As work continues on Penn State’s new strategic plan, Nicholas Jones, Penn State’s executive vice president and provost, has been sharing some of its key points with the University community.
Jones has discussed the plan and its evolution during several recent events, including a May 5 seminar sponsored by the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment and the May 8 Board of Trustees meeting.
Jones cautioned that the strategic plan, which will serve as the University’s roadmap from the 2015-16 academic year to 2019-20, is still a working document, but moving closer to completion.
Five areas of priority form the heart of the strategic plan: transforming education and access to it; embracing and facilitating cultural awareness and expression; enhancing and promoting health; managing and stewarding resources; and leveraging and maximizing the utility of digital assets.
“These five thematic areas of focus embody the strengths and opportunities that emerged from Penn State’s two-year, broadly participative strategic planning process,” the provost said.
On education and access, Jones said, “Penn State will seize the opportunity to use its size, scope, reach, intellectual capital and resources to transform higher education, making it accessible to all sectors of society, and thereby making an indelible mark on the Commonwealth, the United States and the world.”
Regarding embracing our institutional cultural strengths, he said the University will leverage and bolster its leadership in the arts and humanities. “Achieving this goal will require broadening students’ cultural knowledge and awareness, strengthening the arts and humanities by investing in key programs and promoting Penn State as a cultural destination.”
On health, the provost said, “Penn State will harness its formidable set of health-related resources to position itself as a leader in promoting the quality of life through personalized health. Achieving this goal will require Penn State to become a leader in interdisciplinary research on personalized health; to create innovative, interdisciplinary and inter-professional graduate and post-graduate programs; build health-related partnerships within Pennsylvania and elsewhere; and improve our own community’s health.”
The plan’s fourth strategic priority, managing and stewarding resources, addresses some of society’s greatest challenges.
“Penn State will lead in the creation of comprehensive solutions to the fundamental challenges of providing safe and abundant water, clean and accessible energy and plentiful and nutritious food, in an economical and sustainable manner that respects, protects and adapts to the environment for future generations,” Jones said.
With the plan’s final priority focused on digital technology, he said the University will prepare students for succeeding in the digital age and use digital extension to foster economic prosperity and community health across Pennsylvania and beyond. “Achieving this goal will require building a digital infrastructure and culture that transcends traditional academic boundaries, facilitating the transformation of learning, driving regional economic development and establishing Penn State as the global leader in digital discovery and innovation.”
Jones said the plan’s development has been guided by President Eric Barron’s six imperatives, which also are incorporated into all aspects of the plan.
“Underpinning the planning process are foundational principles that drive everything the University does, and are imperatives for everyone and every part of Penn State,” Jones explained. “We are committed to enabling access to education, engaging our students, embracing and serving a diverse world, enhancing global engagement, driving economic development and investing toward a sustainable future.
“This plan represents Penn State’s blueprint for the future, articulating not only our institution’s mission, vision and values, but also our core principles and imperatives, strategic priorities and supporting efforts that will enable Penn State to thrive as we conclude the second decade of the new millennium,” he said.
Work will continue on the plan, which is slated for completion later this year.