Soaring to New Heights
Success. Belonging. Sustainability. Vitality.

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, as a proud member of the University of Wisconsin System, is committed to providing transformative educational opportunities to students, offering outcomes that extend the value of our university beyond the boundaries of the campus in fulfillment of the Wisconsin Idea. In this spirit, as we adapt to student needs and interests in a post-pandemic economy, UWRF has developed a short-term strategic plan called Soaring to New Heights, covering the period from January 2023 through December 2025. The goals of this plan are intended to help us take stock of current enrollment realities and lay the foundation for a future longer-term vision that will be developed as part of our sesquicentennial celebration in academic year 2024-25. Soaring to New Heights contributes directly to the UWRF Mission and Vision and is grounded in our core values.

Providing a more robust framework and clearer direction for our strategic planning efforts, in December 2022, the UW System Board of Regents approved a new systemwide strategic plan for the period 2023-28. The strategic objectives that the UW System defined connect directly to various elements of the goals of Soaring to New Heights. The UW System plan in particular focuses on growing Wisconsin’s talent pipeline and enhancing the stature of UW System universities in the fields of research and creative activity while reinforcing the System’s role in ensuring a vibrant economic future for the state. Campuses are encouraged to enrich the student experience and contribute to better outcomes with improved social mobility. There is also an emphasis on fostering civic engagement and serving the public good. The UW System plan furthermore inspires campuses to contribute to innovation, improve understanding of the human condition and advance economic prosperity. The Soaring to New Heights plan will contribute directly to achievement of these UW System priorities; a summary of these contributions follows. View the full strategic plan document here.

UWRF Section Separator


Through Soaring to New Heights, UWRF commits to seeing every Falcon achieve success, in terms of student degree attainment as well as personal and professional satisfaction for both graduates and UWRF employees. To achieve this goal, students and employees of our community will bring their best to every opportunity, actively engaging in experiential education in a rigorous learning and fulfilling work environment. Through the liberal arts, interdisciplinary programs and hands-on experiences, students will build critical skills that will help them to succeed in a complex, rapidly changing world.

Strategic Plan Sub-Goals and Metrics

UWRF challenges the students and employees of our vibrant academic community to bring their best to every opportunity. We provide rigorous liberal arts and graduate learning experiences and fulfilling work environments that build trust, empower participation, and offer compassionate support. Our faculty, staff, leadership and alumni stand for the education, health, and wellbeing of all, and live the values we seek to instill in UWRF students. Together, we help them build skills—like critical and creative thinking, inquiry and analysis, clear and fluent written and oral communication, effective teamwork, and ethical consideration and judgment—that can ensure success in a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing world.

1. Success in Achieving the Degree

a. Increase 1st year to 2nd year retention to 80%.

b. Maintain or increase current semester to semester persistence rates.

c. Increase the 6-year graduation rate to 60%.

Data Source(s): Institutional Research; Division of Student Success

2. Improved Post Graduation Personal & Professional Satisfaction

a. Establish baseline and increase opportunities for students to be involved in leadership and career development opportunities.

b. Develop improved process for maintaining communication with alumni.

c. Help students realize the value of liberal education in preparing them to be active in civic engagement, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

d. Maintain or increase student satisfaction related to career preparation provided by their UWRF degree

Data Source(s): Institutional Research (a), University Alumni Association, Career Services (b,c,d)

3. Increased Employee support (including student employees)

a. Establish baseline and measure a meaningful increase in job satisfaction.

b. Increased programming support for health and wellbeing.

c. Increase percentage of employees receiving professional development training.

Data Source(s): Institutional Research (a), Health and Counseling (b), Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Associate Provost’s Office, University Staff Senate (c)



Soaring to New Heights will enable UWRF to become a more diverse campus with improved retention of underrepresented students and employees and increased access to valuable high-impact practices that strengthen student retention, instill career competencies, and power lifelong success. In line with our Land Acknowledgement, Soaring to New Heights will also help UWRF improve campus awareness of indigenous cultures, history and issues. The result of these actions will be a more inclusive campus culture, where people of different identities, views and backgrounds can productively interact, fostering a stronger sense of belonging for all.

Strategic Plan Sub-Goals and Metrics

UWRF is building a sense of belonging for all our students and employees. We’re fostering an engaging, accessible, and equitable environment where people who may have different identities, views, and backgrounds can productively interact. With high-impact practices and programs like first-year and URSCA (Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity) opportunities, peer mentoring, learning communities, internships, global education and study abroad, we’re providing dynamic educational experiences that strengthen student retention, instill career competencies, and power lifelong success.

1. Create a more diverse campus with improved retention rates of students and employees

a. Increase to 15% the percentage of underrepresented students.

b. Increase to 15% the percentage of underrepresented faculty and staff.

c. Remove equity gaps in six-year graduation rates between underrepresented students and majority groups.

Data Source(s): Institutional Research; Division of Student Success

2. Establish a process for completing ongoing campus culture surveys and intercultural growth opportunities and address shortcomings

a. Establish baseline and understand current challenges that lead to improved level of satisfaction of campus culture for students and employees.

b. Establish baseline and increase attendance at training workshops and forums focused on
intercultural growth, support, and belonging.

c. Identify and fund recruitment and marketing opportunities to increase diversity of faculty,
staff, and students.

Data Source(s): Institutional Research (a), Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, DIB (b), Human Resources, University Communication and Marketing (c)

3. Provide greater opportunity and access to High Impact Practices (HIPs)

a. Establish baseline and identify key HIPs for further investment and growth.

b. Identify additional funding sources to support HIPs access for all students

c. Remove equity gap in HIPs participation.

Data Source(s): Provost Office, Division of Student Success

4. Fulfill our Land Acknowledgement commitment to indigenous nations of our region

a. Provide opportunities to grow cultural competency of indigenous cultures and history

b. Host at least two campus-wide education events annually that address indigenous peoples' issues and concerns.

c. Establish a baseline of attendance at events addressing current indigenous issues and increase attendance from each college each year.

d. Establish at least one ongoing and active partnership with an indigenous nation of the area that provides support for ongoing needs they identify.

Data Source(s): Provost Office, Division of Student Success



The Soaring to New Heights plan also formalizes UWRF’s commitment to sustainability with increased educational opportunities for student creativity, research and entrepreneurship in this area. Innovation is a theme of this goal and its underlying mitigation and environmental preservation efforts. Also embedded in this goal area are actions that acknowledge the facets of sustainability related to social justice and addressing socioeconomic inequities.

Strategic Plan Sub-Goals and Metrics

UWRF is working to create a healthier and more equitable future by embracing sustainability and accountability today. We’re meeting the local and global needs of future generations through creativity, research, entrepreneurship and with new, interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems. By reducing our environmental impact and expanding public and private strategic partnerships that invest in best practices for economic, ecological, and social sustainability, our community is making lasting changes that make the world a better place.

1. Develop more curricular and co-curricular opportunities centered on sustainability

a. Increase the number of academic programs with a sustainability component.

b. Increase student/staff participation in sustainability-focused programs and workshops.

c. Increase the number of co-curricular learning opportunities for sustainability across
UWRF programs.

Data Source(s): Associate Provost’s Office (a), Sustainability Working Group (b,c)

2. Protect and maintain campus ecology while increasing commitment to preserving the environment

a. Decrease campus overall environmental impact as detailed in sustainability plan.

b. Identify and improve STARS rating indicators for UWRF.

c. Develop at least one new sustainability-based initiative per year through campus/community partnerships.

Data Source(s): Sustainability Working Group, STARS report (a,b), University Communication & Marketing, Advancement, Provost’s Office (c)

3. Increase awareness of the impacts of social disparities on environmental resource access

a. Increase curricular programming on campus to address socioeconomic inequities per the Academic Plan.

b. Establish baseline and provide support for additional opportunities for students and
employees to engage in projects that address environmental resource inequities.

Data Source(s): Registrar, Institutional Research, Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning, Sustainability Working Group, Provost’s Office



Soaring to New Heights will support the management of the institution in a way that ensures stability while building towards a thriving future. Increased public awareness and advocacy will ensure UWRF remains seen as a valuable contributor to regional economic vitality. This will be achieved by investment in enrollment growth and refinement of the opportunities we are able to offer students, while building stronger partnerships with employers, alumni, agencies and other stakeholders.

Strategic Plan Sub-Goals and Metrics

UWRF leads the way in enrollment, retention, and financial management to keep our institution stable and thriving. We champion our community and funding for public higher ed, telling powerful stories about UWRF’s impact that help forge transformative partnerships with employers, alumni, agencies, and others. Those strong ties provide support and financial contributions that fuel continual improvements to our campus, programs, and educational experiences.

1. Increase and stabilize new enrollments for growth in net revenue while investing
resources where needed in support of this effort

a. Increase by 30% the number of first-time first-year students.

b. Increase by 50% the number of transfer students.

c. Increase by 50% the number of new graduate students.

Data Source(s): Institutional Research

2. Increased public awareness of campus wide achievements at UWRF that have an impact on our region

a. Increase the media impact of UWRF by increasing published media reports.

b. Increase the number of alumni and success stories published by UWRF.

c. Maintain a focus on advocacy for enhanced support for UWRF from local, state and federal sources.

Data Source(s): University Communication and Marketing

3. Increased understanding of workforce needs and opportunities for our students

a. Determine alumni perception of their contribution to the Wisconsin Idea

b. Increase the number of partnerships with public and private organizations that provide
support to campus for ongoing and new programming.

Data Source(s): Career Services (a), Provosts Office (b)