Unabridged List and Articulation of Institutional Commitments
1. Remove barriers to entry for immersive and experiential learning.
Experiential learning will be a requirement for all students at Syracuse University and a signature of the student experience. Meeting this commitment means creating appropriate scholarships for study abroad, study away, undergraduate research, community service, and other hands-on learning opportunities. It also means expanding available opportunities, including seeking new locations for study abroad and study away, creating short-term curricular opportunities, and identifying new opportunities for creative engagement, new ways to engage in basic or applied research, and new technology for all members of the campus community.
2. Review curricula across all disciplines to update and ensure compatibility with school/college academic strategic plans and stated values.
All schools and colleges will commence an ongoing faculty-led comprehensive review and updating of curricula in all disciplines to adequately reflect the values and stated commitments in this plan and in school/college academic strategic plans. Additionally, the University will commit to continuous improvement of the First-Year Seminar to help achieve the vision and objectives articulated in this plan.
3. Approach diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) as part of everything we do—a responsibility to be shared by all parts of campus.
Being welcoming to all is a core commitment of the University and a hallmark of this academic strategic plan. To meet this commitment, the University must instill in every member of our community—faculty, students, and staff—a sense of collective accountability and an individual and shared responsibility to live up to our highest ideals and expectations in becoming a truly welcoming and accessible campus. Nurturing a sense of belonging in our departments, residence halls, clubs, and classrooms, the University will dedicate significant effort and resources to building shared ownership and to tracking progress in this crucial and overarching objective. This work will include updating curricula, professional development opportunities, course evaluations, and performance evaluations for faculty and staff.
4. Promote interdisciplinarity: Break down barriers and bridge silos.
To maximize the utility of Syracuse University’s scope and to pursue solutions to the complex challenges of today’s world, the University needs a robust ecosystem of interdisciplinary and cross-campus scholarly and pedagogical engagement. This academic strategic plan challenges campus leadership to confront barriers to interdisciplinary work; find efficiencies related to research infrastructure, public engagement, and student success; and build complex and integrative approaches in classrooms, laboratories, studios, libraries, internships, academic departments, and residence halls. The University must meet the particular challenges of interdisciplinarity, both pedagogically and operationally, in hiring, facilities allocation and development, budgeting, and the administration of everything from lab equipment to grants and contracts. Part of this work also entails a commitment to streamlining tasks, where possible, and eliminating redundant work.
5. Align enrollment and budget strategies with the academic strategic plan.
While the University pays close attention to demographics in enrollment, an admissions process designed to populate the schools and colleges based largely on existing programs and budgets can lead to enrollment outcomes that are not consistent with the University’s changing strategic vision. There are many ways to address this challenge, including adjusting the budget model, raising scholarship dollars to offset financial aid demands on tuition, adjusting subvention between schools and colleges to better reflect the University’s research agenda and enrollment priorities, and creating central resources to advance the strategic objectives outlined in this plan.
6. Go “beyond compliance” in accessibility.
As noted, Syracuse University has existing and emerging research and teaching in the area of disability studies. Beyond that, the University currently has among the most comprehensive accessibility policies of any U.S. university, and the campus has committed to making our digital and physical spaces more accessible than is required by law. Indeed, some of the newest construction on campus—the National Veterans Resource Center, the Burton Blatt Institute office suite, and the recently renovated Schine Student Center—were built with Universal Design standards. Syracuse University will maintain its commitment to full accessibility in software, websites, and other digital properties. In the next five years, the University will align policies, procurement, and architectural designs with high-quality delivery of accommodation services to students, faculty, and staff.
7. Build new pathways and opportunities for post-traditional learners.
Syracuse University has made solid inroads in online and digital learning, with degree and non-degree programs in every school and college. In the next five years, the University will continue to enlarge and evolve credit and non-credit digital offerings, stackable and alternative professional credentials, and place-based flexible and accessible programming, offering pathways to the University to many who would otherwise not be part of our community. Lifelong learning is not only an important part of the future of higher education, it also embodies the University’s long-standing commitment to accessibility, diversity, and opportunity. Every post-traditional program offered by the University will be of the highest quality and reflect this academic strategic plan’s commitment to inclusion and innovation.
8. Solidify the University’s status as an institution known for very high research activity (Carnegie R1 classification) by incentivizing research and creative work in areas of distinctive excellence.
Syracuse University is currently classified as Carnegie R1—meaning it is one of the most research active and productive universities in the United States. It is vital that we retain our reputation as a highly research active institution. Over the next five years, academic leadership—from provost to deans to department chairs—will prioritize the expansion of our research enterprise and use the areas of distinctive excellence to guide investments in research and creative activities. These investments may be in physical space, such as labs or studios, or in equipment, course buyouts, research-related travel, doctoral student fellowships, new staff and faculty hires, or professional development.
9. Better leverage University facilities abroad, across the United States, across New York State, and in the Syracuse area and make them available to all faculty and students.
Currently, study abroad and away locations are almost exclusively used to advance Syracuse University’s undergraduate teaching and learning enterprise. While this use is laudable, these facilities, and the deep community connections developed over decades, can be used to advance our research and creative work as well. Similarly, nationally recognized assets on or near campus, such as the Syracuse University Art Museum, Syracuse Stage, La Casita, and the South Side Innovation Center, can be better leveraged by faculty, staff, and students for teaching, research, and co-curricular activity.
10. Build and nurture meaningful relationships with our local communities.
Engaged scholarship is key to realizing the areas of distinctive excellence, and the University commits to this objective by being present in the community, engaging public policy work, expanding experiential learning and research opportunities, and leveraging the University’s intellectual capital on behalf of local initiatives and issues. This commitment applies to the University’s engagement in Central New York, as well as in all the communities in which we operate around the country and the world. The University will also commit to engaging community partners in program design and delivery, particularly as the region experiences transformative change, including the arrival of Micron Technology and the I-81 redevelopment project.