The Rutgers University–New Brunswick Strategic Plan

December 12, 2014

Members of the Rutgers–New Brunswick Community:

With thanks for all the contributions so many of you have made to its development, I am pleased to report that the Rutgers University–New Brunswick Strategic Plan has been completed.  On Tuesday I presented the final draft of the plan—a significant revision of the draft plan that I shared with you in September for your feedback—to the Board of Governors’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee. With the committee’s acceptance of the document, it has been posted on the strategic planning website as a PDF (please visit and will be available in printed form in January.

Our plan, which includes approximately 40 initiatives proposed directly by members of the New Brunswick community in response to my call for proposals this past spring, sets a path for Rutgers–New Brunswick to build on its academic strengths in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Just as important, it commits us to substantive improvements in the student experience. As the plan states, we reject the false dichotomy that a large public university cannot be both research-intensive and student-centered.

The plan lays out exciting initiatives organized under the five critical priorities identified in our strategic planning process: a strong academic core, faculty and staff excellence, a rewarding student experience, a vibrant and inclusive culture, and growing public prominence.  Equally important are the initiatives we will pursue to advance the five integrating themes President Barchi outlined in the University Strategic Plan: diversity and culture, health and wellness, innovation and sustainability, citizenship and leadership, and creative expression.

The final plan reflects a restructuring and revision of the original draft, as well as the inclusion of more than a dozen additional initiatives recommended by the Rutgers University–New Brunswick community this fall. Among them are:

  • A task force to consider a foreign language requirement for undergraduates;
  • An annual Chancellor’s Professorship in the Arts and Humanities;
  • Programs to assist graduate students with academic writing  and career development;
  • Expansion of opportunities for international service learning and international research;
  • Use of selected buildings as living laboratories for sustainability;
  • A consortium for the study of diversity and culture in the Americas; and
  • Expansion of the charge to the Task Force on the Future of Rutgers–New Brunswick to include both short-term tactics to address immediate problems and a long-term vision for embracing new structures, technologies, teaching methodologies, funding models, and research and outreach opportunities.

The plan also affirms that as we seek new collaborative programs, we recognize that the fundamental academic strength of Rutgers–New Brunswick is the high quality of our core disciplines.

Implementation of the strategic plan will begin in January. The limits of our university resources dedicated to implementation will mean that we will, in some instances, have to reduce the budget or scope of initiatives from what was originally proposed. Nevertheless, I am confident that these projects will strengthen our academic profile, better serve our students, and help move Rutgers more fully into the ranks of the nation’s leading public universities.

I look forward to working with you to implement this community-driven vision for Rutgers–New Brunswick, and I again thank the members of the Strategic Planning Coordinating Committee and all those faculty, staff, and students who offered proposals, input, and feedback throughout the process.


Richard L. Edwards, Ph.D.

Chancellor, Rutgers–New Brunswick