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Office of the President


To:   UC Community
Re:   UC|21 – Next Steps
From:   Nancy L. Zimpher, President
Date:   July 7, 2004

Let me take this opportunity, mid-summer, to thank the entire UC community for the tremendous investment you have made thus far in the creation of UC|21: Defining the New Urban Research University.

Since announcing UC|21 at my Inaugural, I have received countless messages of encouragement and goodwill. There is, throughout our various communities, a real sense of expectation about the future of the University of Cincinnati. Not only are people expressing enthusiasm and excitement about various aspects of the plan, they are asking how they can help realize our ambitious aspirations.

To measure up to these expectations, which I know we can do, some important next steps must be taken. While we will engage collectively in the implementation phase of UC|21 this fall, we must use the remaining weeks of the summer to plan for this process.

First, we must complete, codify and disseminate our plan. Despite summer schedules, a core group of volunteers is working through the summer to assemble the UC|21 action team reports into a publicly presentable and goal-directed document for distribution at the beginning of Fall Quarter.

Second, we must have the resources to implement our plans. On this critical issue, we are making progress. On June 22, I presented an all-funds operating budget to the Board of Trustees. In approving this budget, the Trustees understood the sacrifices made throughout the University to address the “near-perfect storm” I described to you in January. In addition, projections for new-student recruitment indicate that we will welcome a freshman class slightly larger than last year’s record class. And, changes from priority registration to real-time registration have led to a larger number of returning students this fall. We are not yet out of the storm, but we are no longer sinking.

To fund the UC|21 Plan, however, we must increase our annual income substantially. Thus, we are working on an enrollment expansion plan that uses our strongest programs to attract higher levels of enrollment, with the intention of using that new tuition income to support those units taking in the new students and to fund quality improvements called for in the UC|21 Plan. I mentioned this intention in my Inauguration speech and called it the 50 in 5 Plan. If we can add around 20% to our enrollment, it will provide us with the additional resources we need. You will hear much more about this plan, as interviews with all colleges about how to do this are completed this fall.

Third, we have begun to look carefully at the roles and responsibilities of key leaders in the administration, since they will influence considerably the implementation of UC|21. In consultation with Provosts Tony Perzigian and Jane Henney, we will announce some changes in the University’s organizational structure by Labor Day.

Fourth, the implementation of UC|21 – which calls for major changes in the way we operate as an institution – will likely result in some necessary shifts in the decision-making process. In consultation with Provosts Perzigian and Henney, I am examining the governance structures within the University, to clarify and improve the decision-making processes in a representative and collaborative environment. Already the Faculty Senate has shared a summary of its thoughts on governance, compiled at its culminating meeting in June.

Finally, we must establish an operational context for implementing UC|21. What groups will play what roles in the implementation? How will we measure and document progress? How will we garner resources for implementation? For that matter, how will we assess “readiness” for implementation of various aspects of the plan?

I assume that there exists a good deal of curiosity about the steps I have articulated herein. I invite your patience as we work through these issues. Further, I welcome your advice and counsel. As always, my email line is open (nancy.zimpher@uc.edu). Meanwhile, stay tuned as these plans evolve and are announced early Fall Quarter.

I truly hope you have a productive and refreshing summer. I look forward to continuing the work of UC|21 and our future!