This SWOT analysis builds on the Environmental Assessment and on the strategic planning discussions led by President White for the University of Illinois.
The UIS Strategic Planning Committee discussed SWOT specifically at two of its meetings, one in March 2005 and one in October 2005. It discussed strengths and weaknesses relative to our competition and in doing so, first identified who our competitors are. So this analysis begins with a list of competitors identified in the two meetings, in feedback from others at UIS, and in conversations among committee members.
Like the president’s list for the University of Illinois, some of the SWOTs here overlap and some are contradictory; yet they form the basis for a thoughtful
discussion about the future of UIS. Selected competitive variables are compared in Appendix B and Appendix C.
Major competitors, on-campus programs:
Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Western Illinois University, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois College, Northern Illinois University, Bradley, and McKendree.
Major competitors, online programs:
University of Phoenix Online, University of Maryland University College, SUNY Learning Network, Arizona Universities Network, UMassOnline, Michigan State,
Penn State World Campus, Stanford, University of Texas System, University of Wisconsin Extension.
- U of I name
- location in state capital
- small size
- full-time faculty teach most classes, and there is a strong bond and a high level of interaction between faculty and students
- expertise in teaching non-traditional students
- comprehensiveness, quality, and growth of online education
- accessibility – day, night, online formats
- interdisciplinary and experiential education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels
- Capital Scholars Honors Program as a model of an integrated honors curriculum in a living-learning community
- Faculty service to the university and the larger community.
- underfunding in many departments and programs
- lack of financial support for faculty Scholarship
- thin on cultural/racial/ethnic diversity
- declining enrollment from the mid- to late-1990s, followed by uneven patterns of growth
- understaffing at many levels
- inadequate resources for recruitment, retention, advising, and marketing – all the things needed to recruit and retain students
- lack of infrastructure – including physical, financial, and human resources; inadequate capital funds to support all that we want to do
- underdeveloped campus life and facilities
- not enough undergraduate degree programs
- continuing education for intellectual enrichment and for people of all ages
- online opportunities worldwide
- downtown presence – for classes and a residential center for graduate students/interns
- opportunity to build an undergraduate experience using the best practices from throughout the country
- tap into the health care industry, which is growing in Springfield with two major hospitals, a medical school, and only the second state-created Medical District in Illinois
- more conversations and partnerships with local employers – those in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors – so that our students are more appealing to them
- partner with the University of Illinois in “unlimited university” online initiative
- educational opportunities related to Lincoln and tourism
- international and off-campus study and exchange programs
- becoming a leader in interdisciplinary and integrated learning
Threats to UIS:
- reduced public funding of higher education in Illinois
- risk of losing prominent faculty and staff for genuinely better opportunities at other universities or locally
- growing competition from nearby public universities and small privates in central Illinois
SWOT analysis is a vital strategy applied in an effort to realize Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats of either an organization or individual. In the business context, this strategy enables a business to discover its strong and weak points, thus enabling it to survive both the internal and external forces. Therefore, this research examines the meaning and further, elaborates its basic components as applied in the analysis of enterprise.
Strength is considered as a positive internal characteristic of an organization, whether intangible or tangible. It is that attribute that is within the control of the business organization. A business that uses an effective SWOT analysis must know its strengths. Such knowledge is obtained through the business determining what it does exceptionally well and the resources the business owns. For instance, strength can be skills and reputation of workers, assets of the firm, the advantages that the firm enjoys over its competitors, and the general attributes that extend competitive advantage to the firm.
According to Stanley, weaknesses are described as a firm’s internal attributes which are negative in nature and are responsible for denying an enterprise a competitive advantage over the other firms. In order to favorably compete in the market, a business must improve these negative aspects. Stanley argues that a firm might require identifying the factors that deter it from gaining competitive advantage. Further, it may require understanding the vital elements that would be lacking in comparison to its competitors and determining whether the business is located in a strategic place in the market.
Böhm suggests that external and attractive elements which give hints on expected prosperity of a business enterprise are its opportunities. These positive elements can be detected by way of identifying the attractive factors that a business can benefit from in the market. In addition, external factors for any form of growth in the market are part of opportunities.
In Böhm’s, threats are external factors that an enterprise has no control over, which have the negative ability of putting the business or its strategic plans at risk of failure. The only benefit that threats offer businesses is the fact that success can be realized by responding to threats with effective problem-solving and planning. Threats are seen as the strong competitors in the market and are factors that reduce the profits of a business. Further, the introduction of new goods or services that tend to make the products of a business less popular in the market can be treated as a threat.
An effective SWOT analysis helps a business give emphasis to its strengths, improve on weaknesses take advantage of the opportunities present and avoid threats. This analysis is vital in the formulation of business strategies that majorly work towards achieving competitive advantage in the market through understanding of the internal and external factors within the structure of competitors.