public university peers, are calling on the state to restore funding and reinvest in higher education. As we prepare for the next phase of our capital campaign, we will call on our loyal supporters and new friends to help us fundraise. We will also leverage our new governance model to find efficiencies and create financial structures that allow us to adapt to changing needs.

The Path to the Competitive Excellence Proposal
Over the last year, the leadership team embarked on establishing a set of initiatives and aspirations to advance the University of Oregon’s mission as a premier public residential research university committed to access and excellence. The effort has been shaped by 2009 Academic Plan as well as the 2013 Benchmarking Report that compared the UO against our public AAU peers. This exercise allowed us to see where we stand, and how we might improve some of our metrics. The Provost’s Office then hosted a series of campus discussions about the benchmarks, our mission statement, and the academic plan that sparked great ideas and healthy debate. These discussions help us continue to refine our metrics and understand our strengths and challenges. Last spring, to support these goals, the university embarked on the Faculty Excellence Cluster Hire Program. This program is designed to bring outstanding faculty members in select fields to the UO to join in effort to address some of today’s most significant challenges.

Next Steps
The Competitive Excellence Plan will be used to help revise the Academic plan in cooperation with the campus community.

Competitive Excellence Plan Presentation Download