Proposed Revised Board Strategic Plan

Our Vision

The Board will ensure the System provides every Utahn—in every place and every circumstance—an affordable certificate or degree at a USHE institution that will meaningfully improve their lives through economic opportunity, civic engagement, and personal fulfillment.

Our Mission

The Utah Board of Higher Education governs and supports the Utah System of Higher Education to provide equitable, accessible, valuable, innovative, and affordable higher education for students to expand their economic mobility, enhance their cultural awareness, and improve their overall quality of life.

2021 Strategic Plan

In 2020, Utah’s two higher education systems merged, creating a single system of 16 colleges and universities. The newly-created Utah Board of Higher Education adopted a strategic plan in May 2021 to guide the new System for the next five years.

To develop the strategic plan, the Board and Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education engaged in a rigorous, collaborative, and creative process that built on past initiatives from previous boards and incorporated feedback from institutions, state leaders, students, and other stakeholders.

The Utah Board of Higher Education aligned several disparate systemwide measures into a single cohesive measuring system to track progress toward statewide attainment goals. This includes alignment between the state’s attainment goal, institutional performance measures, and the Board’s five-year strategic plan.

10-year statewide attainment goals

The 10-year statewide attainment goals were set in 2020 by the Utah Higher Education Strategic Planning Commission. These statewide attainment goals align with the Board priorities of Access, Completion, and Workforce Alignment. The measures are linked: increasing success in access will call for more effort in timely completion; increasing success in completion will call for more effort in workforce alignment.

5-year strategic plan goals

The Board’s five-year goals, outlined in this strategic plan, will serve as the midpoint measure toward the statewide ten-year attainment goals. The strategic plan includes goals for underrepresented population success within each priority. The goals are set at rates that address closing statewide equity attainment gaps.

Year-over-year institutional goals tied to performance funding

The Board’s five-year strategic plan goals will guide institutions’ goals for performance funding. The Commissioner’s office provided data to institutions showing their historical data for the attainment goal measures for subgoals. Institutions will work with their boards of trustees to set five-year and annual performance funding goals.

Utah’s higher education landscape continues to see significant structural and systemic gaps reflected in postsecondary enrollment and completion rates when disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. When comparing Utah college enrollment numbers of Utahns ages 18 to 35, enrollment rates of students of color are as much as 40% below that of white students. Similar gaps exist in the completion rates of students at USHE institutions: postsecondary attainment of students of color is as much as 35% below that of white students.

The Utah Board of Higher Education is committed to utilizing the newly-adopted equity lens framework to identify and address barriers to equity of opportunity for all Utahns. The equity lens framework begins with the shared belief that every student has the ability to learn. With that understanding, the Board recognizes its position to ensure structural barriers are removed so that all students have access to equitable, safe, and conducive learning environments. To guide the Utah Board of Higher Education in its adoption of policies, initiatives, and strategies, the Board is committed to implementing the practical exercise of the equity lens framework to ensure all efforts are focused on closing attainment gaps for Utah students.

Measuring for equity

The strategic plan includes goals for underrepresented population success within each priority. The Board has a full definition of “underrepresented” in the Equity Lens Framework: “Any student group that has traditionally held a smaller percentage of the total higher education population. For the purposes of this framework, these are student groups who are disproportionately represented in comparison to an equivalent counterpart.”

Subgoals within the strategic plan focused on underrepresented students are aligned with currently available data and are defined as those populations that are underrepresented within each of the following priorities:

  • Access: low-income students and historically marginalized students of color: Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, Pacific Islander, Native American, and students who identify as multiracial.
  • Completion: historically marginalized students of color: Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, Pacific Islander, Native American, and students who identify as multiracial.
  • Workforce Alignment: women and the following student populations: Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, Pacific Islander, Native American, Asian, and students who identify as multiracial.

By centering equity in the strategic plan, the Board has committed to question and disrupt how things have always been in order to reimagine a postsecondary education system that fosters equitable access and success, creates pathways for economic mobility, and work toward a high quality of life for each student and their communities.

When developing the strategic plan, the Board examined the four levers that would ensure the outcomes resulting from the implementation of the plan are in areas that the Board can best impact.

The levers of the Board include:

  • Policy
  • Research/Analysis
  • Funding
  • Collaboration/Advocacy

Within the strategic plan, the Board’s role is reflected in the strategies and tactics for each priority.

  • System Leadership: Oversee and lead the Utah System of Higher Education for the benefit of all Utahns.
  • Access: Remove structural barriers to entry.
  • Affordability: Remove structural barriers to affordability.
  • Completion: Remove structural barriers to graduation.
  • Workforce Alignment: Prioritize and incentivize the approval of high-demand, high-wage programs aligned with workforce.
  • Research: Advocate for the role of research and support funding for research.


System Leadership

Develop, strengthen, and leverage an equitable, seamless, and articulated System of higher education built on a foundation of quality, excellence, and remarkable student outcomes.

Strategies & Tactics

  • Align programs within institutional roles and address unnecessary program duplication across the System.
  • Revise policies governing institutional roles and award types across degree-granting institutions and technical colleges, and faculty workload at degree-granting institutions.
  • Review policies to ensure alignment between technical colleges and degree-granting institutions.
  • Align data and measurements between tech colleges and degree-granting institutions.
  • Train boards of trustees on System responsibilities.
  • Facilitate board of trustees consortium group.
  • Identify and implement new shared service functions within legislatively prioritized areas of technology, human resources, Title IX, and commercialization.
  • Initiate new shared service functions in areas that are most likely to result in budget savings, cost avoidance, and/or improved services.
  • Connect institutions with Title IX training opportunities, and support and empower institutions in developing strategies to address campus safety.
  • Analyze and report on direct, indirect, fiscal, and non-fiscal outcomes of new shared services initiatives.
  • Lead cross-agency cooperation to create a shared goal and definition of educational pathways within Utah.
  • Collaborate with USBE, USHE institutions, and OCHE units to lead and coordinate all college-in-high school programs and pathways containing postsecondary coursework or credentials.
  • Develop a data collection and reporting framework to assess the quality of educational pathways within Utah.
  • Train and support Utah’s Regional Pathways Coordinators to develop and implement clear educational pathways from technical colleges to regional universities.
  • Utilize Talent Ready Utah’s connection to the workforce to align educational attainment with industry-validated occupations.


Increase the college-going rate of high school grads by 3% in 5 years.
Increase the college-going rate of underrepresented groups by 4% in 5 years.

Strategies & Tactics

  • Build and maintain relationships and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders to develop, support, and analyze initiatives that positively impact college-going rates.
  • Maintain the Utah College Advising Corps statewide and evaluate program data to determine efficacy, best practices, and sustainable future model(s).
  • Provide and evaluate training to access partners on system-level, statewide programming to prepare them for meaningful conversations about postsecondary options.
  • Explore and adopt a statewide tool that removes barriers to college application for students, parents, and institutions.
  • Create an effective governance and collaboration model to promote the utilization of a single admissions application across Utah.
  • Develop and report measurable outcomes related to standardized college admissions processes.
  • Facilitate the movement of data between high school students and institutions to improve access, particularly for underrepresented student populations.
  • Leverage technology to improve the accuracy and efficacy of student record matching.


Maximize the return on investment and value proposition of higher education.

Strategies & Tactics

  • Implement shared service initiatives.
  • Ensure capital development investments are aligned with System and institution long-run plans and strategies.
  • Continue to develop and deploy products and tools to quantify and assess institution fiscal health, budget stress risks, tuition rates, costs of instruction, operational performance, and other areas of financial relevance.
  • Continue to advance activities that increase FAFSA completion and student receipt of federal aid.
  • Continue to invest in, deploy and refine state scholarship programs.
  • Support performance funding investments in interventions that advance progress toward institutional timely completion goals.
  • Support performance funding investments in interventions that advance progress toward institutional timely high-yield goals.


Increase timely completion of degrees and awards by 3% in 5 years.
Increase the timely completion of underrepresented students by 4% in 5 years.

Strategies & Tactics

  • Identify and address barriers to transfer.
  • Structure awards to facilitate transfer and completion.
  • Transition technical education from clock hours to credit hours.
  • Implement consistent practices for the award of credit for prior learning, including training of faculty and staff, and annual institutional reporting of credit awarded. Assess the impact of the award of credit for prior learning on student enrollment and completion.
  • Standardize placement, co-requisite remediation, and other means of entry into and success within college-level coursework.

Workforce Alignment

Increase the completion rate of graduates in high-demand, high-wage programs by 3% in 5 years.
Increase the completion rate of underrepresented groups in programs aligned with high-wage, high-demand jobs by 4% in 5 years.

Strategies & Tactics

  • Convene industry alignment workgroups to identify talent gaps to develop short-term and long-term workforce development programs that address urban and rural workforce needs.
  • Implement and administer state and federal workforce grant initiatives.
  • Ensure efforts are consistent with state workforce projections, are data-driven to target industries, and align with high-demand occupations.
  • Leverage the USHE Cyclical Institutional Program Review (R411) process to proactively gauge alignment with industry.
  • Collaborate with the Unified Economic Opportunity Commission (UEOC) to develop statewide Talent priorities.
  • Coordinate and partner with industry and education to develop short-term pre-employment training, short-term early employment training, and incumbent worker training that meet the needs of businesses creating jobs and economic growth in the state that support urban and rural workforce needs.
  • Collaborate with the UEOC Talent Subcommittee to facilitate creating and expanding apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities for Utah students.
  • Integrate short-term training policy that aligns definitions and practices between academic and technical institutions, defines reporting, and creates a model for growth funding to support short-term training aligned with industry demand.
  • Establish workgroups of education, industry, and state agencies to coordinate workforce initiatives while increasing outreach and access for underrepresented populations, including incarcerated individuals.
  • Train & utilize Talent Ready Utah (TRU) apprenticeship coordinators and regional pathways coordinators to provide employer outreach and information regarding workforce initiatives.
  • Develop a Talent Dashboard to provide data showing the scope, progress, and performance of employment training.
  • Develop a process to create and expand TRU K-12 workforce programs to increase access to work-based learning in underserved communities.
  • Expand the Utah Adopt-A-School program to increase K-12 student access to work-based learning.
  • Create a framework to define systemwide practices for participation and reporting of work-based learning activities.
  • Collaborate with regional pathways coordinators to engage industry in education programs aligned with workforce needs.


Leverage the research role of USHE institutions to enhance Utah communities and position the state as a leader in the global knowledge economy.

Strategies & Tactics

  • Increase awareness of opportunities for students to participate in research, applied learning, work-based learning, or community-engaged learning as part of the award program structure at all USHE institutions.
  • Measure and communicate the impact of undergraduate students’ civic engagement and global learning at all 16 USHE institutions as a leading System in the national AACU Civic Evidence Project.

my529 Strategic Plan (Coming Soon)