The University of Iowa

Strategic Plan 2021-2026

Expect Excellence: The 2021-2026 University of Iowa Strategic Plan

Each day the faculty, staff, and students at the University of Iowa expect excellence from themselves, their colleagues, and their classmates. It is through high expectations that new and exciting knowledge is acquired daily on the UI campus through groundbreaking research and scholarship. 


In pursuing its missions of teaching, research, and service, the university seeks to advance scholarly creative endeavor through leading-edge research and artistic production; to use this research and creativity to enhance undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, health care, and other services provided to the people of Iowa, the nation, and the world; and to educate students for success and personal fulfillment in a diverse world.  


By 2026, the University of Iowa (UI), a premier public research instittion, will achieve a top 50 ranking among all universities and sustain membership in the AAU with rankings in the top half of key AAU metrics.


Our core values of excellence, learning, community, diversity, integrity, respect, and responsibility guide us in planning, setting priorities, and carrying out every aspect of our mission. 

In order to achieve our vision, the UI will need to work toward the following goals:

  • Increase the first- to second-year retention rate to 94%
  • Increase the four-year graduation rate to 57%
  • Decrease the gap in graduation and retention rates between Pell-eligible, 1st generation, and under-represented minority (URM) students and the mean of the UI undergraduate cohort
  • Increase federal research and development expenditures by 10%
  • Invest in a diverse cohort of graduate/professional students and postdoctoral scholars 

Investment and Innovation

Our strategic planning process will guide strategic investment in proven activities to support the above outcomes, while enabling the discovery of new opportunities to excel in student success, research & discovery, engagement, and diversity, equity & inclusion.

Action Steps

The following are examples of action steps to support progress toward goals:

Student Success

  • Curricular and Course Transformation
  • Enhanced student success programs such as supplemental instruction and tutorial centers
  • Expanded experiential learning opportunities
  • Distinctive honors and scholar experiences for undergraduate students
  • Recruitment, retention, and advancement of a diverse community of undergraduates 

Faculty Teaching, Research, and Scholarship

  • Improve faculty salaries and expand supports to enhance retention
  • Increase the number of tenure track faculty
  • Enhance research support
  • Increase faculty diversity
  • Invest in a high-quality pool of graduate/professional students and postdoctoral scholars 


  • Enhance dissemination of UI intellectual property to support world-wide impact.
  • Support engagement with local, national, and international communities through collegiate and division efforts.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Collaboration

  • Enhance organizational accountability, effectiveness, and collaboration around diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Expand and improve communications about diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Improve campus accessibility and inclusiveness
  • Recruit, retain, and advance a diverse campus community of faculty, staff, graduate/professional students, and undergraduate students