In preparing to implement the strategic plan over the next five years (as described below), the university has committed to prioritize ongoing, focused measurement and assessment of activities in support of the plan. Each critical tactic added to the implementation plan will include metrics and indicators for assessing its effectiveness, guiding its ongoing implementation, and recognizing its success. These indicators will be monitored, updated, supplemented, and reported on throughout the life of the plan.

Over time, success in implementing the critical tactics is expected to contribute substantively to improvements in the targeted progress indicators below and in many other key indicators of institutional progress, such as:

  • AAU Membership Indicators, including  
    • Competitively funded federal research support 
    • Faculty awards, fellowships, and memberships 
    • Citations 
    • Research/scholarship PhDs granted annually 
  • Faculty/staff retention and turnover rates 
  • Research expenditures 
  • Demographic data and diversity measures 
  • Data from surveys including the Campus Climate Survey, Working at Iowa, Student Experience in the Research University, Personal Health Assessment, and others 
  • Health care patient visits 

The university regularly reports on these indicators of progress in various contexts, including governance reports to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. 


In alignment with the strategic plan of the Board of Regents, the university has set specific five-year targets for the following high-level indicators, and will report on progress toward meeting these targets annually: 

Targeted Progress Indicators 


2027 Target 


Fall-to-fall retention for first-year undergraduate students 


Increase to 90% 

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Four-year undergraduate completion rates 


Increase to 58% 

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Six-year undergraduate completion rates 


Increase to 75% 

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Attainment gap2 in fall-to-fall retention of underrepresented minority3 undergraduate students 


Decrease to 2% 

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Attainment gap2 in fall-to-fall retention of first-generation4 students 


Decrease to 6-8% 

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Attainment gap2 in four-year graduation rate of underrepresented minority3 undergraduate students 


Decrease to 7-9% 

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Attainment gap2 in four-year graduation rate of first-generation4 undergraduate students  


Decrease to 9-11% 

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Attainment gap2 in six-year graduation rate of underrepresented minority3 undergraduate students 


Decrease to 6-8% 

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Attainment gap2 in six-year graduation rate of first-generation4 undergraduate students  


Decrease to 7-9%  

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Include employment outcomes of graduates in academic program reviews  

Not currently required 

Included in all reviews 

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Need- and merit-based philanthropic scholarship support for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students 


Increase to $32.4M

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Success rate for online courses  


Maintain at 95% or greater 

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UI Health Care patient capacity—unique annual patient encounters across all UI Health Care settings

2.18 million5

Increase by 10% 

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UI Health Care Vizient Quality and Accountability Study ranking of comprehensive academic medial centers Ranked 71 of 1016 Rank in top 50
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Annual increase in research expenditures7



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Philanthropic support for faculty prizes/awards, fellowships, professorships, chairs, and deanships 


Increase to $21.6M

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Percentage of students reporting participation in a high-impact, experiential learning opportunity in responses to the Senior Exit Survey 


Increase to 90% 

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Percentage of campus participation in campus climate surveys 30% Increase to 60%
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Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions N/A 47%
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Undergraduate students completing a sustainability-focused course Baseline to be established in year 1 75%
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Net Asset Value index score8 of GEF facilities 79%9 Maintain at 79% or greater
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Percentage of new buildings and renovations designed and constructed to standards that meet or exceed LEED  design certification thresholds N/A 100%
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13-year average unless otherwise noted
2The disparity between groups of students on a given academic performance goal.
3In the narrow context of monitoring gaps in retention and graduation rates between underrepresented students and other students, this plan defines underrepresented minority (URM) to include members of the following federally-defined race/ethnicity categories that have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education: Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian or  Alaskan Native, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and Two or More Races (where at least one race is included in the preceding list). URM counts include only U.S. citizens and permanent residents (international students are counted separately).
4A student is considered to be of first-generation status if neither parent or guardian holds a four-year degree. This is self-reported information collected on the undergraduate admissions application.
5Average annual encounters from FY2019-2021, excludes COVID-19 clinic and telehealth activity during the pandemic.
6Baseline period is 2021 Vizient Quality and Accountability Study
7Based on NSF HERD data; target to be re-calculated annually based on rolling 3-year average of UI Peer Group
8A measure of building stewardship and condition, calculated using a dollar value of facility needs and replacement value.
9Baseline as of FY2021


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Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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Innovative Research and Creative Discovery                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Welcoming and Inclusive Environment
Holistic Well-Being and Success
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Transformative Societal Impact

Download the Strategic Plan for 2022-2027 (PDF)