On Oct. 11, the University Board of Trustees approved the Strategic Plan for 2013-18, which outlines UR’s vision for the next five years.
Drafted by President Joel Seligman and Provost and Dean of Faculty Peter Lennie, the plan is a comprehensive framework detailing goals to strengthen UR’s position as a leader in research, implementation of new technologies in the classroom, and predictions for future university expansion abroad.
“I’m very proud of where we are,” Seligman said, adding that the plan acknowledges future challenges in areas such as health care, federally sponsored research, and rising costs of higher education.
The plan also sets benchmarks to further selectiveness in admissions by increasing SAT scores, faculty, applications, and graduation rates. In addition, the plan offers ways to strengthen the wider Rochester community, reiterates a commitment to completing the Capital Campaign, and offers sustainable financial models university-wide.
Throughout the plan, administrators attempted to show concern for future financial burdens, such as those created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the recent federal shutdown.
In response to concerns about the cost of the ACA, Seligman emphasized the resilience of UR throughout the 2008 financial crisis and recession. Despite that financial impact, the last five-year strategic plan was not negatively affected.
“We were able to essentially complete what we hoped to, in some cases early,” Seligman said. “I think is a tribute to the leadership team, the Board, and…the great support we’ve gotten from alumni and friends.”
Chief among the goals of the new Strategic Plan is the creation of an Institute for Data Science.
“This is the top University-wide new initiative,” Seligman said.
According to the plan, the data science program will be comprehensive, including researchers from various campuses affiliated with the University, but it will not focus solely on research.
“This is not just a research initiative,” Lennie said. “There will be big changes in both [graduate and undergraduate education],” adding that one of the obvious ones would be introducing “a new undergraduate major in this burgeoning domain.”
The plan emphasizes the unity of the UR community at large and the constant pursuit of the “Rochester ideal” in research.
“These are the means by which you get to an ever stronger university,” Seligman said.
Schaffer is a member of
the class of 2016.