As Utah’s public institutions enroll the vast majority of Utah high school graduates, the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is the primary workforce pipeline in the state. USHE’s ability to encourage students to participate in higher education and graduate with a meaningful credential is key to Utah’s prosperity.
But over the next ten years, this pipeline will face significant issues: USHE institutions are expecting over 52,000 new students by 2025, and will need to grow capacity academically, physically, and virtually to keep pace. In addition, the educational attainment of Utahns needs to increase to meet the workforce demand of the future.
The Board of Regents adopted a ten-year strategic plan in January 2016, focusing on three key objectives: Affordable Participation, Timely Completion, and Innovative Discovery. Each objective has associated statewide goals and metrics to measure progress.
Throughout 2016, the Board of Regents laid the framework for specific initiatives, programs, and collaborations to prioritize to ensure the three objectives were addressed proactively. There are numerous efforts underway at all USHE institutions in support of these objectives; the focus here is on those efforts directly by the Commissioner’s Office to advance the Board’s priorities. The following annual update highlights progress made on these objectives, and what next steps the Commissioner’s Office—in close partnership with USHE institutions—will take to achieve further progress.