Report to the President
The core of the strategic plan for Boston University is embodied in twelve commitments:
- 1. We will realize fully the potential inherent in the combination of liberal arts and sciences in CAS and CGS with professional training and advanced research in the professional Schools and Colleges. Pathways through the core curricula in CGS and CAS should be refined and more clearly articulated to enhance the BU undergraduate experience there and in the professional Schools. To prepare our undergraduates for the demands they will face in the 21st century, we must improve the curricula, academic support services, and multidisciplinary relationships within and among our Schools and Colleges. One BU entails breaking down walls between our best elements in order to encourage the fruitful exchange of ideas and to bring about clear improvements in our students’ verbal and mathematical skills, critical reasoning, knowledge of basic science, and understanding of cultural and religious diversity in the world. We will improve BU’s reputation as evidenced by the excellence of our students and our undergraduate and graduate yields (ratio of offers to acceptances).
- 2. We will sustain and enhance our commitment to excellence in faculty research, scholarship, and teaching. It is our dedication to excellence in the scholarship of the faculty that ensures the quality of our academic programs and a Boston University education.
- 3. We will continue to focus on the excellence of our academic programs, in order to increase BU’s position as one of the very best research universities in the world.
- 4. We will expand, initiate, and promote research and academic programs that have a multidisciplinary significance and have the greatest intellectual merit and potential for public good. BU should become known for the extent to which enriching intellectual collaboration across departments, Schools, and campus boundaries is invited and achieved with minimal duplication. The nature of research is increasingly interdisciplinary, and given our breadth and depth BU is well positioned to make significant contributions in many fields. We must create new synergies between CAS and its sister professional and graduate schools on the Charles River and Medical Campuses.
- 5. We will refine and strengthen our conception of our global commitments. We must do more to engage with a variety of communities in the city of Boston; to internationalize our students, faculty, and studies; and to carefully and strategically extend the BU presence in select countries around the world. Partnerships with the city, corporate relationships, internships, creative professional development for our staff, and technology and knowledge transfer will secure the global and local future of our University. BU should come to represent the very best of Boston to the world and to bring the world to Boston.
- 6. We will actively expand and enrich the on-campus residential and quality-of-life experiences of our students, faculty, and staff. By offering students more time and opportunities for reflection, study, cultural exposure, debate, and service, we can promote their ability to form meaningful connections with other members of the community, to articulate and define their plans for careers and life beyond BU with faculty and professional advisors, and to gain an understanding of the ways research and knowledge may be used on behalf of an improved global society.
- 7. We will pursue changes in our built environment to better serve students, staff, and faculty. Changes will help to define and integrate the campuses, facilitate informal gatherings and study sessions, make the campuses pedestrian- and neighborhood-friendly, and demonstrate bold yet thoughtful architectural ideals to make BU a destination.
- 8. We will work continually to remove unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and transactional frustrations, so that each encounter between a student and the University is successful and personalized.
- 9. We will engage our alumni broadly, involving them in the life, mission, and growth of the University. We view the student experience as a foundation for valued individual and institutional relationships, and we recognize our alumni as potential supplemental teachers, resources, and counselors for each current generation of students. We must ask alumni for their help in strengthening BU and assure them that their input will be taken seriously and used to make a difference. We must also keep alumni informed about our progress and provide them with lifelong institutional, professional, and academic opportunities that will allow them to remain connected to one another, the University, and the world.
- 10. We will make BU one of the best places in Boston to work and learn, by providing recognition and rewards for excellent contributions and advancement opportunities for dedicated and able staff. We should make BU a destination for talented staff who are valued for their service to the University’s educational mission and the faculty and students who work and study here. We should offer our staff and administration the opportunity to continue their education, and provide opportunities for professional advancement to retain qualified staff. BU shall be equitable and inclusive of people of all genders, cultures, orientations, ethnicities, histories, and nationalities as well as socio-economic circumstances.
- 11. We will create a financial plan for excellence. An open conversation among the BU community to articulate our key priorities will be followed by considered financial and capital planning that supports the University’s mission and aims. We are convinced that successful fund-raising campaigns result from successful academic planning, and our first priority is to produce a compelling and shared set of strategies and objectives for building a better BU. Then we can continue to prioritize our ongoing spending in order to unlock resources, fund a greater portion of student financial assistance with non-operating revenue, and reduce our dependence on tuition and outside financial assistance. We will communicate the state and outcome of resource shifts to all members of the University community.
- 12. We will communicate the values of the University and our plans for enhancing Boston University. The communication will be to all our constituencies, especially our students, prospective students, and parents, our alumni and friends, and the city of Boston.
We identified six key priorities which together cover the many aspects of life, learning, and work at Boston University:
- 1. Undergraduate Education
- 2. Graduate Education
- 3. Research
- 4. Faculty
- 5. Student Life
- 6. Administrative Staffing, Services, and Systems
In the sections that follow, our aspirations and concerns for each area are outlined briefly in a few paragraphs of introductory text, followed by a list of general and specific recommendations.