University of South Florida unveils new 10-year strategic plan – Florida Trend


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TAMPA, Fla. (June 9, 2021) - The University of South Florida has its new blueprint for the next decade.

The USF Board of Trustees this week approved a 10-year strategic plan, titled “A Blueprint for a Bold Future: Where Academic Excellence and Opportunity Converge,” that sets a focused direction for USF, reinforces the university’s commitment to the communities it serves and establishes strategic initiatives that reflect USF’s many strengths.

“We are unveiling a strategic plan that positions the University of South Florida as the state’s top urban research university, while supporting bold aspirations and prioritizing our commitment to faculty excellence, student success and world-class research,” USF President Steve Currall said.

The plan is the culmination of an inclusive process consisting of hundreds of hours over several months spent gathering input from faculty, staff and students across USF’s three campuses, as well as alumni, donors, business and community leaders and elected officials.

In December 2020, Currall appointed a 19-member USF Strategic Planning Advisory Task Force, composed primarily of faculty members, to help draft the new plan. The task force collected feedback through five virtual town hall listening forums; interviews, meetings and listening tours; internal and external surveys; and a strategic renewal website.

A key theme of the plan is USF’s role as an urban research university. It notes that of the nation’s roughly 4,300 colleges and universities, in 2019, only 160 spent $100 million or more on research. According to the National Science Foundation, that represented 91 percent of all academic research conducted in the U.S. in that year.

Of those 160 institutions, 114 are public universities, and of those, only 42 are in an urban setting. In other words, one percent of America’s institutions of higher education are public research universities with a main campus set in a metropolitan area with a population of at least one million. USF is in that one percent.

“Urban research universities, such as USF, are indispensable intellectual engines for addressing the challenges of the future,” Currall said.

The new plan highlights seven strategic initiatives: Analytics and Data Science: Integrating USF Digitally; Design, Arts and Performance; Global and National Security; Health, Society and Biomedical Science; Social Justice and Human Rights; Sustainability, Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences; and Synthetic Biology.

There also are 11 institutional core commitments: Faculty excellence; student success; staff distinction; diversity, equity and inclusion; operational excellence; athletics; research support; institutional infrastructure; the value of the arts; sustainability; and engagement and outreach.

The 49-page document identifies two key aspirations: Advance USF toward membership in the Association of American Universities, composed of 66 leading research universities in North America; and reach the top 25 of public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking. USF has ranked among the top 50 public universities in the nation in each of the last two years.

The plan is subject to approval by the Florida Board of Governors at its Sept. 1 meeting.

About the University of South Florida 

The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at

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