Re-envisioning liberal arts education; enhancing the commitment to formation among students, faculty, and staff; bolstering scholarship and research; and expanding connections to Boston and communities around the world are the four pillars of Boston College's new, 10-year Strategic Plan, "Ever to Excel: Advancing Boston College's Mission," announced at University Convocation on Aug. 30.
Initiatives to support the four strategic directions include a new Institute for Integrated Science and Society, the endowment of as many as 100 faculty positions, increased options for interdisciplinary study and collaboration, and upgraded facilities.
“To thrive in the coming decades, Boston College must remain true to its intellectual and religious roots and seek to be the world’s leading Jesuit, Catholic university,” the plan’s introduction states. “These ambitious goals distinguish Boston College from its peers in higher education worldwide, and reflect its desire to work for the transformation of the world.”
The Strategic Plan is the result of a two-year campus self-study initiated by University President William P. Leahy, S.J., and co-directed by Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley and Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead, who led an effort that included faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni.
Specifically, the four strategic directions aim to:
•Re-envision liberal arts education at Boston College by sustained attention to the Core Curriculum, enhancing faculty quality and engagement, and leveraging the strengths of undergraduate programs
•Enhance the University’s commitment to formation among students, faculty, and staff to further Boston College’s mission and strengthen its institutional culture
•Expand support for scholarship and research in keeping with Boston College’s mission to help address complex societal problems and contribute to the common good with a particular focus on the sciences
•Increase the University’s presence and impact in the City of Boston, the United States, and around the globe
“A commitment to rigorous and regular strategic planning has been instrumental in Boston College’s ascendancy over the past half century,” said Quigley. “‘Ever to Excel’ builds on that tradition and positions the University well for the opportunities that the next decade presents. I am thankful to all those colleagues across campus who contributed their ideas and their energy to this process. The resulting document is true to our history and our mission, and gives voice to the hopes and ambitions of our campus community.”
Under the Strategic Plan, the University will continue to strengthen its Core Curriculum — the cornerstone of the University’s liberal arts education — through faculty hiring and development, innovative teaching, and expanded interdisciplinary connections between schools and colleges. It also will assist undergraduate students through the establishment of new minors and by providing students in the professional schools with more curricular options in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences
The University’s distinct Jesuit approach to formation — intellectual, spiritual, and cultural — remains a central focus of BC’s strategic initiatives. The University will make use of existing and new spaces to support formational activities for students, and invest in programs that enable graduate and professional students to take fuller advantage of opportunities related to personal and professional formation. For faculty and staff, new programs will foster engagement with BC’s Jesuit, Catholic mission.
Expansive formation initiatives include enhancing BC’s “culture of care and welcome for all.” The plan calls for an evaluation and strengthening of efforts to support diverse communities on campus and provide care and opportunity for all who study and work at the University.
“To thrive in the coming decades, Boston College must remain true to its intellectual and religious roots and seek to be the world’s leading Jesuit, Catholic university. These ambitious goals distinguish Boston College from its peers in higher education worldwide, and reflect its desire to work for the transformation of the world.”
The plan also places a heightened emphasis on the promotion of scholarship and research, with an eye toward a broad expansion of interdisciplinary work. In addition to providing new classroom, laboratory, and innovation space, the new Institute for Integrated Science and Society will spur the development of new interdisciplinary courses in the natural sciences, mathematics, computer and data science, business, and other areas that will combine elements of technology, entrepreneurship, and engineering. The plan calls for investments in select graduate programs and an expansion of online and hybrid course offerings.
“Ever to Excel” will enable the University to expand its presence and impact in Greater Boston, across the U.S. and throughout the world. The University will strengthen existing partnerships and establish new ones to assist communities in Boston and the surrounding region, and work to extend the expertise of faculty, centers and institutes, and schools and colleges to city and town governments and non-profit groups.
In addition to its enduring commitment to make a Boston College education available to all admitted undergraduate students regardless of financial need, the University also will expand financial aid programs for graduates of selected Jesuit secondary schools to strengthen BC’s connections with the international Jesuit network, as well as attract an increasing number of lay, religious, and priests from around the world to study in Chestnut Hill.
Under the plan, the University’s internationalization initiatives will also come under a more coordinated structure, including an expansion of the undergraduate international studies major with additional faculty and a revised curriculum.
The new, 10-year plan advances a trajectory set over the course of the past decade by the previous Strategic Plan and the University’s landmark, $1.6-billion Light the World campaign, a period which saw BC rise to the top 31 institutions in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and achieve recognition as an “R1” institution – a designation assigned by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to doctoral universities with the highest levels of research activity.
“Since launching the University Strategic Planning Initiative, we have had the opportunity to hear from students, faculty, deans, staff, and trustees through town halls, cross-disciplinary assessment teams, roundtables, alumni leadership events, and board meetings,” said Lochhead.
“These efforts have resulted in a Strategic Plan that presents a compelling direction for the coming decade through a series of important and coordinated initiatives that the University intends to advance. We believe that this plan presents a bold vision for the future, one that will help to leverage the University’s strengths and build upon the momentum that has enabled Boston College to secure its place among the nation’s best universities.”
For information on the University Strategic Planing Initiative, see www.bc.edu/strategicplan.
—Ed Hayward | University Communications