Strategic Planning Effort

Gator Good Slider

Why We Exist: Our Mission

The mission of the Office of the Chief Operating Officer is to support the university’s success through unsurpassed operational excellence. This mission provides a foundation for a range of services designed to meet the needs of the institution under the direction of the COO leadership team:

  • Charlie Lane, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Elias Eldayrie, Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Jodi Gentry, Vice President for Human Resource Services
  • Brian Mikell, Chief Audit Executive (CAE)
  • Lee Nelson, Director, Office of Real Estate
  • Curtis Reynolds, Vice President for Business Affairs
  • Russell Froman, Title IX Coordinator
  • Elizabeth Ruszczyk, Chief Privacy Officer

Where We Are Headed: Our Vision

We seek to put in place exceptional services that facilitate UF’s rise to top ten.

How We Will Get There: Strategic Themes

In evaluating our role and identifying our best contributions moving forward, our commitment to the university—reflected in our goals and objectives— aligns with the strategic themes of:

  • Service excellence
  • High quality infrastructure
  • Strategic alignment of people and resources
  • Partnerships
  • Institutional integrity and risk management

Who We Are: Our Values

Just as the mission of the COO’s area provides a foundation for what we do and why we exist, values clarify and support who we are. We value integrity, responsiveness, people, excellence, and collaboration and are committed to behaviors that demonstrate those values in action:


  • Be honest with self and others
  • Do the right thing every day
  • Make decisions in the best interest of the university


  • Don’t just respond—resolve
  • Demonstrate a sense of urgency to serve
  • Be respectful


  • Communicate effectively and listen to understand
  • Be inclusive
  • Work toward a common purpose

Valuing People

  • Treat everyone with dignity, empathy, and respect
  • Discover the positive with everyone we encounter
  • Appreciate differences and value the input and opinions of others


  • Be accountable—take ownership
  • Go well above “just good” services or products— innovate where possible
  • Be “top 10” in everything we do


The University of Florida’s Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Senior Vice President initiated a strategic planning process in September 2014. The purpose of this planning process was to engage the COO’s management team in the identification of a shared strategic direction. Expected outcomes included a long-term vision for the area as well as goals and objectives for the next 12 to 18 months.

To help support an informed strategic planning process, the management team conducted data gathering and benchmarking to scan the environment, focusing on issues of concern in the areas of economics and funding, society and demographics, competition and quality, and political and legal mandates. Analysis and discussion of these issues helped clarify current state as well as identify issues, events, and trends that could potentially impact operations and the University of Florida more broadly in the future.

In so doing, the following emerged as both commitments and responsibilities of those within the COO area:

Maintain and support the university’s infrastructure

Meeting the university’s current and future needs requires a strategic approach to both growth and maintenance. As the university grows, its existing infrastructure ages. The university’s annual deferred maintenance needs currently exceed $45 million. Attending to deferred maintenance—as well as identifying alternative sources of capital project funding—requires our attention and prioritization.

Cultivate and invest in town/ gown relationships while managing our local impact

The current town/gown stakeholders work hard to communicate and possess a shared commitment to working together for a better community. Innovation Square is an exciting example of what is possible when the university employs its knowledge, research, and capabilities to promote economic development in the community in a way that is consistent with its mission. Recognizing the need to invest in and protect our town/gown relationships is a key to our success.

Provide responsible stewardship of resources as well as innovative approaches when using existing or seeking new funding sources

Along with using the resources with which we are entrusted efficiently and effectively, we must identify and capitalize on new and different types of business models and partnerships as a way to support the university’s need for more economic independence, given today’s world of uncertain government revenues, public debt limitations, and the resulting scarcity of capital for public institutions.

Design and implement workforce planning for both faculty and staff that anticipates and responds to changing needs and demographics

A plan that forecasts (and even shapes) the types of desirable and needed jobs at UF alongside coordinated institutional strategies to effectively recruit and retain employees, cultivate skills, and plan for succession will support our ability to innovate as well as be nimble in a changing demographic and economic landscape.

Maintain a safe and secure institution, with an emphasis on risk mitigation and institutional integrity

Ensuring the university is a safe place in which to learn, work, and live must be our ongoing commitment. The responsibility of gathering, using, and storing sensitive information for patients, students, customers, research participants, and employees must also be of critical concern.

Innovate and leverage technology in the area of service delivery

Advances in technology mean where and how we learn, work, and collaborate is much more flexible—and inclusive. Technology that increases competitiveness in research, improves teaching outcomes, and fosters collaboration will allow us to more effectively support research, teaching, and service.

Implement, manage, and respond to change

The higher education landscape is changing substantially—increasing the demands on higher education institutions to adapt and respond. Moving ahead, the likelihood of new activities and business models being introduced in higher education in response to the factors of change is high. Responding to these demands will impact our ability to effectively deliver services.

Prepare for globalization and competition

Internationalization is critical in all aspects of the university’s programs for research, students, employees, and graduates. The university must pursue programs and policies that enable it to compete successfully in the global economy and to advance the position of Gainesville, Florida, and the nation in the process.