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UC21 Academic Plan

Town Hall Meeting IV - Feb. 24, 2004

President Zimpher welcomed participants and introduced the topic for the first session of the day’s meeting, place. Our physical environment is closely connected to what we are. The University of Cincinnati is becoming recognized by national media for the rebirth of the campus. In addition, the university has become more involved in neighborhood development. She introduced G. Hargreaves and M-M. Jones of Hargreaves Associates to discuss the background of the campus plan and J. Alschuler of Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler Inc. to discuss Uptown development.

G. Hargreaves presented the background of the campus plan. Ideas behind the plan came from the university community, particularly the academic areas. He reviewed the initial and additional initiatives embodied in the plan:

  1. Open space
  2. Connectivity
  3. Buildings
  4. Quality of Life
  5. Collegiate Structures Initiative

J. Alshuler described the Uptown Consortium, transforming the relationship and involvement of the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Zoo, Children’s Hospital, Health Alliance and Tri-Health. The vision is to create a better Uptown. The most important issue is safety. To fulfill the vision, other needs must be fulfilled:

  1. Transporation
  2. Housing
  3. Amenities
  4. Jobs

Uptown has suffered from poor positioning and inadequate advocacy, but has tremendous assets and potential.

B. Gleason thanked the presenters for providing a context for envisioning the future of the University of Cincinnati.


B. Gleason asked participants to consider the ways in which life-space and academic planning can support community life at the University of Cincinnati.

Comments from participants:

  1. With the growth of online learning, the campus is a socializing center. What is the niche the campus can occupy?
  2. The Uptown Consortium can develop a transportation system to encourage travel among the Uptown partners and through Uptown neighborhoods.
  3. The Uptown area can be the home for start-up companies commercializing research.
  4. Academic planning should drive physical planning.
  5. The university can manage and assist the development of low-income housing.
  6. Bring shops and restaurants into the area that recognize the 24/7 nature of student life.
  7. We need to embrace the chaos of urban life. Don’t try to replicate a suburban mall. Create urban excitement.
  8. When students leave campus, and community, as soon as classes are over, it must have some impact on the retention rate.
  9. The surrounding area has a lot to do with perceptions about UC.
  10. The University of Cincinnati community is more than just Uptown – it includes Blue Ash, Batavia, and East Walnut Hills, in addition to many remote sites.
  11. Community life starts in the classroom, but 50 minutes is not the end of the process.
  12. People have very little information about UC. They need more to fully participate.
  13. We need to expand the notion of a central gathering place for the transmission of knowledge.
  14. Key phrases: Welcoming temperament, safety and transportation, convenience, connections and access.
  15. Class scheduling is critical. Connections for convenience are necessary.
  16. One problem is that UC has no physical heart. The university community has to connect multiple disciplines, suggesting a stronger role for the liberal arts.
  17. This is a thinking community; people build social interactions around intellectual pursuits. People want to be on campus if the right activities and resources are here.
  18. Internet connectivity can become a tool for community building.
  19. Ludlow may be a better center than Vine and MLK.
  20. Our core values can place students in the community and welcome the community to campus.
  21. Clermont and Raymond Walters are totally different worlds. Perhaps a question might be how to make the central campus more like the branches.
  22. Safety is essential. You can’t have a 24/7 community if people don’t feel safe.

J. Alschuler said the comments were an inspiration. Many of the messages regarding 24/7 community, the distinctive nature of urban life, etc. are going to be central to planning. Planning requires discipline on our behalf, and priorities. We should be asking, what is the first thing?

G. Hargreaves reviewed the history of the campus, from a period in which the university took land and put up structures to today, when the focus is on community. MainStreet was envisioned as the heart of the university and it can fulfill that role as the university works toward community building. Remember that we had to heal ourselves before we moved toward healing the surrounding neighborhoods. The emphasis on liberal arts is welcoming, because there is too often a tendency in professional schools to focus too narrowly.


B. Gleason introduced L. Johnson, R. Karp, A. Perzigian, and J. Henney to discuss the first steps toward synthesizing input from planning sessions held to-date.

L. Johnson reviewed the draft document, “A Vision of the University of Cincinnati: Leading in the 21st Century.” It is the distillation of hundreds of emails and hours of discussion. To this point, there have been 47 planning sessions involving more than 1,600 participants. There will be further changes with additional input. The “what” and the “why” outline the goal and vision for the process.

R. Karp reviewed the “where” of the draft, identifying the impact of the planning process within the university and the surrounding community, but expanding to national and international spheres in terms of recognition and partnerships.

A. Perzigian noted that the list of “hows” contained a number of “ships” including leadership, scholarship, partnership and citizenship. Implementing the planning strategies will require action within these themes.

J. Henney described the various imperatives developed during the planning process including:

  1. We are student centered.
  2. We are collaborative (cross-college, business, community etc.).
  3. We foster real world and experiential learning.
  4. We are committed to diversity.
  5. We are committed to excellent teaching and learning.
  6. We are committed to research advancement.
  7. We are committed to advancing society.
  8. We are revenue generating.
  9. We are accountable.

A number of success enablers also emerged. These enablers will both assist and mark our success:

  1. Having excellent students
  2. Having a world-class faculty
  3. Having an excellent library
  4. Having financial stability
  5. Having deep partnerships
  6. Having effective business models
  7. Remarkable infrastructure and services
  8. Leading edge technology for instruction and research

B. Gleason thanked the panelists, who went through a lot of material to arrive at that summary and compilation. This process is massively inclusive, an indication of the depth that participants care about the process. This is a good review of the foundation we are starting with.


President Zimpher indicated that the process was evolving from input toward action, and the first phase would include a review of 21 action steps. We must transform the themes, imperatives and enablers into action. She suggested that participants review the proposed action steps with an eye toward identifying those they may contribute to.

B. Gleason asked participants to comment on each action step by marking up, down or sideways arrows to indicate positive, negative or neutral reactions. He then invited participants, by table, to draft in-depth action suggestions for two or three items. The ratings and suggested action steps were collected as written materials.

B. Gleason outlined the general format of the next session, focusing on the “how” themes.

Additional Documents

To view PDF files, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download.

Agenda (PDF)
Presentation 1 - Welcome / Opening Remarks (Microsoft PowerPoint)
Presentation 2 - Campus Master Plan & Uptown (Microsoft PowerPoint)
Presentation 3 - The What, Why, Where, & How of the Academic Plan (Microsoft PowerPoint)
Handout - A Vision of the University of Cincinnati: Leading in the 21st Century (PDF)
Handout - CAPP Next Steps (PDF)
Summary of Table Discussions (PDF)

Town Hall Session III Outputs:
Quick Wins, from Jim Tucker (PDF)
Worst Rules / Stupid Policies, from Jim Tucker (PDF)

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