UC Irvine recently released an update on their new strategic plan for the school’s continued growth in order to outline how their performance so far has measured up to their original goals.
In the final plan, first announced in Feb. 2016, Chancellor Howard Gillman stated that to continue growing, UCI must “develop new partnerships, invest in research that matters, serve our community in meaningful ways and provide the best educational environment for each and every Anteater.”
The plan centers around four pillars: Growth That Makes a Difference, First in Class, Great Partners and New Paths for Our Brilliant Future.
The first pillar focuses on creating a better environment for students to learn, which includes hiring and retaining accomplished professors. In the 2015-2016 academic year, 1,126 faculty members were tenured or tenure-track, meaning they held the positions of assistant professor, associate professor or professor. That number is expected to grow with 1,376 tenured or tenure-track faculty members by 2021.
Additionally, as a research school, UCI faculty often receive honorific awards for many of their research projects. Last year, UCI received approximately 55 awards for every 100 faculty. By 2020, UCI hopes to increase that number to 59.
Other goals include having 50 percent of faculty involved in diversity-promoting initiatives and increasing research expenditures to over $500 million by 2021.
The second pillar focuses on the students. In the 2014-2015 school year, 8,851 degrees were awarded. For 2020-2021, UCI hopes to grant at least 11,214. The New York Times also ranks UCI as the top school in universities that help low-income students. From 2006 to 2015, the percentage of low-income undergraduate students increased from 14.27 percent to 26.27 percent and is only expected to increase. Low-income graduate student enrollment increased from 8.36 percent to 12.66 percent. UCI also plans to do more to help students graduate within four years.
In 2014-2015, 9,999 UCI alumni were actively engaged in campus events. UCI’s goal is to double that by 2020. UCI is also working on building better partnerships with our national, state and local governments to develop more community engagement programs. UCI also aims to broaden its local, national and global media coverage to keep spreading the word of all that goes on at the university.
Finally, UCI is looking to increase its philanthropic support. Last year, UCI was awarded $395 million in grants and contracts. Additionally, a reported $132.5 million in gifts were received, which was more than twice the amount received last year. Just last year, the William and Sue Gross Foundation donated $40 million to build and establish a nursing school, making it UCI’s largest gift ever.
UCI has been successful in its adherence to the plan since February, but there are still many goals the university hopes to achieve. In addition to the new nursing school, UCI hopes to establish a pharmacy school. Furthermore, UCI is working toward transitioning the Campuswide Honors Program into a formally-recognized honors college. More also remains to be done to increase development of arts and humanities initiatives. According to the newly-revised plan, the idea is to create a more comprehensive working environment for teachers and students while also keeping in mind financial sustainability.