case western reserve university

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Our Strategic Plan: FORWARD THINKING

A New Era for Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is an institution with an impressive history and even greater potential.

Four decades ago our predecessors recognized the power of partnership in orchestrating the federation of Western Reserve University and the Case Institute of Technology. Since then, many faculty and students have seized opportunities available through collaboration. Too often, however, their achievements have emerged from ad hoc alliances and individual initiative.

With this strategic plan, we begin a new era at Case Western Reserve University — one where we commit to harnessing all of our strengths in a coordinated way.

Modern research universities share a common mission: to solve society’s greatest challenges, and answer its enduring questions. Each one brings unique assets and experiences to that task. The success of our strategic plan demands that we identify and appreciate the aspects of our institution that distinguish it from all others.

For the past nine months, hundreds of constituents have participated in a wide-ranging process designed to develop both an overarching university plan and individual ones for the college and each school. The effort has involved community leaders, alumni, students, staff and faculty – all of whom have shown enormous enthusiasm for the future of Case Western Reserve University. We take pride in our accomplishments, yet share the belief that we are capable of so much more. This document details precisely where we want to focus our considerable talents, and the progress we expect to achieve.

Case Western Reserve University is a comprehensive academic institution, and will provide the breadth of outstanding programs essential to every great research university. In outlining distinct priorities, however, we demonstrate our commitment to new forms of excellence. Through concentrated efforts we will realize unprecedented advances — both for our university, and for society at large.

Our four key strategic academic alliances are:

  1. Energy and Environment
  2. Human Health
  3. Culture, Creativity and Design
  4. Social Justice and Ethics

We selected these areas after a review of our existing academic strengths and areas of common interest across the University. By elevating them, we commit to achieve prominence as an institution known for exemplary scholarship in these realms. The plan that follows describes our priorities in detail. Just as important, it provides context for the kind of community we seek to become.

We will foster an environment in which we:

  1. Nurture the potential of every constituent;
  2. Deepen and broaden our understanding of the world; and
  3. Demonstrate accountability and transparency in all that we do.

Our plan not only articulates these principles, but also describes the specific steps we will take to fulfill all of our goals. Moreover, it details specific metrics we will use to chart our progress. We will report annually on our results.

From this moment forward, every major new initiative and expenditure will face a threshold question: Does it advance our strategic plan? By committing to these ideas, we acknowledge a basic reality: No university, no matter how wealthy, can be all things to all people. Instead, we will invest strategically in those realms where we are most likely to achieve distinction, even as we fulfill our essential mission. This focus will enable us to move far more quickly toward those imperatives we as a community have decided are most important, and in so doing, raise our academic stature overall.

Case Western Reserve University must be one of a handful of top urban research universities in the United States, and considered among the best institutions of higher education in the world.

By following this plan, we will measurably advance the University. Five years hence, Case Western Reserve University will enroll students of measurably higher quality and attract significantly larger research investments. Our constituents will report markedly improved levels of satisfaction with all manner of campus support and services. Our alumni will participate more actively in the life of the University. And we will realize concrete gains in relevant measures of academic quality both for the University and its individual schools and departments.

Our campus is already full of faculty renowned in their fields and revered by their students. By executing this plan, we will create an environment where collaboration contributes to discovery and understanding in extraordinary ways. Our scholarship will demand attention from peers, policymakers and prospective students. The dynamism and imagination in our teaching will prepare graduates to become leaders in an increasingly complex global society. We will, in short, become an institution that achieves the remarkable possibilities inherent in the 1967 federation, one with a powerful sense of purpose that inspires every member of our community.

President Barbara R. SnyderBarbara R. Snyder
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