By Madelin Shelton — 

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi recently announced U of L’s progress on their Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan, released in fall 2019, was launched to make U of L a great place to learn, to work and in which to invest. According to the progress report, “the three-year plan focuses on key initiatives, gauges the effectiveness of specific actions and measures the university’s progress toward achieving its overarching goal.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of LMPD, which both required significant attention from the university, U of L was able to make necessary changes and make great strides on the goals it originally set in 2019.

“These challenges meant some of our strategic plan goals had to be paused or reworked, but our determination to overcome never wavered,” U of L said in the progress report.

Most notably, the university’s total enrollment reached above 23,000, a milestone it has not reached in over 20 years.

Graduation rates also peaked during this time and research funding hit a record-breaking $152 million. The university doubled the percentage of need-based aid for first-time freshman and increased the number of patents awarded to U of L for its innovation.

The report also highlighted the university’s response to COVID-19, pointing to U of L’s swift move to online instruction, addressing the significant financial ramifications and providing U of L health care workers and researchers with necessary resources.

It also mentioned the potential of the Co-Immunity Project, funded in part by U of L as an effort to learn how COVID-19 moves through populations.

“Results from the study will help Kentucky restart its economy and create safe plans to return to work and school,” the report said.

In addition, the report detailed the university’s Cardinal Anti-Racism Agenda, which serves to advance U of L’s goal to become the nation’s premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.

The university included initiatives to further this effort, including, but not limited to, developing an educational series for faculty and staff focusing on diversity and inclusion, providing a list of resources to help the campus community learn more about the legacy of slavery and racism and having the U of L police department host open forums discussing racial issues that impact U of L and the broader Louisville community.

Finally, the report incorporated information on its three Grand Challenges of empowering communities, advancing health and engineering the future economy.

These challenges are being used by the university as priorities to dedicate its research and scholarship towards. Progress has been made by U of L on these challenges through the convening of the Grand Challenges subcommittee and recruiting researchers and scholars to join the challenge.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal