UAB to share draft of new strategic plan soon

Written by 
rep sp announce 550px

For more than a year, a campuswide Strategic Planning Council has been laying the groundwork for revising and updating UAB’s strategic plan, Forging the Future, which launched in 2018. A draft of the new plan will be presented in a town hall format Oct. 25 and shared online to solicit input from the campus community.

The draft will be finalized using that feedback and presented to the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees in February 2024.

“Our unprecedented success in all phases of our mission during the past five years is the result of exceptional work by students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners — and the unwavering support of the UA System Board of Trustees and System Office leadership — to achieve the objectives outlined in our strategic plan,” said President Ray Watts. “Those achievements include record-breaking enrollments, improved retention and graduation rates, record research funding, groundbreaking strides in patient care, increased outreach within the community through the Grand Challenge and other initiatives, construction of new facilities, as well as record fundraising and some of the largest gifts ever received by UAB.

“To sustain this success and continue to excel, we are refreshing our strategic plan to respond to current challenges and opportunities and establish new goals to reach even greater heights by the end of 2028,” said Watts, who earlier this year celebrated his 10th anniversary as UAB’s president and the institution’s unprecedented growth under his leadership and previous strategic plans.

New draft and next steps

A representative group of at least 55 people from across the university and Health System were involved in crafting the draft strategic plan, including members of the Strategic Planning Council, its related subcommittees and others.

The Strategic Planning Council, co-chaired by Provost Pam Benoit, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Brian Burnett, Ph.D., and Chief Communications Officer Jim Bakken, organized subcommittees to review UAB’s peer groups and the university’s mission, vision and value statements, plus the plan pillars and foundations during 2022.

Subcommittees submitted recommended goals and metrics for measuring success across each mission pillar: education, community engagement and patient care, and research innovation and economic development.

The next step is to incorporate UAB community input. Members of the Strategic Planning Council will join President Watts to present the draft plan to the campus community during a town hall at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Alumni House, and the town hall and draft plan (and a recording of the town hall) will be published online at, where additional feedback can be submitted.

“I appreciate the time and effort the council and subcommittee members have invested in refreshing the plan for a successful future, and I encourage everyone in the UAB community to read and respond to the proposed strategic plan during the comment period this fall,” Watts said. “Our future success depends on input and collaboration.”

Members of the Strategic Planning Council and their campus or community affiliations are listed below, along with members of the subcommittees that enlisted additional campuswide perspectives.

Strategic Planning Council Membership

  • Anupam Agarwal, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean, Heersink School of Medicine
  • Crystal Ash, community member, Birmingham Promise
  • Jim Bakken (Council co-chair), chief communications officer
  • Bradley Barnes, Ph.D., vice provost, Enrollment Management
  • Pam Benoit, Ph.D. (Council co-chair), provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs
  • Tom Brannan, vice president for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives
  • Jennifer Braswell Christy, Ph.D., faculty, School of Health Professions
  • Chris Brown, Ph.D., vice president, Research
  • Brian Burnett, Ph.D. (Council co-chair), senior vice president for Finance and Administration
  • Josh Carpenter, CEO, Southern Research
  • Laine Chapman, past chair, Staff Council
  • David Dada, director, Governmental Relations
  • Paulette Patterson Dilworth, Ph.D., vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Paul Erwin, DrPH, dean, School of Public Health
  • Eva Lewis, Ph.D., vice provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis (IEA)
  • Patrick Murphy, Ph.D., faculty, Collat School of Business
  • Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., executive director, Harbert Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • David Randall, chief strategy officer, UAB Medicine
  • Ryan Robinett, past president, UAB Alumni Association
  • Ritika Samant, Undergraduate Student Government Association
  • Autumn Sims, Graduate Student Government
  • Mike Sloane, Ph.D., past chair, Faculty Senate
  • Andy Sullivan, faculty, School of Engineering
  • Kecia Thomas, Ph.D., dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Subcommittees and members

Members of the Strategic Planning Council were tasked with forming subcommittees around each of our four mission pillars and other key areas. The subcommittees worked to develop goals, objectives, and activities/strategies for each of the mission pillars and provided input into the dashboard metrics appropriate for these goals. Membership of each of those subcommittees is listed here.

Education Subcommittee

  • Bradley Barnes, Ph.D., Enrollment Management
  • Paul Erwin, DrPH, (subcommittee chair) Public Health
  • Chris Minnix, Ph.D., Blazer Core
  • Pam Paustian, Ph.D., Provost’s Office/Online Recruitment
  • Scott Phillips, Ph.D., Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Ritika Samant, USGA
  • Walter Stewart, Veterans Services/Student Affairs
  • Mary Wallace, Ph.D., Student Affairs

Research, Innovation and Economic Development Subcommittee

  • Chris Brown, Ph.D., (subcommittee co-chair) Research
  • Josh Carpenter, Southern Research
  • Suzanne Judd, Ph.D., Public Health
  • Suzi Lapi, Ph.D., Medicine
  • Patrick Murphy, Ph.D., Business
  • Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., (subcommittee co-chair) Harbert Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Community Engagement Subcommittee

  • Shauntice Allen, Ph.D., Public Health
  • Jaret Langston, Ph.D., Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis
  • Teresa Shufflebarger, Medicine
  • Andrew Sullivan, Engineering
  • Kecia Thomas, Ph.D., (subcommittee chair) College of Arts and Sciences
  • Katrina Watson, Literacy Council
  • Mike Wyss, Ph.D., Center for Community Outreach Development 

Patient Care Subcommittee

  • Anupam Agarwal, M.D., Medicine
  • Tom Brannan, Advancement
  • Michael Faircloth, M.D., Medicine
  • David Randall, M.D., (subcommittee chair) UAB Medicine
  • Elizabeth Steele, O.D., Optometry
  • Russell Taichman, DMD, Dentistry
  • Michele Talley, Ph.D., Nursing

Diversity Subcommittee

  • Felesia Bowen, Ph.D., DNP, Nursing
  • David Dada, Community Relations
  • Paulette Dilworth, Ph.D., (subcommittee chair) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Autumn Massey-Sims, Graduate Student Government
  • Tequila Smith, UAB alumna
  • Nabiha Yusuf, Ph.D., Faculty Senate

Stewardship Subcommittee

  • Pam Benoit, Ph.D., provost
  • Tom Brannan, Advancement
  • Brian Burnett, Ph.D., (subcommittee chair) Finance and Administration
  • Andy Hollis, Financial Affairs 
  • Stephanie Mullins, chief financial officer 

Philanthropy Subcommittee

  • Crystal Ash, community member
  • Pam Benoit, Ph.D., provost
  • Tom Brannan, (subcommittee chair) Advancement

Communications Plan Subcommittee

  • Jim Bakken, (subcommittee chair) University Relations
  • Pam Benoit, Ph.D., Provost
  • Maelynn Cheung, UAB Health System  
  • Linda Gunter, University Relations 
  • Chris McCauley, College of Arts and Sciences

Mission, Vision and Values Subcommittee

  • Jim Bakken, University Relations
  • Jennifer Christy, Health Professions
  • Tyler Huang, alumnus and former USGA president
  • Arpan Limdi, UAB Medicine
  • Mike Sloane, Ph.D., (subcommittee chair) Faculty Senate
  • Zandral Washington, UAB Police

Peer Comparisons Subcommittee

  • Brian Burnett, Ph.D., (subcommittee chair) Finance and Administration
  • Laine Chapman, Staff Council
  • Jeff Holmes, M.D., Engineering
  • Sean Kerins, Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis
  • Eva Lewis, Ph.D., Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis