News Local/State

U of I Lays Out Vision For University In New Five-Year Strategic Plan


U of I Urbana campus Chancellor Robert Jones speaks at the launch of the university's strategic plan at the Illini Union on Feb. 1, 2019. Angela Kerndl/Illinois Public Media

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign officially launched its new strategic plan, Next 150, during an event at the Illini Union Friday afternoon.

U of I Vice Chancellor and Provost Andreas Cangellaris said the plan, which outlines the university’s vision and priorities through the year 2023, centers around increasing diversity and public engagement at the state’s flagship campus.

“It is essential to who we are and what we do that we continue to cultivate and value a diverse community.” Cangellaris said during the launch of the plan Friday. “This starts with our land grant commitment to the democratization of higher education by prioritizing access and affordability.”

To increase diversity, the plan calls for increasing merit-based scholarships and developing education strategies to increase knowledge about other cultures. When it comes to public engagement, the plan points to investing in more research projects and initiatives that benefit the public good, as one example. 

Urbana campus Provost Andreas Cangellaris speaks at the launch of the university's strategic plan at the Illini Union on Feb. 1, 2019.

Photo Credit: Angela Kerndl/Illinois Public Media

U of I Chancellor Robert Jones said the plan isn’t meant to be a day-to-day forecast for how the university operates, but will provide a starting point for which initiatives the university invests in.

“If you want to know exactly where our priorities will be, how we’re going to make decisions, how we’re going to make investments and initiatives and if you want to understand the values and principles that will guide us in the years to come, the Next 150 is exactly where you should start,” Jones said.

Next 150 highlights four broad goals that were established over the past year with help from faculty, staff, students and administrators. According to the plan, those goals are to foster discovery and innovation, provide transformative learning experiences, make a significant and visible impact, and to steward current resources and generate additional resources for strategic initiatives.  

Jones said the new five-year strategic plan builds on the successes of the previous one, developed in 2013. He cited the Illinois Carle College of Medicine, the Siebel Center for Design and the Illinois Program for the Humanities, among other programs, as initiatives that grew from the momentum of the previous plan.

“We really do have an iterative process here, and I take great pride in the fact hat we have decided to build on that planning process,” Jones said.