Students walk in the passage through the IST building on the University Park campus.

Implementation Approaches

Strategic planning strengthens Penn State’s ability to make informed and often difficult choices and to allocate resources according to evidence, judgment, and priorities. The process involves not only reducing unnecessary expenditures, but also finding new sources of revenue. And while this plan purposely articulates strategic goals and not specific initiatives, programs, or topics to accomplish them, we have identified several broad approaches to implementation that support this plan.

Invest thoughtfully based on the University’s mission, foundational principles, strategic priorities, and institutional and unit plans. First and foremost, resource allocation must be aligned with priorities identified in this institutional plan, as well as those in University unit plans. Chief among these is the pursuit of Penn State’s mission as stated in this plan, as well as integration across multiple dimensions of our mission. To the extent that new initiatives or proposed programs support our strategic directions, they can expect to be prioritized for support, both in principle and in resource allocation. Priority also will be given to maintaining robust and critical operational activities, but this plan will drive new investments.

Use planning as the basis for academic and administrative business ventures. Developing a culture of business planning over multiple years for all ventures is crucial for management of resource allocations. Plans should reflect expectations for both sources (as appropriate) and uses of funds, with clear understanding reached on long-term sustainability. As important as it is to launch new programs, it is equally important to have strong governance, management oversight, and a clear appreciation for conditions under which programs will be eliminated and the investment reallocated.

Seek positions of meaningful impact and leadership. Penn State must be active in identifying areas where it can have a maximum positive impact, and emerge as a visible leader. This has very practical implications for not only the magnitude of our work, but also for our ability to attract external resources and investment. Emergence as a leader engenders further opportunities for broader and deeper results.

Understand changing dynamics and their potential implications. Penn State is subject to both internal and external realities that constantly challenge the ways in which we do business. We cannot simply respond to developments that have a potential to impact the University; we must anticipate challenges and constantly position ourselves to respond to them as opportunities.

Leverage existing resources and strengths. There are areas where Penn State still needs to grow its presence and available resources. However, the University is strong in many areas that can now be leveraged to maximum effect. We must ensure that our existing resources are wholly and synergistically utilized. New initiatives will be expected to engage those resources to the extent feasible and reasonable, with additional investment anticipated to complement and leverage them.

Seek innovative partnerships. Despite the massive enterprise that we represent, Penn State simply cannot do it all alone. Partnerships with other universities—as well as with individuals, companies, and other not-for-profit and for-profit organizations—will accelerate innovation and bolster funding for ongoing research and creative activity. Our institution is a magnet, and we must take full advantage of it in order to maximize our potential for impact.