UAB Forging Ahead with new strategic plan

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rep forging ahead graphicFollowing a deliberate and inclusive process that begin in early 2022, UAB has launched its new strategic plan — Forging Ahead — after it was approved with unanimous support by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees at the Hill Student Center on Feb. 2, 2024.

UAB’s new strategic plan for 2024-2028 outlines the institution’s mission, vision, values, peers, foundations and pillars, as well as outlines institutional goals, strategies to achieve them and measurements of success. It also provides a guide and framework for each school, college and unit across the enterprise to update localized strategic plans.

Learn more about Forging Ahead and how it was developed at

“At UAB, we are prepared to meet new opportunities and challenges because we plan ahead and sustain strategic growth that has a positive impact on people’s lives,” said UAB President Ray Watts. “We experienced unprecedented success in recent years guided by previous strategic plans, and this plan will help us build on our momentum.”

UAB’s Strategic Planning Council was launched in January 2022, and was charged by Watts to refresh UAB’s 2018-2023 strategic plan, Forging the Future, to guide the institution’s continued growth and unprecedented success and positive impact for 2024-2028.

Watts — who often says UAB’s most valuable resource is its students, faculty and staff, and celebrates their ability to influence people’s lives for the better — stressed the importance of the plan’s positive impact on the people who make up the UAB community, as well as those in Birmingham, across Alabama and around the world.

The Strategic Planning Council began with research, including a review of Forging the Future and an environmental scan of higher education and health care. Committees made up of subject matter experts who brought different perspectives from across the institution were convened to develop each section of the plan, from the mission, vision and values to each foundation and pillar. More than 55 people representative of the UAB community helped craft the draft plan.

At an October 2023 town hall at which the Strategic Planning Council presented the draft plan, President Watts asked the campus community to provide feedback to Forging Ahead during a highly publicized comment period. Students, faculty, staff and alumni submitted feedback at the town hall and via an online form.

Learn more about how Forging Ahead was developed with input from the UAB community.

“I sincerely thank everyone who participated in the strategic planning process, from our Strategic Planning Council and associated committees to university and Health System subject matter experts who informed key decisions, to those who attended our town hall and anyone who provided feedback to the draft plan during the comment period,” Watts said. “I also thank the UA System Board of Trustees and our colleagues in the System Office whose unwavering support has made our past and future successes and positive impact on people’s lives possible.”

Many schools, colleges and units have already begun their strategic planning process. As those efforts continue, and as others begin — informed by Forging Ahead — each entity is reminded to maintain a focus on the institution’s refreshed vision, mission and values. Ultimately, we exist to improve the lives of people — at UAB, across Birmingham and Alabama, and around the world.