Strategic Action Plan

— Approved by the Board of Trustees on October 13, 2000

    (for the 2003 draft, please go to

The University of Vermont is an exceptional institution with a proud history, based on a strong intellectual community and a long tradition of concern for the quality of life in the communities it serves.1 UVM combines the intellectual resources of a comprehensive research university with an excellent liberal arts education offered through close student-teacher interactions. In addition, it combines an enduring respect for high quality education with the use of cutting-edge technology to enhance excellence. Our strengths, unusual among state universities nationally, offer both exciting opportunities and difficult challenges.

Our strengths reflect our values, which include:

If our efforts over the next five years are successful, the University of Vermont will have a superior national reputation —

Our vision is to achieve these things, and to make UVM one of the best places in the nation to study, live and work.

To sustain and nurture our values, and to enhance excellence, we need to meet urgent challenges to our strengths in four areas2:

Prioritizing ways to meet these challenges will be based on the extent to which each proposed course of action:

We will also focus on the hallmarks of a UVM education, what we do best and what makes us distinctive. These include three areas of exceptional strength in our academic and research portfolio:

and two areas of emphasis where we create learning experiences in meaningful ways:

These five elements provide connections and synergy across the entire UVM experience, creating a distinctive culture throughout the institution.

Tactical Imperatives for FY2001

The strategic action plan and tactical imperatives for FY2001 are drawn from work of the Strategic Change Process and focus on urgent issues requiring immediate attention. This represents a subset of the many areas for attention, redirection, and investment delineated in a number of other documents including the 5-Year Planning Goals and Initiatives.

The work described in this plan is critically important, since it will help UVM succeed on multiple fronts. Meeting these goals will have a positive effect on our:

To accomplish this, the University will adopt a cohesive planning and budget process at all levels, linking college, department, and unit efforts, the Faculty Senate Academic Program Review Process, and the university strategic action plan. This framework will be in place by December 2000.

Review and focus academic programs.

Over time, this may mean consolidation and elimination of some programs and strengthening of others.

Proposed measures


Recruit and retain an excellent and diverse student body.

Recruiting and retaining excellent, diverse students are at the very heart of UVM’s future. Excellence or quality in this context begins with academic ability, but also includes diversity, social commitment and involvement, special talents (creative, artistic, etc.), and geographic/international representation. Competition for these students is intense, and we must invest in and employ a variety of new and effective strategies if we are to meet our objectives. Our ability to accomplish this task is a key to our success as a university.

Proposed measures


Increase diversity at UVM and better support existing people and programs

The University has an Affirmative Action Plan and that plan sets forth hiring goals for ALANA persons in accordance with applicable federal law, including Executive Order 11246. The University seeks to widen the diversity of its applicant pools, thereby increasing the likelihood that qualified ALANA people will be hired. The University has had great difficulty in attracting and retaining ALANA faculty and staff. It is time to focus more on implementing ideas we already have and less on generating and discussing new ones. Particular emphasis will be put on the recruitment and retention of ALANA people.

Proposed measures


Increase Financial Strength.

For some years, UVM’s sustainable sources of revenue have not fully supported essential expenditures. This is one of the reasons we fall short in terms of perceived value among current and prospective students, while we engage in a continuous struggle to do all we are doing with limited resources. The effort to increase financial strength will entail cost cutting, eliminating duplication and inefficiency, reengineering services and activities, generating new revenue, and ensuring that all we do is of high quality and critical to fulfilling our mission as a university. We need to maximize revenue, by improving our performance in generating endowment and other investment income, gifts, indirect cost reimbursement, and tuition revenue. Accomplishing this goal will create opportunities for strategic investment in targeted areas, as well as allow us to better address longstanding problems such as faculty and staff compensation. Fiscal conditions are evidence of the success of other university actions (i.e. increased enrollment and retention, research, instructional quality, program review, capital campaign, etc.). Tuition will continue as the major single source of university revenue. Efforts to increase student outcomes in recruitment, retention and graduation will enhance financial stability. Thus, quality contributes to financial strength.

Proposed measures

(Proposed measures related to enrollment may be found under Recruit and retain an excellent and diverse student body.)


Proposed measures


These tactical imperatives represent a series of first steps, taken within the context of longer-range strategic thinking and action. As the results of these imperatives are realized, they will guide and inform subsequent choices and decisions. Again, such decisions will be based on the fundamental framework outlined at the outset of this document.

1UVM's many strengths include:

2 Specific challenges in these areas include