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The ideas outlined in the Next Level document are grounded in a strategic planning process that began in 2008. Each planning process covered five-year periods:


We Have Only But Begun

In 2008 the University, the Medical Center, and each of our schools adopted ambitious strategic plans. We now have achieved virtually all of our 2008 goals:

  • When normalized for faculty size in 2013, the most recent year for which we have data, we rank 16th in federal research and development expenditures among the 176 topfunded research universities and were awarded $350 million in total sponsored research in 2014.
  • Our student body has grown from 8,329 total students in 2004 to 11,060 this past fall. Since 2005 we have received $195 million in commitments for scholarships, fellowships, and other support for students.
  • Undergraduate student quality and diversity have been strengthened. At the College we have seen increases of high school GPAs from 3.56 to 3.83 and the two-score equivalent SAT increase from 1304 to 1375 between 2005 and 2014. Simultaneously the percentage of our underrepresented minority and international students has increased.
  • Since 2005, applications to the medical school have increased by 39 percent. The medical school acceptance rate is now 5.5 percent, making the school one of the most selective medical schools in the country.
  • Tenured, tenure-track, medical, and other instructional staff have grown from 2,009 in 2004 to 2,542 in 2014. Since 2005 the University has created or received commitments to create 93 new endowed professorships, deanships, or directorships.
  • New programs have been developed, including the Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation, the Clinical Research Institute, the Center for Integrated Research Computing, the Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute, and 17 new majors in Arts, Sciences & Engineering.
  • Twenty-nine new major facilities projects have been completed, initiated, or planned since 2005 with an aggregate budget of $850 million. Outside the Medical Center this includes Goergen Hall, Eastman Theatre Renovation and Expansion, LeChase Hall, Rettner Hall, and O’Brien Hall.
  • The Medical Center has been particularly active with several new projects, including the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center (opened in 2008, expanded in 2012), the Saunders Research Building, and the Golisano Children’s Hospital, substantial implementation of the Electronic Medical Records system, and new regional hospital affiliations, most notably F. F. Thompson.
  • The University facilitated the separately financed development of Brooks Crossing and College Town and worked with local, state, and federal governments to secure funding for the new Interstate 390 road network, which provides the basis for future growth at the University.
  • We have grown as of December 31, 2014, to be the Greater Rochester region’s largest employer with 26,673 total headcount, an increase of 905 during the past year. This makes the University the 8th largest private employer in New York State and the largest private employer in upstate New York, with an increasing role in the community as the provider of an estimated 50,300 direct and indirect jobs, more than $2.8 billion in direct and spillover wages, $70 million in uncompensated health care in 2011 and since 1996, 58 new start-up companies using University-licensed technology.
  • We have reduced our endowment payout rate from 6.9 percent in 2000 to 5.8 percent in this year’s budget.
  • We publicly launched The Meliora Challenge Campaign in October 2011, our first comprehensive capital campaign since 1924. Through December 31, 2014, we have raised $1.172 billion in cash and commitments, or 98 percent of the June 30, 2016, goal of $1.2 billion.

Aiming Higher

In 2013 the University, the Medical Center, and each school adopted new strategic plans that emphasize the greatest possible quality in our academic, clinical, and creative arts programs, consistent with cost efficiency. In the University plan:

Our fundamental objective is to strengthen our position as one of this nation’s leading research universities.

  • This means strength not only in research, but also as a University that is strong in the liberal arts, science and engineering undergraduate education, professional training in the schools of business, education, medicine, and nursing, outstanding clinical care throughout our health system, and commitment to the creative arts exemplified by the Eastman School of Music.
  • For the entire University, the recruitment, support, and retention of the most accomplished and diverse faculty, staff, and administrative leadership is a top priority.
  • A top University priority is the creation of the Institute for Data Science, the expansion of data science faculty and programs across the University, and the construction of a new data science facility.
  • We will implement a University Research Strategic Plan to strengthen the vitality of the research mission.
  • We will emphasize improvements to infrastructure and renovating classrooms, laboratories, and library space to provide our faculty, students, and staff with state-of-the art facilities.

A University That Emphasizes Quality Education

  • The College of Arts, Sciences & Engineering is building on its momentum in residential education to enhance its curriculum by adding new majors, including a new undergraduate business degree developed with the Simon Business School; teaching, learning, and research opportunities that employ digital technology; increasing student retention; affording opportunities for student research; and strengthening career preparation. By 2018, Arts, Sciences & Engineering will increase its faculty from 350 to 380; increase its two-score equivalent SATs for entering students from 1368 to at least 1400; increase applications from approximately 16,000 to 20,000; and increase six-year student graduation rates from 85.6 percent to 88 percent.
  • The School of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Nursing are implementing the Institute for Innovative Education to provide education across the entire Medical Center and better employ information technology in medical education. The institute will oversee the development of an ambitious program in simulation education.
  • The Simon School is developing new programs in business analytics and pricing and leading efforts to develop a branch campus in New York City.
  • The Eastman School is developing new undergraduate and master’s programs in fields such as convergent media, music leadership, and online education.
  • Our schools generally, led by the School of Nursing and the Warner School, are expanding or implementing hybrid or other online education, especially in master’s programs.

A University Known for Improving Health Care

We will improve health care for our community through transformative approaches to clinical care that are nationally recognized:

  • The new Accountable Health Partners will become the region’s leading accountable care network, recruiting a substantial number of additional primary and specialist physicians into its network by 2018.
  • The University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group will become a model of an integrated University-based practice that includes centralized administration and a compensation plan based on performance, service, and quality.
  • The Medical Center will further its current recognition of specialty areas in the top 50 in the U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, especially within its Centers of Excellence, including the Wilmot Cancer Institute and the Golisano Children’s Hospital.
  • We will open the new Golisano Children’s Hospital in 2015 and achieve recognition for our Pediatric Programs of Excellence.
  • The School of Nursing is expanding its UR Medicine Center for Employee Wellness, which began with University employees in 2013 to additional employers throughout the region.
  • The Eastman Institute for Oral Health is expanding its community services to underserved patients with special needs and strengthening its position as a leading institution in oral health research and specialty dental training.

A University Known for Service to the Community

We will strengthen our service to the community and society by:

  • Enhancing programs to support Rochester K-12 education, health care, and community programs.
  • Enhancing our position as the regional and national leader in economic development and technology commercialization.
  • Strengthening technology commercialization and new venture creation consistent with our academic mission through active engagement of the business community and expansion of the technology development fund.
  • Completing major projects, including the expansion of Brooks Crossing and College Town.

In the 18 months since the adoption of the October 2013 strategic plans, we have made significant progress implementing these and related plans. Notably:

  • The University adopted its first University Research Strategic Plan in October 2013. Among other key initiatives, the Institute for Data Science has been created. To date we have raised approximately $25 million in philanthropic commitments and $1.5 million in new state support toward the additional $50 million goal that we announced in October 2013 on top of the earlier $50 million raised in this area. These funds have allowed us to initiate planning for a new facility to house the institute and to endow the institute’s directorship. We will dedicate the Institute for Data Science Building and celebrate the naming of the Institute for Data Science in October 2016.
  • The Medical Center has taken a series of decisive steps toward a comprehensive Population Health Management strategy, including completion of a new regional affiliation with Strong West, substantial reorganization of the Medical Faculty Group, growth in membership of Accountable Health Partners to 1,700 Medical Center and other doctors, and refining its goals to include being the referral center of choice for the specialty care of the majority of patients in our region.
  • We dedicated College Town in October 2014 and will dedicate the Golisano Children’s Hospital in May 2015.
  • In 2015, the State Education Department approved the Educational Partnership Organization agreement that the University, led by the Warner School, has entered with the Rochester City School Board to serve as superintendent of East High School, the largest high school in Rochester. We assume responsibility for East High in July 2015.
  • The River Campus Libraries have proposed a new Strategic and Master Plan and begun implementation of designated aspects of these plans, including the iZone and a proposal for a Center for Student Driven Learning that is intended to create a hub of expertise for the University in aspects of student-directed learning from program design to classroom engagement.
  • We have begun work on improving infrastructure and renovating facilities, notably with key improvements to our dining facilities, Ronald Rettner’s gifts that have spurred renovation of Morey and Bausch & Lomb Halls, and upgrades to key aspects of our information technology.
  • The School of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Nursing, through the aegis of the Institute for Innovative Education, have begun planning creation of state-of-the-art simulation centers, potentially housed in a new facility.
  • For our undergraduate and graduate students, we are enhancing efforts to strengthen career preparation and have continued to stress enhancements to quality of life at the University, including the Brian Prince Athletic Complex and plans for the renovation of Douglass Hall, which will include a new student activities space, language center, and the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center.

Our 2013–2018 University, Medical Center, and school strategic plans remain in full force. Full implementation will continue through June 2018. Our top priorities of the University for these years will include:

  • Significant further steps at the Medical Center to implement its Population Health Management strategy, including further potential regional affiliations.
  • Significant progress in improving the quality of life on the River Campus.
  • Continued emphasis on fundraising to support student scholarships, faculty, and key programs.
  • Development of new Advancement strategic and operational plans to provide a revised roadmap for our programs during the next five years.
  • Continuing the transformation of University libraries to be leaders in our increasingly digital campus and initial implementation of the River Campus Libraries Strategic Plan.
  • An unwavering commitment throughout the University to seek the greatest possible quality in our academic, clinical, and creative arts programs, consistent with cost efficiency.