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OU Launches ‘Lead On, University’ – A Strategic Plan for the Future

OU Launches ‘Lead On, University’ – A Strategic Plan for the Future

July 28, 2020

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents today approved OU’s first Strategic Plan in over a generation, which defines a clear Plan for the university’s future and comprehensive strategies to achieve it.

“Lead On, University” – OU’s Strategic Plan for the Norman campus – draws upon 130 years of history and the feedback of thousands of students, faculty, staff and alumni to establish a path toward long-term sustainability and success.

“About a year ago, the OU Board of Regents charged us with developing a strategic plan that articulates how we aim to unlock our potential as one of the nation’s top public research universities,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “This invigorating and highly collaborative process, which sought input from all OU constituencies, culminated today with the Regents officially approving ‘Lead On, University’ – a dynamic, living and breathing roadmap to our future.”

The plan is built upon five overarching pillars that stem from OU’s core traditions of providing a world-class, affordable education; creating a welcoming place of belonging; and harnessing innovation and pathbreaking discoveries to advance society. Each pillar is supported by targeted strategies and specific tactics to help achieve them. The complete plan is available at

Shortly after Harroz was appointed OU’s interim president in May 2019, the Regents asked him and university leadership to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the institution’s future. The Regents expressed enthusiasm for the plan and Harroz’s commitment to bringing it to fruition.

“Our new Plan provides priorities and a roadmap that the university must pursue to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Gary Pierson, chair of the OU Board of Regents. “It is ambitious but achievable with measurable goals and objectives. The process is one of continuous refinement: taking hundreds of disciplines and distilling them to those things that are the most important, enduring and visionary. The Board is thankful for the opportunity to have played an important role in its crafting, and we are dedicated to supporting President Harroz and the rest of the OU community in bringing it fully to life.”

To help establish a firm foundation for Lead On, University, the 11 faculty members on the President’s Academic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee (PAPBAC), were tasked with forming a concrete draft of the plan for the Norman campus.

“The University of Oklahoma Norman campus Strategic Plan is the result of many, many hours of listening and discussing with members of the faculty, staff, student body and administration,” said professor Sarah Ellis, PAPBAC co-chair. “The result is a robust document that reflects significant input from a wide array of people. It has been an honor to be the faculty co-chair on the committee that drafted the plan. I look forward to future of the University of Oklahoma and playing my part in implementing the principles outlined in the plan.”

Throughout the planning process, PAPBAC and OU leaders engaged constituencies at every level to help identify themes of importance to the university community. In total, more than 5,000 responses were collected in a campus-wide survey; over 900 hours of meetings were held between PAPBAC and representatives from all OU populations, including Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and the Student Government Association; and six town hall meetings across all three OU campuses were conducted.

“This past spring, I was fortunate enough to review, discuss, and make suggestions to the Strategic Plan with several other student leaders,” said Student Government Association President Justin Norris. “I know I speak for many OU students when I say: good intentions are in vain without tangible action. However, the Strategic Plan presents important strategies along with the steps to achieve them within each of its five pillars. It is clear this document was thoughtfully drafted with students at its core, ensuring students can not only attend the University of Oklahoma, but graduate with an education expanding far beyond the grounds of campus. I look forward to seeing this plan implemented, and I am proud to be a student, and future alumni, of our great university.”

In Harroz’s remarks at today’s Regents meeting, he noted that facing a global pandemic at the height of the planning process was a motivation to remain acutely focused on the importance of having a strategy for the future. Harroz emphasized that, even during the COVID-19 crisis, the university’s core purpose as a public institution must continue.

At the Regents meeting, Harroz stressed that the true work of launching the Strategic Plan is only beginning. Soon, the university will turn to its plans that are specific to the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City and the OU-Tulsa campus.

“Our plan is bold and ambitious,” Harroz said. “By working together with our sights set on these shared goals, we will lead our university to new heights.”

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit