On Sept. 1, 2021, nearly three weeks after its formation, the Operation Bold Transition Team submitted its recommendations to University of Utah President Taylor Randall. “We’ve approached the task with enthusiasm, commitment and urgency,” wrote the team in the cover letter addressed to the president. “At your direction, we’ve also approached it with boldness.”
The transition plan, which is consistent with and complements the U’s strategic goals and core values, identifies 16 objectives and approximately 100 action steps to help guide the president’s leadership over the next 500 days. It also recommends ways to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion; campus safety; health and well-being; sustainability; and academic freedom—all with an emphasis on continuing to be a model public university.
“One of the first priorities of the plan is to lay out a process for President Randall to listen and learn about the goals, priorities and major issues faced across campus and in the broader community we serve,” said Andy Weyrich, vice president for research and co-chair of the transition team. “We’ve designed the plan to be fluid and functional, so it can be adjusted and refined as we reflect on what the president learns from his listening sessions.”
The transition plan builds upon the president’s three major areas of focus:
- Research innovation and creativity
- Student experiences
- The One-U initiative
The plan also introduces transition imperatives such as the COVID-19 pandemic, education delivery and Pac-12 engagement/athletics.
“We submit these recommendations with a keen awareness of this moment in time. We face generational challenges and far-reaching opportunities,” added the team. “At the same time, we wholeheartedly embrace the vast opportunities associated with being a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and the state of Utah’s flagship university.”
The plan recommends a carefully paced transition that includes three phases: changeover, launch and execution. And it suggests the president reconvene with the Transition Team twice in the upcoming year to evaluate progress and make midcourse corrections.
“I’m extremely grateful for the thoughtful and timely input from this team that represents a broad cross-section of this university,” said President Randall upon receiving the plan. “I take seriously the charge from the Transition Team to take these recommendations, and information from my listen and learn sessions, to develop a bold vision that ensures future student success, research excellence, patient care and community service.”
The team concluded its cover letter writing, “We believe this transition plan, which includes small and large steps for university leadership and execution, will help us become a model public university and realize the boldness to which we all aspire.”
A sampling of some of the more than 100+ recommendations included in the report
Participate in over 40 listening and learning sessions around campus and in the broader community to create a greater understanding of challenges and opportunities at the university.
Meet with health science units as well as staff, trainees, faculty and others involved in patient care.
Recruit and hire leaders with attention to equity and inclusion practices and diverse representation.
Achieve a national safety accreditation.
Expand awareness of employee and student wellness programs, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Ensure graduates are prepared to address sustainability challenges.
Assess, prioritize and invest in new educational offerings that leverage technology.
Host forums on academic freedom.
Serve as a leader in creating dynamic hubs of innovation in downtown Salt Lake City and at The Point.
Reimagine student cohort programs to include the entire university.
Continue to share the strengths of the university with the community.
Deliver degree and certificate programs in sports media production.