Why do we have a strategic plan?

UAB’s strategic plan Forging the Future is a blueprint for growth between 2018 and 2023. Like a blueprint for a new house, the plan is just that, a piece of paper that describes what the future could look like. A new house does not get built unless human beings, the architects and builders, take the blueprint and set measurable goals, allocate resources and assign specific people to take specific actions by specific dates. Likewise, the vision established in Forging the Future will only be reached if those of us who work here set objectives, prioritize our resources and assign actions in furtherance of those objectives.


Measuring success

Forging the Future establishes a bold vision for the future of UAB, with goals and objectives set in each of our four mission pillars: education; research, innovation and economic development; community engagement; and patient care. These pillars are like the elements of a house that have to be constructed in order for there to be an integrated, functional structure that achieves the vision set forth in the blueprint. The pillars are supported by three critical foundations — diversity, philanthropy and stewardship — that are essential to the success of our mission. Each pillar in Forging the Future has multiple objectives that are interconnected and may overlap, supporting the strength of the plan.

A history of successful strategic growth at UAB

In order to achieve its remarkable growth to a world-class university in just 50 years, UAB has undertaken a series of strategic plans, each serving as a blueprint for what was to come. For example, the “UAB21” plan, refined in 2010, led to notable achievements, such as the creation of the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance that is accelerating the efforts of UAB and Southern Research to fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease. The ADDA paved the way for a $35 million National Institutes of Health grant to form the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center. Earlier strategic plans resulted in the expansion of the Honors College and creation of the Blazing Start initiative to give more Birmingham-area high school graduates greater access to UAB educational opportunities. Forging the Future will produce even more exciting results that will benefit students, faculty, staff, and the community for years to come.

Dashboard to measure success

Just like those working on a house under construction, those assigned to specific actions to achieve the strategic vision of Forging the Future must be accountable to our fellow employees for completing these actions by specific times. A house would not get built if the builders were not working in unison with well-defined tasks and measurable components with explicit due dates.

To ensure our progress in Forging the Future, this “dashboard” was created to display at a glance information on specific actions that measure achievement of the objectives in the four pillars of the plan, and information about the three foundational areas that represent important facets of UAB’s mission. All of us working toward the objectives of Forging the Future can use this dashboard to get where we want to go!

This dashboard and accompanying charts will be updated each year with the latest data.

Click on any metric to explore more specific information.


Provide 21st century, world-class, socially responsible education that prepares diverse students to lead, teach, provide professional services and become prominent scholars and societal leaders of the future. We are student-centered and consider the impact on students in what we do as a university.



Pursue research, scholarship and creative activities that spur innovation, make UAB a vibrant cultural center, and expand our capability to continually discover and share new knowledge.



Encourage partnerships that advance education, the arts and humanities, health, economic prosperity and a fulfilling quality of life through service at home and around the globe.



Deliver the highest-quality patient care that reflects our ability to translate discoveries into revolutionary therapies in one of the nation’s largest academic medical centers.