The University of Toledo’s leadership aims to bolster the university’s reputation and join the nation’s top 100 public research universities.
The effort is part of UT’s five-year strategic plan, dubbed “The University of Toledo’s Path to Excellence,” approved Monday by trustees.
The plan has been in the works since September, 2016, and will serve as a road map through 2022. Provost Andrew Hsu said university leaders held several town hall meetings and received feedback from more than 1,000 faculty, staff, students, and community members.
“We have a very ambitious goal of becoming a top 100 public national research university in the country, and we would like to be No. 3 in research in the state of Ohio,” Mr. Hsu said.
The university’s ranking wasn’t published in the most recent U.S. News & World Report’s listing of the best national universities, which only includes a ranking for private and public schools that place in the top 220. UT officials said the university dropped to No. 245 in 2016, down from the No. 232 position it held the year before.
UT President Sharon Gaber said investing in research will help strengthen the university’s image regionally, nationally, and internationally. She said she wants UT to be a well-known name to students and academics beyond northwest Ohio.
“Part of it is our research. We need to continue to build that up,” Ms. Gaber said. “We want people to think of us as a strong university, and what we’re doing is continuing to bolster everything we do.”
Other goals include improving undergraduate and graduate retention and graduation rates, increasing diversity among employees, better engaging alumni in the life of the university, and improving the “Rocket” brand.
Increasing revenue, operating more efficiently, and improving UT’s infrastructure also are key points to the strategic plan.
“I think the reality is these are some ambitious goals. They’re not going to happen overnight,” said Steven Cavanaugh, who on Monday was selected to replace Sharon Speyer as board chairman. “It’s going to take time, but I think with good focus, hard work, and cooperation, I think these are all achievable. I think that’s very encouraging and exciting as well.”
In other business, trustees approved contracts with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Ohio Council 8 and AFSCME Local 241, as well as with the Communication Workers of America Local 4319.
The agreement with AFSCME, which represents about 2,100 employees on the university’s health science campus, includes a three-year agreement that expires June 30, 2020, followed by a one-year agreement through June 20, 2021.
The new contract includes a lump-sum payment of 1.5 percent of the employee’s salary in the first year, a 1-percent wage increase the second year, and 2-percent increases for years three and four.
CWA members — about 500 UT employees — also will receive raises with their new contract.
The agreement, effective Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 30, 2019, includes a one-time payment of $500 upon ratification and a one-time payment of $300 in October. Employees will receive a 1-percent salary increase in year two, and a 2-percent increase in year three.
AFSCME employees now make $9.72 an hour to a high of $50.60 an hour, while CWA members are paid $13.29 up to $40.26 an hour.
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