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Letter from President Harroz


July 28, 2020


Dear OU Community,

It’s been over a year since we began asking important questions to determine a strategy for our future. For the first time in a generation, we set out to create a comprehensive Strategic Plan that unites all of us in our understanding of who we are, what we aim to become, and how we achieve it.

Today, I’m thrilled to unveil our Strategic Plan for the Norman campus – Lead On, University – a dynamic, living, and breathing roadmap to how we unlock our greatest potential as one of the nation’s top public research universities. In many ways it is our Constitution and our North Star, guiding us and informing all decisions at all levels of the University. I invite you to take a moment to read through the details of our Plan at

Our Strategic Plan was based on input from thousands of you – students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It also draws on feedback provided through the President’s Academic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee (PAPBAC), a group of 11 faculty tasked with drafting our plan for the Norman campus.

In total, more than 5,000 responses in a campus-wide survey; 900 hours of meetings between PAPBAC and representatives from all OU constituencies, including Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and the Student Government Association; six town halls on all three campuses; and other meetings with key stakeholders helped identify themes of importance to our University community. This invigorating process of gathering our collective wisdom underscores the commitment we all share in pursuing the possibilities ahead.

With your input as our foundation, we have spent the last four months refining our Strategic Plan. As you can imagine, facing a global pandemic at the height of our planning only amplified the urgency of our focus. Despite the uncertainty of the current moment, we must move forward with conviction and resolve. We do this because our aspirations and goals are not contingent on our circumstances. As the OU family, we are resilient, and I’m confident we can adapt and emerge from the present crisis with strength and momentum to achieve our ambitious goals.

I am both proud and thankful that our Plan has the enthusiastic support of the OU Board of Regents, whose instrumental guidance helped us fine-tune this exciting path forward. This iterative process culminated today, when the Regents voted to approve our Norman campus Strategic Plan.

Everything in our Strategic Plan stems from our simple yet profound Purpose: We Change Lives. This clear definition of our existence guides every core strategy and tactic for our success.

Determining how we fulfill our Purpose are five overarching Pillars that define what kind of university we want to be:

  1. Become a Top-Tier Public Research University
  2. Prepare Students for a Life of Success, Meaning, Service, and Positive Impact
  3. Make OU’s Excellence Affordable and Attainable
  4. Become a Place of Belonging and Emotional Growth for All Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni
  5. Enrich and Positively Impact Oklahoma, the Nation, and the World through Research and Creative Activity

Within each Pillar are the Strategies to carry it out and the specific Tactics required.

While our journey of crafting Lead On, University may be ending, our work has just begun. What lies ahead will be undoubtedly challenging. We will be forced to adapt to new ways of thinking and adopt new approaches to our work. Together, we will embrace the difficult task that’s to come because it’s essential to us achieving our grand ambitions. Our Plan cannot be a document that simply sits on a shelf. As a University community, I am confident we will bring it to life with a dedicated, resolved focus.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we will hold a series of virtual town hall meetings to share highlights of the Norman campus Plan and address your questions. Please stay tuned for those details.

We will soon turn to our plans that are specific to the Health Sciences Center and OU-Tulsa, and we look forward to working closely with each campus on their integral role in our University.

Thank you for all that you do for our University of Oklahoma, and for the essential role you will play in the fulfillment of our Strategic Plan as it propels us to new heights.


Live on, University,
Joseph Harroz, Jr.