Syracuse University Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy today announced the completion of the development phase of the University’s Academic Strategic Plan, a document designed to serve as a strategic roadmap to guide priorities and institutional decision making in the coming years.

The plan, subtitled “Trajectory to Excellence,” culminates a yearlong, highly collaborative effort to refine the University’s institutional vision in light of current and emerging needs and opportunities, and identify broad University-wide goals that will advance progress toward achieving that vision. The planning effort was led by more than 100 members of the campus community and more than 1,000 sources of feedback from faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni and friends helped inform the process. The plan will serve as a “living plan” with routine assessment of progress toward key objectives, the expectation that new ideas and priorities may emerge as opportunities arise.

“This is an aspirational plan for the University,” says Liddy, who as the University’s chief academic officer served as facilitator for the AcademicScreen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.53.04 PM Strategic Plan Steering Committee. “It sets out a bold vision for where we want to go and what we want to be as a university in today’s rapidly shifting and highly competitive higher education landscape. The plan was developed with input and representation from every University constituency and with a deep appreciation for the fundamental values that unify such a vibrantly diverse campus community.”

Chancellor Kent Syverud announced the academic strategic planning process in June 2014 as the academic portion of the University’s three-pronged Fast Forward Syracuse initiative. “The Academic Strategic Plan will help set our future direction and make the University the best it can be,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “It will be a living and evolving document that will ensure that teaching, learning, research and service, along with a strong undergraduate and graduate student experience, drives everything we do.

“I am so grateful to Provost Liddy and all the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who contributed to this process so far. It was hard work, and I am confident the outcome will be well worth the effort,” concludes Chancellor Syverud.

The Academic Strategic Plan is organized around six overarching themes that are viewed as key to moving the University forward by building on distinctive areas of strength. Within each theme, it identifies goals and potential strategies to achieve those goals. The six thematic areas focus on:

  • promoting an outstanding student experience
  • advancing discovery and research
  • fostering internationalism on campus and beyond
  • expanding the University’s commitment to veterans
  • cultivating and supporting innovation
  • galvanizing institution-wide excellence

As facilitator for the planning process, Liddy oversaw a 28-member Academic Strategic Plan Steering Committee convened in July 2014 by former-Provost Eric Spina, who led the effort through its first five months. The committee, comprising faculty, staff and students, guided the planning process, formulated final recommendations and ultimately developed the final report. In addition, seven working groups, encompassing 93 members of the campus community, conducted focus groups, collected data and compiled preliminary findings and recommendations for the Steering Committee’s consideration.

Campus community input came through open forums, online comment periods, special presentations and a campuswide Day of Conversation in late February, which drew more than 650 attendees. In all, more than 1,300 distinct pieces of feedback were collected and shared with the appropriate working group. An executive summary of the plan was drafted and posted for campus feedback in April; a subsequent draft was reviewed by the University Board of Trustees in May, at which time the board approved moving forward with the full version.

While this marks the completion of the planning process, the University has already begun moving toward implementing some of the recommendations set forth in the plan. An oversight committee, facilitated by Professor and Provost Faculty Fellow Shiu-Kai Chin, Associate Provost Andria Costello Staniec and Assistant Provost Jerry Edmonds, has been formed to recommend priorities to University leadership, develop strategies for achieving goals and assess progress.

Efforts are under way this summer in several key areas, including an expanded focus on internationalization, with a new partnership with the Internationalization Lab of the American Council on Education; and on student academic success, through enhanced student support services in such areas as advising and career counseling.

To read the full text of the plan, go to Academic Strategic Plan: Trajectory to Excellence.

To learn more about Fast Forward Syracuse, which in addition to the Academic Strategic Plan also includes the Campus Framework and Operational Excellence initiatives, go to Fast Forward Syracuse.