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AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron Department of Athletics unveiled on Monday its aggressive goals in a comprehensive seven-year plan developed with significant input from those impacted by Zips Athletics.
Titled IMPACT 2020, the document is the product of a nine-month-long strategic-planning process that solicited feedback from more than 1,000 individuals, including student-athletes, athletics coaches and staff, University faculty and staff, UA students, alumni, letterwinners, donors, season ticketholders, sponsors and community members in the City of Akron and throughout Northeast Ohio.
A 25-person steering committee helped to develop and distribute an electronic survey, host two public forums on campus, review the responses and draft the plan. The resulting document, found online at GoZips.com/IMPACT2020, defines the new mission statement for Zips Athletics: To have a positive and meaningful IMPACT on the people and communities we serve.
"On behalf of our department, thank you to all of our stakeholders who shared their perspectives about our mission and how we can fulfill it," Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said. "The scope and variety of feedback we received reinforced the impact that Zips Athletics can and does have on our campus and in our community, and thus we chose that word as our theme. We are excited to provide greater visibility and to serve as an even stronger source of pride for The University of Akron."
As part of the University, the Department of Athletics ensured that IMPACT 2020 mirrors Vision 2020, the university-wide strategic plan. Each of Vision 2020’s five "Pathways to Success" is paired with the five IMPACT 2020 Goals:
• Improve Our Academics and
Enhance Our Culture
• Win Championships
• Develop Our Facilities and Resources
• Grow Our Funding
• Strengthen Our Identity and Position
"Athletics is a window to our university and a way for all of us who care about the Zips to come together and celebrate our success," UA President Luis M. Proenza said. "IMPACT 2020 will provide the strategic direction for our athletics department and further align it with our entire campus."
The plan identifies specific, quantifiable benchmarks – including graduation rates, average grade-point average, conference championships won, the development of a master facilities plan, season ticket purchases, fundraising and sponsorship dollars, gameday experience and customer service – toward which Zips Athletics will measure its annual progress. Additionally, each team and unit in the department will be charged with creating its own specific strategies to support these goals, and the progress toward completion will be used in performance evaluations.
"To accomplish our goals and build an even brighter future for our department, we need everyone involved to realize the impact they can have on Zips Athletics," Wistrcill said. "We sought that feedback as we developed our plan, and to ensure that we continue to understand and fulfill our mission, we are continuing to ask all Zips to provide their own IMPACT statements as we launch this plan."
Dozens of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and fans have filmed video testimonials in which they individually describe the impact of Zips Athletics on their lives and the impact they believe that have on Zips Athletics.
Now everyone who cares about the Zips can do the same, as the Department of Athletics is seeking more testimonials describing the IMPACT of Zips Athletics. Submissions can be shared through any of the following mediums:
• A short video e-mailed to AkronAthletics@gmail.com as a .mov attachment
• A written testimonial in the body of an e-mail sent to AkronAthletics@gmail.com
• A post on the feedback form on the IMPACT 2020 feedback web page
• A post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #ZipsIMPACT
For video and written submissions, please include in the body of the e-mail your first and last name and affiliation(s) with Zips Athletics. Submissions may be used by the Department of Athletics in future correspondence and promotions, including on the website.