The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees unanimously approved the launch of the “Next Lives Here” strategic direction posed by UC President Neville Pinto at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.
On Feb. 20, 2017, Pinto was appointed to serve as the 30th president of UC. Since his confirmation, he has met with faculty, staff, students, community and board members to crowdsource information and input to guide his strategic direction for the university.
At its center, Next Lives Here is a 10-year plan that aims to make UC a leader among public universities in the future. Next Lives Here is made up of three platforms with each consisting of a pathway to help the university achieve its goals. The platforms focus on academic excellence, urban impact and innovation.
To further the academic excellence platform, UC has begun working on a development program called the Bearcat Promise. The program aims to “help our students design a customized pathway to where they want to go and who they want to be,” according to the strategic direction website.
UC plans to hire more faculty members and invest in a new one-stop enrichment center — which would take residence in an existing building — for faculty. It will serve as a resource base designed by faculty based on whatever the faculty deems important. The university also plans to focus on staff enrichment by potentially implementing a staff government body.
The second platform — urban impact — aims to implement “real-world learning, problem-based scholarship and research, and community-based partnerships” using UC’s existing resources to prepare for an increasingly urban-based future, according to the website.
The platform’s urban health pathway involves solving urban health issues. Its last pathway, “CPS Strong,” aims to increase the number of UC graduates from Cincinnati Public Schools.
UC already reached out to Hughes High School, among others, to offer high school students courses which could qualify for college credit. Over 20 corporations have partnered with UC and Hughes High School to offer students co-ops which they can begin in high school and continue through college.
The final platform is the “innovation agenda.” The 1819 Innovation Hub — a new resource center set to open in fall 2018 —will “host students in an open learning environment where they can go to experiment,” Pinto said.
The strategic direction also aims to implement “Co-op 2.0” — a plan to develop more partnerships with corporations to pay students while working in their field as a means to offset the cost of college education.
The “Inclusive Excellence” pathway involves “activating inclusion across all platforms and pathways,” aiming to further the impact of all other pathways by promoting inclusion throughout the university.
Although the strategic direction lays out specific plans for the future, Pinto said the Next Lives Here concept mostly involves change and evolution of internal planning.
“The strategic direction is evolving so we don’t plan in great detail two or three years,” he said. “It’s an evolution, because that gives us the flexibility to change as we need to change.”
UC plans to invest $150 million over the next several years implementing parts of the plan. To fund this investment, the university is analyzing strategies including corporate partnerships, philanthropy and strategic sizing, among other options.
Additional information regarding funding the Next Lives Here platform can be found here.