Happy 2014! At the beginning of a new year, it seems appropriate to focus on the future. During the last three years we have engaged in a comprehensive process of self-assessment and strategic visioning and created a compelling, distinctive, and feasible long-term strategic plan for the Lundquist College of Business. In this month’s Inner Circle, I am pleased to share that plan with you. But first, some background.
Our strategic plan builds on our heritage and unique current positioning as a highly regarded business school with a mission that draws strength from our links to the Pacific Rim and the distinctive qualities of Oregon culture: innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability, active lifestyles, financial stewardship, and respect for individuality and diversity within an increasingly global community. At the same time, it challenges all our constituencies to pursue new goals, to set high bars, and to perform at new levels while remaining true to our identity, values, and culture.
The plan was crafted in a rapidly changing environment. Changes in the global economy and the competitive environment have created new challenges for higher education in general and for business schools in particular. At the same time, the University of Oregon has arrived at a critical moment in its history--with new leadership, greater independence from state funding, a new institutional governing board, the launch of a capital campaign, and growing aspirations as a member of the elite Association of American Universities (AAU).
The challenges faced by higher education will be familiar to you. Critical factors include
- Limited prospects for tuition growth
- Diminishing opportunities to develop nontuition revenue sources due to competition and market saturation
- Rising student loan burden
- Increased attention to regulatory and accreditation issues
- A growing focus on long-term sustainability
At the same time, overall demand is likely to remain strong for the highest quality programs because there are no proven, viable substitutes for a college education. Price sensitivity is likely to continue to suppress net tuition growth while research funding continues to slow. Finally, new forms of competition--Massive Open Online Courses and other forms of online education--continue to make inroads and challenge traditional delivery models. In the meantime, AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)--our accrediting agency--has enacted new, stringent (re-)accreditation standards for business as well as accounting education.
In this turbulent environment we have some catching up to do. Compared to our peers and competitors, we enroll a larger number of students with a smaller budget and endowment. The University of Santa Clara, for example, serves 1,378 undergraduate and 325 MBAs with almost twice the number of tenure-track faculty and an even larger nontenure-track faculty, according to information provided by AACSB. The University of Colorado, with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,755 and 200 graduate (MBA and PhD) students, also boasts a substantially larger faculty, according to AACSB. Comparisons with our larger competitors--the University of Washington or the University of Arizona--show similar disparities. The conclusion is inescapable: To become more competitive and achieve our vision for the future, significant resources will have to be added in the coming years.
To gain recognition as a leading business school in the Northwest and beyond we must urgently address the resource gap that exists between us and our peers and competitor institutions. Specifically, we must target a $130 million capital campaign to allow us to increase the size of our tenure-track faculty to 60 professors, add to our nontenure-track faculty, and increase our combined graduate enrollment to at least 250 students. We must differentiate ourselves with outstanding faculty research and focused innovation as we strengthen our commitment to experiential education, global engagement, and the Portland business community. Above all, we must focus on excellence in everything we do.
Success on these dimensions will
- Allow our faculty to achieve intellectual leadership positions and develop and disseminate theoretical and practical knowledge relevant to the future of business
- Empower our graduates to successfully compete in the marketplace for talent and excel in careers as visionary leaders who drive innovation, think critically, challenge the status quo, and inspire trust
- Encourage businesses, public-sector organizations, and nonprofit communities to avail themselves of outstanding talent and partnership opportunities that bring significant value to their organizations
The college’s complete strategic plan for addressing these issues, including specific programmatic and fundraising goals, can be found at http://business.uoregon.edu/strategic-plan. We invite you to give us your feedback and, of course, welcome your support in realizing our goals. In advance, we thank you for your time and wish you all the best for the coming year.
Cornelis A. "Kees" de Kluyver
Dean and James and Shirley Rippey Distinguished Professor