The University of Akron Strategic Plan

Promises and Aspirations​


Academic Opportunity

Promise II

To establish The University of Akron as a lifelong learning partner, recognizing and valuing diverse learning experiences and combining traditional classroom experiences with innovative approaches.

1. Focus on pathways that enhance lifelong learning.

  1. Leverage credit for prior learning (CPL) to reward real-world experience and recruit non-traditional
    degree-seeking students.
  2. Implement a comprehensive adult learner strategy that positions UA as the first choice for adults seeking
    lifelong learning.
  3. Offer flexibility and programming in course delivery via optimized pathways.
  4. Reduce time to a degree by exploring 3-year degree options.

2. Use skills-based stacking credentials to strengthen the connections between the classroom,
the community and industry.

  1. Offer students the chance to earn a degree alongside an in-demand industry certificate through the Plus+ Path.
  2. Optimize enrollment processes to allow students to enroll in certificate programs directly, regardless of
    degree-seeking status.
  3. Explore the viability of creating stackable certificates as a pathway to degree completion and micro-credentialing within
    courses and programs to help students create a “skills wallet” to increase employability.

3. Become the primary provider of corporate, professional and traditional higher education to
businesses in our region, creating new revenue opportunities.

  1. Implement a comprehensive employer relationship strategy in both the credit and noncredit space.
  2. Build a marketing plan for this audience throughout University communications, build an “employer” lens area of website
    with custom media and messaging.

2023 Progress Highlights


A. Aligning the student and academic affairs offices to increase and improve collaborations that better serve the support and advising needs of all learners, traditional and non-traditional.


  • Implementing Student Software: With Faculty Senate endorsement, the University purchased a student-centered degree audit system (Stellic) that will enhance scheduling, advising and communication with students. Curriculum sequences are being collected for all majors to support students in their degree progression.
  • Removing Barriers for Students: Several actions were taken to support students including endorsing a test optional policy that allows admission without ACT/SAT scores, use of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) portfolios for credit, the use Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) for alternative credit, and modification of the transient credit policy to remove barriers for students seeking credit.

Key Contact Area: Office of Academic Affairs

B. Improving course delivery, academic success, student learning, student well-being and student satisfaction.


  • Doing More for Students: ZipAssist fully launched the Campus Cupboard, brought nap pods to campus, launched the RooStore, and transformed the Fir Hill lot into a campus garden.
  • Student Well-Being: ZipAssist partnered with RADical Hope Foundation for staff-led peer-to-peer mental health conversations and established oasis spaces (branded “re:center”) with funding by the Women in Philanthropy Committee.
  • Expanding Course Feedback: Midterm course feedback surveys were implemented in all 15-week courses to allow mid- course adjustments.
  • Increasing Textbook Affordability: UA remains committed to the Affordable Learning Initiative which has saved students over $1.3 million and has impacted over 10,000 students. In addition, Faculty Senate adopted a textbook auto-adoption policy that will provide students information on textbooks at the time of registration. Textbook assistance programs were aligned between ZipAssist, Salvation Army of Summit Co., Undergraduate Student Government, and the Office of Multicultural Development.
  • Space for Commuter Students: University Libraries and ZipAssist co-created a Commuter Lounge and Kitchen in Bierce Library.
  • Working Together: ZipAssist placed a MetroNaps pod in Bierce Library, collaborated with University Libraries for a campus cupboard location with a free bookshelf in the Bierce café, and University Libraries contributed to the Little Free Library in the Campus Community Garden.
  • Improving Teaching: The Institute for Teaching and Learning offered professional development for faculty to support effective and inclusive teaching.
  • The Persistence Project: A campus-wide faculty initiative that builds support and student belonging in first- and second- year courses.

Key Contact Area: Institute for Teaching and Learning & Online Learning Services

C. Continuing to invest in and grow fully online programs aligned to student interest and market demand.


  • Expanding UAKRON ONLINE: As of Summer 2023, UA has 22 online degree programs and 9 online certificates.
  • Assessing Online Learning: To improve online offerings, 657 students across colleges were given a Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL) to identify strengths and opportunities.
  • Augmenting Recruiting and Awareness: A lead generator is being piloted to increase enrollment in online programs.
  • Online Partnerships: Partnerships with TREMCO and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections provided job training programs.
  • Supporting Online: Online Learning Services (OLS) provided support across campus for revamping online courses, developing hi-flex courses, and professional development and training courses.
  • Ensuring Online Quality: The UAkron Online Promise initiative has supported 32 faculty in committing to quality in 51 online courses.

Key Contact Area: Online Learning Services

D. Enhancing support of high-demand programs along with the development and support of alternative, innovative pathways to learning and degree completion.


  • Named a new Vice Provost for Student Pathways: Dr. Fedearia Nicholson-Sweval was named Vice Provost for Student Pathways, a position focused on pathways into higher education for high school students and returning adults while increasing the diversity of the student body.
  • Formalized Articulation Agreements: Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) have been renewed with many community college partners and new MOU’s have been established with community colleges, four-year institutions, and local businesses to create academic pathways for all types of learners.
  • Pathways: New pathways have been created with high demand programs and high school programs.
  • Meeting to Serve Students: Community Counselor update meetings have been returned to in-person to assist with the promotion of transfer students.

Key Contact Area: Degree Pathways

Promises and Aspirations​

Strategic Plan


Well-Being & Stewardship​


Academic Opportunity​


Inclusive Excellence & Belonging​


Research & Innovation​​


Community & Connections​​