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Update on Drexel's 2020-2030 Strategic Plan

April 2020

President John A. Fry, Drexel UniversityOver the past few weeks, we have come together as a community to respond to unprecedented challenges, and each of you has been instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition and continued operation to deliver high-quality instruction to our students, for which we should all be proud.

While this adjustment has been our major focus, we have continued to move ahead with development of a strategic plan to ensure the long-term health and competitiveness of the University through our Executive Planning Committee (EPC).  The work of the EPC builds upon a year-long pre-planning process drawing from the expertise of more than 80 faculty and professional staff, to examine Drexel's market position and make recommendations across four key strategic areas: Retention, Academic Resource Planning, Institutional Effectiveness and Thinking Forward. This process was informed by data and was designed to launch the strategic planning now underway.

As you'd expect, the COVID-19 response has required us to rethink certain elements of this strategy and we are now focused on both short-term priorities, particularly ensuring our community's health and safety and productive learning experiences for students during these unprecedented circumstances, while continuing to create strategies that position Drexel for long-term success.  These two processes are closely connected, and we are developing strategies that ensure University excellence both today and into the future.

As you may recall, the EPC is charged with creating a strategic plan over the coming months which will provide a framework for University decision-making over the next decade. To guide this effort, the EPC has developed a working mission, vision and set of goals as pillars to support the plan.  These are preliminary focus areas, and both specific wording and our broad direction may change as the process moves forward and more input is received, but we believe this provides a useful starting point.

Mission

Drexel University is an urban research university that unites academics, industry and community to address society's most pressing challenges through immersive experiential learning, interdisciplinary research and creative activity.  We prepare graduates to become purpose-driven professionals and agents for positive change in a dynamic and complex world

Vision

To create, disseminate and leverage knowledge with our partners, providing solutions for our world

Strategic goals

  • Grow basic and applied research that generates new knowledge and impactful solutions.
  • Deliver agile curricula responsive to rapidly changing societal needs.
  • Provide an array of engaging, immersive learning experiences that prepare students to lead purposeful and positive lives.
  • Leverage Drexel's unique academic design to serve as a national model for reshaping the relationship of universities to external partners.
  • Engage community partners to contribute responsible, sustainable solutions that improve the quality of life in the region and beyond.

The EPC will explore how to achieve these goals by identifying specific measures for success and accountability, with special attention given to how enabling factors like multiple learning platforms, enrollment, talent attraction and retention, funding strategy, organizational processes and culture, can help make our aspirations a reality.

As part of this effort, we sought input from faculty and professional staff earlier this year via survey, and we have been using this feedback to guide conversations within the EPC. We will share the results of that survey and an additional survey later this month. Unfortunately, large-scale feedback gatherings, including planned Community Conversations, won't be possible given current health and safety precautions. However, we plan to gather additional community feedback to inform the process through alternate means and are in the process of planning how to best facilitate gathering input.  We will reach out to the community in the coming weeks to ensure that your voices continue to be heard.  Originally expected to be completed by September, the strategic plan is now targeted to be released by the end of 2020 in order to give the EPC additional time to adjust to these new circumstances, build more community feedback and incorporate what we're learning in real time about the evolving higher education landscape.

We expect the long-term planning process to both learn from and inform the short-term adjustments required to respond to the dynamic current landscape, where we expect our demonstrated agility will be an asset. As a nimble and resilient institution, we view this challenge as an opportunity to innovate and position ourselves for competitive advantage. Seeing how successful the Drexel community has been in adapting to the COVID-19 crisis gives us confidence that we can be a national leader in integrating online and face-to-face learning and developing life-sustaining research and clinical interventions.

I look forward to providing further updates, and, as always, please let us know if you have questions or need more information in the interim.

Sincerely,

John Fry
President