Defining the Future: The System Strategic Plan

Office of the President » Strategic Plan

The University of Tennessee System Administration Strategic Plan

The System Strategic Plan establishes a vision and direction for five years (2012-2017), with clearly defined goals to ensure good stewardship and purposeful use of resources. The 12-month planning process was transparent and received input from more than 400 faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and community leaders. The strategic plan was approved by the Board of Trustees in June 2012.

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Strategic Plan Refresh Project, Winter 2014-Spring 2015

The project to refresh the 2012-2017 UT System Strategic Plan built on momentum and achievements of the plan’s first two years to advance the University’s vision for a “best in class” system.
Learn more about the refresh »



Where We Are

Goal 1: Enhancing Educational Excellence


  • Developed retention best practices
  • Created a UT System/TBR Online Collaboration
  • Conducted review of all academic programs
  • Created a bigger footprint in Nashville for UTHSC with St. Thomas partnership
  • Undertaking a review of the tenure and post-tenure review processes

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Goal 2: Expanding Research Capacities


  • Launched plans for a new Joint Institute for Personalized Health with UTK, UTHSC, UTC and ORNL
  • Expanded technology transfer program
  • Recruited 15 Governor’s Chairs and increased joint appointments to 160 faculty members
  • Partnered with Tech 20/20 to secure federal funding to develop a feasibility study for a venture investment fund, called TenneSeed. The TenneSeed fund would provide early stage investment capital to promote university and other regional technology-based companies.
  • Created the Office of Corporate and Foundation Engagement to identify companies in Tennessee and beyond for mutually beneficial industry partnerships.
  • The University is in the process of compiling and analyzing data about the impact on rankings of combining research programs within the UT System.

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Goal 3: Fostering Outreach and Engagement


  • Created online data portal to collect outreach and engagement data from across the System.

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Goal 4: Ensuring Effectiveness and Efficiency


  • Efficiency measures recommended by our budget advisory group in 2015 have helped cut a projected $377 million budget gap over the next decade by nearly $130 million
  • Conducting program realignment initiative to assess low performing programs to fund program(s) reinvestment
  • Performing a feasibility analysis and developing a plan for program consolidation(s) that will produce cost savings
  • Developing cost savings plan for reallocation into strategic priorities
  • Conducted tuition structure review including expanding differential tuition implementation and/or increasing it, development and implementation of an enrollment growth plan for non-resident students, and further implementation of 15/4 tuition plan.
  • Identified Employer of Choice initiatives
  • Revised organizational and administrative structures of the UT Foundation and UT Research Foundation

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Goal 5: Advocating for the UT System


  • Enhanced UT’s visibility and participation in policy development at the state and federal levels.
  • Expanded government relations activities to promote expertise and increase legislative support for research opportunities
  • Increased advocacy training for UT alumni and friends
  • Increased collaboration and visibility for faculty and research accomplishments
  • Developed of a system-wide crisis communications plan
  • Established an ‘Advocacy 101’ alumni training series to travel to major alumni markets to further develop the UT Advocacy network
  • Implemented successful legislative advocacy campaign for securing Lone Oaks Farm, UT’s top capital priority for the 2015 session.
  • Inventoried and analyzed unfunded and underfunded statutory mandates as they relate to tuition waivers and discounts.
  • Worked with state policymakers to evaluate changing the administration of state mandated tuition discounts to result in cost savings to the University.

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Where We Want to Be

Revised Business Model

  • Leading the effort for sustainable, reliable funding for public higher education in a dynamic educational, economic, fiscal and social environment through a Revised Business Model.

Strategic Talent Management

  • Known for its performance based-culture within a “best place to work” setting that promotes professional development, retention, a positive environment and increased competency and productivity across the University workplace with Strategic Talent Management.

Information and Data Management

  • Leveraging knowledge and efficiency across the System for service to the state and its residents through Information and Data Management.

Valued UT Presence and Impact

  • Demonstrating the value of the UT System by talking about the University’s vast economic impact on the state and its residents and raising the profile of University leadership. Valued UT Presence and Impact.

Communications and Marketing

  • Raising the visibility of the University and strengthening its leadership position in the state, nation and world through Communications and Marketing.

Research and Industry Partnerships

  • Driving the research efforts for the state by bringing the University, research and business communities together to solve global problems and improve the lives of people in Tennessee and beyond through Research and Industry Partnerships.

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What's Ongoing

Regional Tuition Plans

  • Campuses in the process of developing regional tuition plans to help recruit out-of-state students.

Governors Chairs Faculty

  • The University has asked that funding to bring more Governor Chairs faculty to Tennessee be doubled over the next five years.

TenneSeed Fund

  • To support the TenneSeed fund, the University will develop a proposal with the UT Foundation for investment for the fund.

Fee Structures

  • In the process of reviewing fee structures to ensure activity in capturing actual cost of delivery and should review services being provided for which a fee could be established.

Data Warehouse Software

  • The University is seeking $500,000 annually to purchase software that will enhance our ability to compile, compare and examine vast amounts data from all of our campuses and institutes.

Faculty and Staff

  • UT is requesting $3.85 million in new funding for additional faculty and staff to help increase Tennessee’s rural net worth, enhance market development activities, and stimulate rural enterprise innovation.

Student Default

  • The University is working with key congressional staff and members in discussing institutional liability for student default, including successful push for the use of year-round Pell Grant legislation.

UT Extension

  • The University is providing federal government relations support to establish UT Extension as the lead for the National Enhanced Grassland Ecosystem Sustainability Initiative.

Compensation Plan

  • The University has asked that higher education employees fall under the same compensation plan the state has for all other employees.

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