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Introduction

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What makes a great university? The University of Connecticut, at this transformational time in its history, aspires to join the ranks of the greatest universities in the world, while simultaneously serving our region and our nation. We have the talent, perspective, and confidence to create a better future by becoming a more powerful research university that produces a rich flow of ideas, sparks invention and innovation, and improves the quality of life for all people.

With unprecedented support from the state, industry, and donors, we will expand educational opportunities, research, and innovation in diverse fields of study, with an emphasis in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines over the next decade. We will create and disseminate knowledge and innovative ideas and focus our attention on the importance of the arts, humanities, and social sciences that are an integral part of our great University. We will leverage the strength and resources of our University to build America’s future workforce, create jobs, start and attract companies, and help drive economic development in the state and nation.

Since UConn was established in 1881, its faculty, students, and staff have worked to shape a path to excellence, and our graduates have made a vast array of fundamentally important contributions to their professions and communities. We have emerged as a nationally ranked university that educates talented students of diverse personal histories, perspectives, and interests. Our graduates contribute in vastly different ways to our state, the nation, and the world, serving as creative leaders in industries, educational institutions, healthcare, government, and nonprofit foundations. When we consider what we hope for our students, we most hope they will emerge as creators of the future, not mere observers.

The University is internationally recognized for research in wide-ranging areas, such as additive manufacturing, psychology, gifted and talented education, genomics, human rights, health promotion and disease prevention, visual arts, and linguistics. Through their research and scholarship, our faculty members are committed to developing the creativity and talent of our students, and promoting their intellectual inquiry across disciplines. We believe in engagement with our state and its citizens and in the intrinsic value of dedicated service to others.

As we forge the next decade of progress at UConn, this comprehensive academic vision is guided by a singular vision to achieve excellence in all aspects of our mission as a University­—research, education, service, and engagement. These goals and strategies form the basis for informed decision-making for faculty and staff hiring, infrastructure, operating budget, and space allocation; all in support of our extraordinary disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and educational programs.

UConn has already gained momentum toward achieving the aspirations articulated in this plan. The University serves as a beacon of academic and research excellence as well as a center for innovation and social service to communities. We are a leader in many scholarly, research, and innovation areas. Today, our path forward includes exciting opportunities and notable challenges. Record numbers of undergraduate applications and support for student success have enabled the University to become extraordinarily selective. In just 15 years, our ranking by U.S. News & World Report among public universities has risen from No. 38 in 1998 to No. 19 today. Many initiatives, including our plan to hire nearly 500 faculty over the next few years, the emerging programs in partnership with The Jackson Laboratory, as well as the nearly $1.7 billion investment in Next Generation Connecticut and the $900 million investment in Bioscience Connecticut—both major investments by the state—present exciting opportunities and unique challenges for our research endeavors. Our partnerships with United Technologies, General Electric, Northeast Utilities, and other industries through UConn’s Technology Park also will help to secure our place as an institution of the highest rank among public research universities.

Investments from donors, industry, and the state have and will be instrumental in the dramatic growth and impact of the University. We are renewing, rebuilding, and enhancing our campuses and academic programs through strategic investments. It is at this important juncture that we, the faculty and leaders of UConn, assume the responsibility to define the path to excellence through a new academic vision that builds upon the foundational mission statement of the University and its core values.