As you know, since September we have been working on a two-year extension of our strategic plan. Based on input from across the Suffolk community over the past five months, we drafted a revised plan intended to guide our work through 2019. I am very pleased to report that plan was approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting this past Friday. In other words, we have a plan: Positioning Suffolk University for the Future: 2017-2019.
Suffolk is a vibrant institution with many, many strengths, but, like most other universities, we also face significant challenges. We need to position ourselves not only to meet those challenges, but also to excel in what is a hyper-competitive higher education marketplace. In short, we don’t have the luxury of waiting or resting in place. And for that matter, we don’t want to, as this University has a history and a culture of embracing challenge and opportunity.
The revised plan is rooted in its predecessor but also moves us in new and clear directions intended to lay the foundation for our long-term success. It was developed with input from a steering committee made up of administrators representing all parts of the University and faculty members from all three schools. We met with and solicited feedback from representatives of all three student government associations as well as University trustees. We gained important insight from surveys that went to all employees and from numerous small-group feedback sessions. That input resulted in significant changes to the plan, including areas of emphasis. Here are some highlights.
This strategic plan, reorganized by major functional areas of the University, is tied directly to our annual and multi-year budget model.
The plan affirms our commitment to opportunities both at home in Boston and around the world. It calls for expanding partnerships and experiential learning opportunities in Boston that will support and benefit our students. At the same time, it puts a strong emphasis on international enrollment and recruitment as well as programs and experiences that enhance a global perspective. That includes a pilot program for four-year degrees at the Madrid campus starting next fall along with more short-term international travel programs for Boston-based students.
It calls for expanding the number of doctoral level programs that we offer and elevating our profile regionally, nationally, and globally, including through a focus on national rankings. The plan also embraces our ability to respond to student and industry needs with new degree programs and courses linked to market demand. And it underscores the importance of career outcomes and career development.
The strategic plan extension calls for broad investments in our human capital and acknowledges the financial, logistical, and facility support needed to maximize our success. And it strongly supports our teacher-scholar model.
It emphasizes many areas that are critical to our future, including enrollment, retention, diversity, fundraising, facilities, partnerships, marketing and communications, and others.
In short, the plan is designed to help us embrace challenges and opportunities ahead and excel in doing what we do best—delivering an exceptional educational experience to students from Boston, the region, the nation, and around the globe.
I am excited at the prospect of working with the campus community on plan implementation. University leaders at every level will be speaking with their teams about next steps, and I encourage all of you to read the revised plan, which may be found on the Strategic Plan website.
Beyond approving the revised strategic plan, the Board of Trustees took other important actions at its meeting last week. Bill Popeleski, an alumni trustee from the Sawyer Business School, was elected to the board as a new charter trustee (see the news story). Upon the recommendation of the appropriate dean and the acting provost, the Board took action on a range of degree and program recommendations.
And last but certainly not least, the Board of Trustees approved a slate of tenure and promotion candidates. A more detailed announcement on those appointments may be found in this week’s edition of Inside Suffolk, but I want to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every successful candidate. You have achieved a significant milestone, and Suffolk is very fortunate to count you as members of this community. I am also pleased to announce that for the first time in our history, newly tenured and promoted candidates will be invited to a celebratory dinner with the Board of Trustees in April, a dinner that we intend to make an annual event.
Marisa J. Kelly