Last week, we communicated with the campus our plans to realign our resources to accomplish our most important objective: supporting student success.
We’ve built incredible momentum in the last several years under the leadership of President Capilouto and thanks to our community’s dedication and outstanding work.
We are educating and retaining more students than at any time in our 150-year history. We have the second highest graduation rates in our history, and student quality is at unprecedented levels even as we have significantly grown enrollment. We are more diverse than ever before, and we’ve maintained our commitment to access and affordability by slowing the rate of tuition increases and expanding aid and scholarships.
Our progress is a source of pride. But now we must take the next step, and our Strategic Plan positions us to do so.
So what is our path forward?
There are about 150 universities in the country with six-year graduation rates that exceed 70 percent. We want to be one of them. Kentucky students and families need us to be one of them.
We see peer institutions with a student profile similar to UK in this elite group, and we see the extraordinary faculty and staff on our campus who are committed to students. So, we know we can get there.
We envision significant increases in graduation and retention rates, fostering an even more diverse and inclusive campus community, expanding research and creative scholarship, and advancing subspecialty care that helps solve the Commonwealth’s biggest challenges.
Our aspirations are ambitious and our sights high, however we must achieve these goals if we are to truly serve our role as the Commonwealth’s indispensable institution. Our goals are anchored in our mission-- to transform the lives of our students and advance the Commonwealth we serve and beyond.
The challenge we are addressing now is how we deploy those resources in the most student-focused and cost-effective, efficient way. The realignment and university budget are based on this priority.
Through this budget and our process of realigning our resources and people, we will do more to ensure students graduate with a degree from the University of Kentucky prepared to navigate a complex, global economy of commerce and culture.
Indeed, our goals are about much more than numbers. It’s important to remember what those numbers represent.
For example, last fall, our first- to second- year retention rate was 82.7 percent—our largest number of returning students at 4,253. That represented roughly 463 additional students since the same time the previous fall.
Think about what that means:
463 more students continuing their path to a degree.
463 potential graduates who can serve our state.
463 lives and families impacted by continuing education.
This is at the heart of our efforts. We must continue to build upon our momentum, because these figures are not simply numbers. They represent the lives we’re called to serve.
We are realigning our support systems so that we can serve them as best we can. We are matching money to mission.
Thank you for your role in our shared commitment to those we touch and teach.
Timothy S. Tracy