The 2011 Northwestern Strategic Plan was unveiled to the public Tuesday, creating the framework for the university’s social and academic development for years to come.
More than 200 students, faculty and staff packed into the Allen Center McCormick Foundation Auditorium to hear President Morton Schapiro and Provost Dan Linzer present the plan.
Broken into four areas of interest – discovering creative solutions, integrating learning and experience, connecting with the community and engaging the world – the plan includes no specific suggestions for the university. Those must come from the university community, Schapiro said.
However, the plan does set the tone for the university’s cultural and academic development in the coming years.
“It’s bold. It's strategic. It's realistic,” Schapiro said. “Everything we say has a chance to succeed.”
The final plan was the result of more than two years of work from 140 members of the Northwestern community, which touches on everything from broadening the university’s footprint in the research community to integrating more experiential learning into the undergraduate curriculum.
“It’s a plan that stitches together the pieces of the university into a cohesive whole,” Linzer said. “We didn’t put an end date on this plan. We want to get as much done as we can.”
Much of the plan focuses on Northwestern’s widespread research in fields like nanoscience, biomedical science, sustainability and the media. Linzer emphasized the goal of continuing to expand in these areas, particularly by globalizing both the university’s research goals and its reach.
“If we don’t do it, who’s going to do it?” Linzer said. “It’s a responsibility we have to accept.”
Experiential learning will be integrated into increasingly modularized curricula, Linzer said. He added that further increasing the university’s cultural and academic diversity pays dividends in not only increasing the breadth of backgrounds on campus, but also the variety of viewpoints from which students and faculty can pursue academic goals.