The 2010-2020 strategic plan of the College of Arts & Sciences:

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (CAS) is the heart of Boston University (BU), a world-class, globally engaged teaching and research university. The University’s 2007 strategic plan, Choosing to Be Great: A Vision of Boston University, Past, Present, and Future, commits BU to strengthening CAS in order to enhance the quality of the university as a whole—its faculty, undergraduate and graduate programs, research, and global presence.

The Mission Of Boston University’s College Of Arts & Sciences (CAS) is to nurture the discovery, creation, transmission, and application of knowledge and understanding across the humanities and the social, natural, and computational sciences. This mission applies to all of the College’s members, from the most decorated senior scholars to our matriculating under- graduates, and unifies our three great core tasks of undergraduate education, graduate education, and pioneering research.

At the undergraduate level, CAS is Boston University’s standard bearer for the liberal tradition in education. Liberal education demands that students acquire a breadth and depth of knowledge, along with the fundamental intellectual and academic skills, that prepare them for a life of learning and intellectual enlightenment. With respect to research and graduate education, CAS strives to be a world leader in leading-edge discovery and the preparation of future scholars, scientists, and academics.

Fundamental Commitments

We are proud to carry forward the ideals of the 1869 Boston University Charter that boldly dedicated us to encourage the pursuit of learning in the liberal arts and sciences regardless of race, gender, creed, class, or religion, and to carry forward the goals of the 2007 BU Strategic Plan. Refreshed and adapted to CAS’s mission, our fundamental commitments are:

CAS’s breadth and diversity are its strengths, but they also pose challenges. The College’s academic structures must be flexible as disciplines change, merge, separate, or disappear. We seek to achieve leadership in all that we do by supporting the strengths for which we are known and by supporting new directions that build on these strengths. New initiatives must be conceived to take advantage of opportunities, bearing in mind realistic assessments of our likely success and sustainability. We seek to strike appropriate balances among the diverse missions of the College and BU. And we will make periodic critical evaluation of our programs in terms of progress, impact, and value, being clear-eyed about our limits.

The heart of CAS—and the key to its future success—is its faculty. For that reason, CAS is committed to recruiting and nurturing the careers of faculty members who are world-class scholars, researchers, and educators. We will hire within a context of long-term priorities at the department, College, and University levels. We will support faculty careers by developing an effective formal mentoring program that is embedded in a general culture of critical encouragement. We will seek to marshal the resources needed to support those faculty careers through professorships, research support, and other professional development opportunities. We will extend appropriate career support to all classifications of faculty.

Undergraduate education is the bedrock on which a university operates. As the liberal arts and sciences college of BU, CAS is committed to serving not only the students who pursue their degrees in this College, but all BU undergraduates who depend on CAS for developing foundational academic skills and completing general education and other critical pieces of their education. We will seek to develop the highest standards of teaching at all levels and provide new opportunities for research and experiential learning. We will continue to improve academic and career advising and expand the CAS First-Year Experience and other programs designed to increase student engagement and success.

First-class doctoral programs across the humanities and social and natural sciences are essential to maintain a major research university. In order to achieve this, the Graduate School must determine which programs have, or are close to obtaining, the breadth and depth of quality that will earn them stable national and international recognition, and develop strategies for ensuring that the faculty in those programs maintain them at the highest level of quality. Attracting the best students will depend on increasing the number and competitiveness of fellowships and other graduate support available. We will also sustain a limited number of high-quality master’s degrees, including professional programs in International Relations.

CAS is committed to expanding its research accomplishments and reputation by providing better infrastructure and organizational support for scholarship; identifying obstacles to progress in research and seeking solutions; reviewing existing research centers and institutes for establishing priorities for support; creating appropriate new research centers and institutes that will advance our research mission; and increasing undergraduate participation in research. We will reposition the BU Humanities Foundation to be a College-wide center for humanities scholarship.

CAS is committed to finding ways to connect what the College does as a leading research and education center to the City of Boston and New England, taking advantage of our location as a laboratory for learning and teaching. CAS faculty and students already are involved in many community outreach activities, but we will introduce more structure and visibility to our connections with the community, creating a stronger framework for faculty and student engagement. International and global studies have long been central to the research and teaching of almost all CAS humanities and social science departments and programs, as well as some natural sciences departments and programs. CAS will deepen its commitment to language learning, interdisciplinary area studies, international studies, faculty and student engagement around the world, and collaboration with BU’s high-quality study abroad programs.

CAS will continue to manage its resources carefully to address critical needs by clustering services and looking for opportunities to share solutions for efficiency. We will seek solutions to our greatest infrastructure challenges, including seeking critical improvements to teaching and research laboratory spaces, technology, and other facilities, without which we cannot reach our goals.

CAS will build wider and stronger connections with our alumni to our mutual benefit, providing our alumni with lifelong opportunities for continuing education, development, and community, and ensuring that the Boston University community continues to grow and flourish. CAS will strengthen ties to its alumni through regular communication and special programs for enjoyment and continuing education in the Boston area. Through these efforts, the College will leave no doubt in the minds of its alumni that supporting Boston University and its students and faculty through its research and teaching programs is a worthwhile investment in the future.

Creating Our Future—The Next Five Years

Our mission, values, and commitments are clear. We know our direction for the future. What we accomplish depends on coordinated and thoughtful efforts to shape our everyday decisions according to the framework we have set, and on our ability to attract significant new resources.

Download the Strategic Plan