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Forging Ahead UAB's Strategic Plan
Funding the Plan: Resources

Every strategic plan should be prepared to invest the resources needed to execute the ideas and recommendations it presents. It is equally important that these investments reflect a commitment to fiscal stability and be executed in ways that serve the best interests of the university. One of the internal sources for supporting aspects of Forging Ahead is the Strategic Investment Fund.

What is the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF)?

The Strategic Investment Fund supports large, cross-institutional initiatives that align with the overall strategic plan of the university and will deliver a significant benefit throughout the university.

The SIF can be a non-recurring resource to incentivize more and better interdisciplinary work to advance UAB’s mission and strategic priorities. It can be used to deploy technology and platforms to improve efficiency, effectiveness and competitiveness or invested in campuswide priorities such as safety, sustainability and beautification. We expect there will be no shortage of worthy ideas.

INTO UAB international students are interacting inside Mervyn Sterne Library, June 22, 2017.A $2.2 million investment transformed UAB Libraries into 21st-century learning spaces that meet the needs of modern students.

What types of projects have been funded?

Several large-scale projects have been funded since the SIF was created. 

Two primary recipients were initiatives that were centerpieces of UAB’s 2018-2023 strategic plan, Forging the Future: the inaugural Grand Challenge recipient, Live HealthSmart Alabama, and the new Blazer Core, set to debut in fall 2023.

Using SIF resources, UAB also deployed Salesforce, a customer-relationship technology (CRM), to help manage internal and external communications. The platform enables users to manage all contacts — employees, prospective and enrolled students, alumni, donors and supporters — and distribute, track and analyze the effectiveness of its messaging through email and newsletters. 

SIF resources also were devoted to elevate UAB Libraries as 21st century facilities that meet the needs of 21st century students. In addition to physical renovations that created collaborative spaces and other improvements, UAB expanded its collections, resources and personnel to promote information literacy essential to student success. This effort has led to our libraries having a ranking more commensurate with the research and educational attributes of UAB.

Funds to hire regional recruiters to increase out-of-state enrollments was another investment. By fall 2022, out-of-state enrollment increased to 19.7% of enrollment from 18.2% in fall 2018.

One-time SIF funds were also used to assist Blazer Athletics in its transition from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference in 2023. This move has brought greater network exposure for all Blazer teams and in turn, reaches a greater audience to market UAB more broadly.

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