Building Georgia's world university

Two years in the making, UGA's new Strategic Plan prescribes how Georgia's flagship university can best serve the needs of the state over the next decade—and beyond.

Endowments at Major Universities: A Comparison
University of Michigan $2.5 B
University of Virginia $1.4 B
Georgia Tech $948.6 M
UNC at Chapel Hill $925.7 M
University of Wisconsin $653.5 M
University of Florida $601.8 M
University of Alabama $553.2 M
University of Georgia $334.5 M
The University of Georgia is on the move—and the nation knows it. Already ranked in the top 20 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report, UGA has the talent, the ambition, and the determination to become one of the nation's very best institutions of higher learning, public or private.

For proof, we have only to look at the decade of the 1990s, which saw UGA's average SAT score for entering freshmen rise dramatically to 1203 for fall 2000. The law school is ranked among the top 11 public law schools in the country by U.S. News, and UGA's Terry College of Business is consistently ranked among the top 20 public business schools.

In the past decade, five faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences achieved benchmark success by being named to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Two UGA faculty were named to the National Academy of Engineering. Ed Larson won the Pulitzer Prize for history. And three UGA students won Rhodes Scholarships.

As proud as we are of where we are now, the University of Georgia of 2010 and beyond must be a distinctly different—and better—institution than it is today. Different because the world is changing faster than ever before. Better so we can continue to serve the people of Georgia as well in the 21st century as we did in the 20th.

Building a better University requires that we look seriously at where UGA is and where we want to go; at what we do well and what we can do better; at why we have chosen some paths and not others.

To clarify those images, the University has been involved in a strategic planning process for the past two years—painstakingly examining and attempting to identify, college by college and unit by unit, how we can best serve the State of Georgia over the next decade.

The key question we have been asking ourselves is: Where do internal strengths meet external opportunities?

At the insistence of UGA's vice president for strategic planning, the deans and vice presidents took a hard look at their organizations. They made difficult choices, prioritized potential areas of excellence, and identified sources of financial support. What we have arrived at through this strategic planning process is a plan for reaching our vision of UGA in the 21st century. It is not a wish list, as should be obvious from the scope of our vision and the financial resources necessary to make that vision a reality.

While UGA has a number of strengths, the strategic planning process paid particular attention to our weaknesses—because that is where the greatest gains can be made:

Sense of "community"
We have become, over the past 30 years, a non-residential University. Only one in five students lives on campus; we have not built a residence hall since 1969. We believe a University education is far more than what happens in the classroom or the laboratory, that many of life's lessons are learned in conversation on the lawn, in a chance meeting with a professor at the bookstore, or in resolving residence hall conflicts.

Research mission
In several ways, we have fallen behind in support for our research mission. While our faculty continue to produce remarkable work, the University has not kept pace in the area of research facilities. And we do not have the number or quality of graduate students required to be the kind of research university we want to be.

We generate 40 percent of our credit hours in just 50 courses. This concentration of undergraduate students in one-sixth of our undergraduate courses is troubling; while the idea of a core curriculum is worthy of support, it appears that some programs are simply not in demand.

Our technological infrastructure is not as advanced as we would like. Today's students are the students of the Information Age and we should be ready to support the services they demand and the learning styles they bring to our campus.

Additional or Redeployed $ Over 10 Years
Internal Redirect $350 M
Students $50-350 M
Sponsored Research $500 M
Fund Raising $500-750 M
State Support $450-550 M
Special State Support $400 M

While the initiatives of this strategic planning process focus on various parts of the University that appear to present the richest opportunities for growth and development—and, thus, distinction and service—the success of the plan will be determined, to a large degree, by the "fit" of its many elements. And in determining what those elements should be, we need to be mindful of the key challenges facing our state, which include workforce development, economic development, globalization, and building the "good community."

The challenge of workforce development
This area has the highest priority among Georgia's business leaders, who see an alarming shortage of workers skilled in information technology, compositional and language skills, and "emotional intelligence."

The challenge of economic development
The principal opportunities to improve Georgia's standard of living come from cutting-edge research at research universities. This is the premise of such major state investments as the Georgia Research Alliance and the new Yamacraw initiative, which is designed to attract high-tech companies to Georgia. We must keep pace with other states. Using the state's tobacco settlement funds, Michigan has made a $200 million commitment to biosciences research at the University of Michigan. A state-wide referendum in North Carolina has allocated $3.1 billion for higher education.

The challenge of globalization
Propelled in large part by information technology, globalization will be the hallmark of the 21st century. We are already on the doorstep of a world characterized by the routine extension of business to other parts of the world. Employers want graduates who speak the language of their new and future customers, and who know how to communicate on- and off-line.

The challenge of building the "good community"
Despite the extraordinary prosperity of Georgia, in general, and Atlanta, in particular, over the past generation, few are satisfied with current conditions or future prospects for the quality of schools, water, air, transportation, and housing. In order to achieve our new vision for UGA in 2010 and beyond, the University's planning process has developed three strategic directions to guide its program development and its search for and allocation of public and private support—and each of these strategic directions has a price tag in keeping with the extent of our ambition.

Selected Benchmarks for Performance
2000 Current Status 2010 Goal
Enrollment: Overall enrollment
Undergraduate enrollment
6,870 (=22%)
Overall enrollment
Undergraduate enrollment
8,125 (=25%)
Student beds: 6,500 9,000
Average SAT scores for entering freshmen: 1,203 1,250
Diversity: 6%
students are black
faculty are black
are black
are black
6-year graduation rate: 65% 75%
Research: 86th national ranking for federal research expenditures
35th total research expenditures
50th national ranking for federal research expenditures
30th total research expenditures
Rankings: UGA ranked 20th among public universities in USN&WR UGA ranked 15th among public universities in USN&WR
Students studying abroad: 4%
of student body
of student body
Percentage of undergraduates graduating with international education experience: 11% 25%
Number of UGA year-round academic programs abroad: 1 5
Percent of undergraduates graduating with conversational foreign language fluency: 4-6% 25-30%
Fundraising: $48 M
in new private gifts and pledges
$100 M
in new private gifts and pledges

Building the New Learning Environment

In order to maximize opportunities for our students in the digital age and, thus, provide Georgia with a steady stream of technologically sophisticated citizens for the 21st century economy, UGA must:

Create new academic and certification programs
To support the many ways in which information technologies are transforming traditional academic disciplines, such as the New Media Institute and its new certification program and a new master's degree in Internet Technology.

Enhance students' sense of community
UGA must build new residence halls with the goal of doubling the number of students living on campus. By 2005, the University will have greatly expanded the already existing academic presence in residence halls to include more classrooms, stronger academic support services, and a significant faculty presence.

Build on UGA's greatest strength—the quality of its teaching
The University will launch a "superior teachers program," supported by a $25 million endowment, designed to build the finest cadre of undergraduate teachers in America by 2010.

Please note: The three cost charts that follow contain only those initiatives with a price tag of at least $10 million. The totals reflect overall costs for all initiatives.

What It Will Cost
$140 M UGA Living/Learning Community
[2,600 new dormitory beds + classrooms]
$80 M Renovation projects
[Environmental Design, Phi Kappa, Old College, Greenway, Jackson Street, Moore College, Caldwell, Tate Center, Memorial Hall, and others]
$58 M Renovation/upgrade of Residence Life facilities
[Renovate: Myers, Payne, Rutherford, Morris; Replace: Mell, Lipscomb, Church, Hill, Boggs]
$50 M UGA Gwinnett facilities/programs
$42 M Student Learning Center
$40 M Special Collections Library
$35 M Center for Information Technology
$30 M Natural History Museum
$30 M Parking lots/decks
$25 M Superior Teachers Program
$25 M Upgrade UGA Bookstore
$20 M 500 need-based scholarships
$20 M Terry College of Business Student Center
$20 M Funding improvements in Physical Master Plan
$14 M Endow leadership programs
$10 M Distance learning and information technology
$10 M Grady College of JRL/Mass Comm
Total $681 million

Maximizing Research Opportunities

To reach the ranks of the top American research universities, UGA will need to focus on its best external funding opportunities, best opportunities for national distinction, and initiatives to achieve the next level of success in research and creative work:

Best external funding opportunities
Environmental sciences, biosciences (genomics, in particular), biomedical, behavioral and social sciences, technologically aided agricultural research and service programs (e.g., digital imaging and diagnostics).

Best opportunities for national distinction
History, public and international affairs, art, music, and English (including humanities computing, literacy studies, and creative writing).

Initiatives to achieve next level of success in research
Creating 100 endowed research professorships; increasing graduate enrollment by 1,255 students; focusing faculty hiring decisions on selected areas of research excellence; and developing support for badly needed research facilities in key areas of institutional strength, including a College of the Environment and Design, a major hospital for veterinary medicine, and an addition to the College of Pharmacy (with space to support UGA-Medical College of Georgia biomedical initiatives).

What It Will Cost
$300 M College of the Environment and Design
$110 M New veterinary teaching hospital
$25-100 M 100 endowed research professorships/chairs
$81 M Performing and Visual Arts/Phase II
$39 M Construction of art department facility
$30 M Construction of theater and dance facility
$12 M Georgia Museum of Art expansion
$80 M General research facilities
[2 or more buildings]
$50 M College of Pharmacy additions
$40 M Horticultural building
$23 M Center for Applied Genetic Technology
$20 M Renovation of classrooms
[also King Law Library, Hosch Library Annex, law school's public areas]
$15 M Increase graduate student enrollment
[by 1,255 students]
$15 M Renovation of graduate/faculty housing
[305 apartments]
$10 M Warnell School of Forest Resources facilities
Total $860 million

Competing in a Global Economy

In order to serve Georgians in the 21st century, UGA must dramatically accelerate its international dimension in a number of ways:

Strengthen existing international programs
Center for International Trade and Security, International Center for Democratic Governance.

Establish new academic programs
School of Public and International Affairs

Increase number of students in study abroad programs
By a factor of 10 by 2010, while at the same time developing residential UGA Study Abroad Centers throughout the world.

What It Will Cost
$200 M General endowment
$79 M School of Public and International Affairs
$30 M Alumni Center
$20 M Overseas instructional centers
$20 M Master Plan implementation
$20 M UGA-Athens joint projects
[bike paths, pedestrian malls, mixed-use facilities]
$12 M Center for International Trade and Security
$10 M Study abroad scholarships endowment
Total $400 million
GRAND TOTAL$2 billion

This analysis ends with a new beginning for the University of Georgia, with opportunities that are unprecedented in our 215-year history. UGA's tradition of making a difference for the people of this state will change in the 21st century, but only in scope:

We will make a difference for Georgians—and for the people of the world.

We're dreaming big and aiming high, and we're dedicated to building a University of Georgia for the 21st century that is strong, diverse, responsive to society's needs, and focused on delivering the power of education to the people of Georgia and the world.

To put our overriding philosophy more succinctly: "We're Georgia!"

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