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UC 21

UC|21 At A Glance

UC|21: Defining the New Urban Research University is UC’s strategic plan for charting its academic course for the 21st century. UC|21 is the result of months of discussion and consultation at a scope never before seen on campus. A wide range of university stakeholders – students, full- and part-time faculty, staff, emeriti, alumni, corporate partners, donors, civic and social service leaders, and neighbors – were invited to participate. More than 240 people, including individuals from the community at large, worked together in a series of Town Hall Meetings to discuss and draft the university’s vision for its future. Additional insight came from over 2,400 people who participated in more than 90 input sessions hosted by UC colleges and units. Over 325 people also voiced opinions using the university’s academic planning Web site, with literally thousands of visits to the site.

Continual transformation has been a hallmark of the history of the University of Cincinnati. The university was first a private institution, then a municipal university and now is a comprehensive research university in Ohio’s state system. UC has always been transformative in the evolution of its academic and research programs to meet the ongoing needs of its students and society.
Nearly a century ago in 1906, UC “reinvented” higher education by pioneering cooperative education, the first such program in the world. Today, UC’s co-op program offers students real-world learning by giving them the opportunity to work for employers around the globe. As the 21st century unfolds, UC stands among the nation’s top 25 public research universities with a proud tradition of discovery and transformation. UC’s 34,000 students pursue success through more than 600 academic programs in the sciences, arts, humanities and professions. Throughout its history, UC has enjoyed a deep, reciprocal and widespread connection to its home city of Cincinnati, as an intellectual resource, cultural center and economic driver.

Today, the University of Cincinnati stands ready to “reinvent” itself with a new plan of action: UC|21: Defining the New Urban Research University.

The University of Cincinnati is a public comprehensive system of learning and research. The excellent faculty have distinguished themselves worldwide for their creative pedagogy and research, especially in problem solving and the application of their discoveries.

The university system is designed to serve a diverse student body with a broad range of interests and goals. It is a place of opportunity.

In support of this mission, the University of Cincinnati strives to provide the highest quality learning environment, world-renowned scholarship, innovation and community service, and to serve as a place where freedom of intellectual interchange flourishes. [Current Mission Statement]

UC has achieved distinction through its nationally ranked programs, including the nation’s top-10 architecture, medicine, interior design, music and science programs. UC is perhaps unique in boasting distinguished scholarship and research, while maintaining a deep commitment to accessible education.

UC earned more than $309 million in external funding last year, supporting cutting-edge research, innovative teaching and public service. UC has led all universities in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana for four straight years in income earned from faculty inventions. Its endowment, supported by thousands of generous donors, ranks 13th among public institutions in the United States. UC’s living alumni number over 200,000, with about half living in the Greater Cincinnati area.

UC|21 embraces a set of core values and guiding principles for the new urban research university. The demands and challenges of the 21st century are only beginning to unfold, and these ideals speak directly to this new century.  These principles will keep our strategic vision focused and true to our aspirations and dreams. UC|21 builds on the eight values that were developed by the Just Community initiative and endorsed by the university community in the year 2000. UC|21 also identifies a set of six principles to guide the new urban research university.

These guiding principles link back to UC’s rich heritage while looking beyond the past and present to a future where change will be accelerated. In addition to rapid transformation, there will be increased competition for students from traditional campuses, the for-profit sector and online learning alternatives. Higher education, including UC, can also expect to experience major change in the academy itself, an increasingly diverse cohort of learners, an escalating need to bring intellectual capital to bear on societal issues and a rising call to serve as the economic engine in a knowledge-based environment. These principles underscore UC’s profound commitment to serve a rapidly changing world and our local Cincinnati community:

Scholarship: The creation and application of knowledge, with an emphasis on scholarly inquiry, research, experimentation, investigation and creative production.

Citizenship: The ability to apply knowledge and skills for responsible civic life and action. UC’s emphasis is on public engagement and ethical purpose.

Stewardship: The responsibility of the university to carry out its unique place in society, which is to conserve intellectual inquiry. Members of the university community are stewards of knowledge and instill in students an appreciation for the responsibilities that accompany education. In a financial sense, the university is also called upon to generate revenue to ensure appropriate operating funds to carry on its mission.

Leadership: Motivating others to take actions that would not otherwise have been taken. Leadership is measured by the extent to which an individual or groups of individuals can influence and energize the ideas, actions and capabilities of others toward the betterment of society.

Partnership: Working collaboratively to address complex issues and problems, both within and beyond the boundaries of UC. A university cannot solve problems by working in isolation. It must do so by interacting with others. By working in partnerships, we gain an understanding and appreciation of what can be accomplished together that could not have been accomplished alone. We also affirm the importance of diversity, since constructive change often occurs when individuals and groups with different identities and various priorities come together.

Cultural Competence: To foster a student’s ability to appreciate, investigate and understand a cultural background different from his or her own.  Cultural competency promotes tolerance, understanding and respect for a variety of cultures, domestic and international, and facilitates opportunity for interaction, communication and engagement.

UC|21 lays out an ambitious set of goals and actions to define the role of the new urban research university in this dynamic new century, both by building on our capacity to serve and to lead. It summarizes 21 steps that will define the new urban research university for the 21st century.

GOAL 1: Place Students at the Center
Become a university of choice, a destination campus, by keeping students at our core.

  • Students First – adopt a philosophy and key mechanisms that put the priority on students’ needs; develop a real and virtual, university-wide concept of one-stop service.
  •  Selectivity with Clear Opportunity Pathways – enhance UC’s national rankings and ability to attract the highest-quality students, while maintaining clear pathways for students who seek opportunity.
  •  UC Anytime/Anyplace – create a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-week learning, living and social environment.

GOAL 2: Grow Our Research Excellence
Build on UC’s greatness as a major research university to benefit society, have meaningful economic impact and enhance the quality of life for all.

  • Research Excellence – develop research and discovery as core activities that illuminate all we do.
  • Interdisciplinary Centers – establish high-profile centers that cross disciplines to best address societal challenges.
  • World Class Faculty – recruit, develop and retain the best faculty.

GOAL 3: Achieve Academic Excellence
Encourage an environment of high-quality learning and world-renowned scholarship.

  • Guiding Principles of Academic Programs – integrate UC|21’s core principles into academic programs.
  • Liberal Education at the Core – reaffirm liberal education as the core to preparing students as life-long learners.
  • Cultural Competence – foster students’ ability to appreciate, investigate and understand a cultural background different from their own.
  • Teaching Matters – identify, examine and support “best practices” for the university community to enhance teaching effectiveness and learning.
  • National Presence and Recognition – pursue marketing efforts beyond the Cincinnati region that draw attention to the university’s unique assets and help move UC into the top tier of rankings.

 GOAL 4: Forge Key Relationships and Partnerships
Establish and nurture relationships and partnerships, with our colleagues within the university and with local and global communities.
UC|21 underscores a true commitment to community engagement.

    • Exchange Programs – bolster efforts to encourage intercultural experiences for students, faculty and staff.
    • Experiential Learning – become an internationally recognized leader in experiential learning, leveraging our co-op expertise and reputation to an even higher level of excellence in all undergraduate and graduate programs.
    • Community Connections – create a “front door” to UC resources for the community and develop meaningful partnerships.
    • Experts-in-Residence – strengthen our bonds to the community by inviting faculty, staff and students to work in community organizations and vice versa – inviting community experts to serve within the university.
    • Seamless Transitions and Educational Preparation – become a national leader in the reform and revitalization of the PK-16 system by creating seamless transitions from pre-school through college.
    • Healthy Cincinnati – work to improve the health of the UC community and surrounding Greater Cincinnati region.

GOAL 5: Establish a Sense of “Place”
Develop an environment where members of the campus community and the community at large want to spend time – learning, living, playing and staying; provide long-term support to build a better Uptown.

      • We’re All UC – develop a “UC Community” to unify and create a sense of belonging for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.
      • East-West Connections – build programmatic bridges, people-to-people access and incentives for collaborations and joint programs that promote a unified campus.

GOAL 6: Create Opportunity
Develop potential, not just in our students, but in our local and global communities.

          • Economic Delta Force – strengthen UC as an educator of a skilled, principled workforce, as a catalyst for entrepreneurship and as a partner in economic development.
          • Performance-Enhanced Budgeting and Revenue Enhancement – provide incentives for performance with effective accountability and identify alternate ways to generate revenue. 


UC21: Defining the new urban research university

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