Announcement of University-wide Strategic Planning Process; Appointment of Strategic Planning Task Force

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Essential to the long-term growth and evolution of any major research university is a strategic plan that establishes a vision for the future and a set of measurable goals and objectives to help guide decisions on institutional investments and activities. As Boston University looks ahead to the next decade, we are developing such a vision – one that builds on the success of our previous 2007 strategic plan, Choosing to Be Great, and its 2014 update. The new vision will establish a set of commitments that align with our mission and values and clearly articulate our aspirations as a global research university.

I write today to announce the launch of this planning effort and the appointment of the Strategic Planning Task Force. The planning effort will begin with a series of forward-looking conversations that will provide numerous opportunities for all members of our community to engage and provide input into the development of a set of institutional priorities for Boston University over the next 10 years. Central to the success of this effort will be your voice, ideas, and critical insight for how BU can continue to grow and lead in a competitive, rapidly changing environment. In the weeks to come, you will be receiving communications inviting your participation through a variety of forums and listening sessions. Please be on the lookout for these announcements, and please plan to join us for at least one of these sessions.

Leading the strategic planning process, as President Brown shared in his April 25, 2018, letter to the University, will be a Task Force of faculty and staff from across the University. As University Provost and Chief Academic Officer, I will serve as Chair of the Strategic Planning Task Force, and I am pleased to announce an outstanding group of faculty and staff who will serve as members. The full Task Force membership is listed below. More information on the Task Force and its work over the current academic year can be found on the new Strategic Planning Task Force website.

Together with the input of the community, the BU Strategic Planning Task Force will be charged with developing a vision and set of actionable priorities for Boston University over the next decade. The charge to the Task Force includes the following:

  1. Work collaboratively and in consultation with faculty, students, and staff across the University to develop and create a set of institutional priorities that position BU to lead in a competitive, rapidly changing environment;
  2. Research and review the strategic planning documents and best practices of peer and peer-plus institutions that have recently completed this process;
  3. Gather ideas and input from the University’s stakeholders – faculty, students, staff, alumni, and other constituents;
  4. Drawing upon all of the information and data that are available, draft a report that lists a set of recommendations and actionable, attainable commitments for the University over the next 10 years.  The report should answer the three questions posed by President Brown in his April letter:
  • How should we educate Boston University students to live, succeed, and lead in this changing world?
  • What will Boston University’s role be—through our research, scholarship, and creative work—in shaping our society as demographic and technological changes occur?
  • How do we best organize the University to execute on the commitments that come from our answers to the first two questions and thereby optimize our value to our students and society?

It is my hope that the Task Force will complete its report by summer 2019. Once the Task Force report is complete, it will be circulated to the entire University community. We will then synthesize the key elements of the report and prepare – in alignment with a financial strategy for achieving the goals – a succinct set of priorities for ratification by the Board of Trustees.

I would like to thank, in advance, the members of the Task Force for their service. I likewise want to thank you for your active involvement and voice in this important conversation as we embark on this effort and work to guide Boston University to new levels of excellence. We look forward to being in touch with you and to seeing you at one of the upcoming listening sessions.

Boston University Strategic Planning Task Force


Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer


George Annas, William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor; Director, Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights, School of Public Health

Evan Apfelbaum, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Questrom School of Business

Emelia Benjamin, Professor of Medicine and Associate Provost for Faculty Development, School of Medicine; Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health

Margrit Betke, Professor of Computer Science, College of Arts & Sciences; Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Thomas Bifano, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering; Director, BU Photonics Center, College of Engineering

John Connor, Associate Professor of Microbiology, School of Medicine

Daniel Dahlstrom, John R. Silber Professor of Philosophy, College of Arts & Sciences

Josée Dupuis, Professor and Chair of Biostatistics, School of Public Health

Roscoe Giles, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

Kimberly Howard, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology, Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

Swathi Kiran, Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences, College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College

Kim McCall, Professor and Chair of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences

Patricia O’Brien, Associate Provost for Budget & Planning

Gary Sheffer, Sandra R. Frazier Professor of the Practice of Public Relations, College of Communication

Katharine Silbaugh, Professor of Law, School of Law

Andrew Soares, Associate Vice President, Internal Audit & Advisory Services

John White, Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Harvey Young, Dean, College of Fine Arts


Deidre Fisher, Project Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Provost

Announcement of University-wide Strategic Planning Process; Appointment of Strategic Planning Task Force – 10.9.18