A view of a sidewalk on the tree-covered Mall on Penn State University Park campus in fall.

Introduction

This document articulates The Pennsylvania State University’s institution-wide strategic plan for the ten calendar years comprising 2016 through 2025.

This comprehensive plan, in which we identify our vision at a macro level and set a course for where we are headed, includes input from and work by a wide range of stakeholders, including trustees, faculty members, undergraduate and graduate students, staff members, academic and administrative leaders, and alumni. University-level planning was also informed by the strategic plans of each college, campus, and major administrative unit. Especially pivotal to the planning process were the energy, expertise, and insights of Penn State’s University Strategic Planning Council and the Implementation Oversight Committee — inclusive bodies charged by the President and chaired by the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Imperatives outlined by President Barron upon his arrival in 2014, ideas developed in the unit planning process, and opportunities identified by numerous committees regarding institutional priorities and operations formed the plan’s groundwork — and substantial, constructive feedback was solicited and received throughout the planning and implementation cycles from numerous constituencies through multiple mechanisms. All feedback was carefully considered as the plan evolved.

In 2019, the strategic plan oversight committee began an assessment of the institutional strategic plan progress to date by the thematic priorities, supporting elements, and foundations. Looking to 2025, all those learnings guided revisions to the plan. This document contains those updates.

Ultimately, the notion of strategic planning—especially for a university—is not a static, specific-goal-driven process. We must be adaptive, using real-time information and developments as they become available to inform and guide us in the most effective direction for the University. This plan purposely does not identify specific initiatives to undertake or define metrics to measure success. These, along with detailed objectives and action items, will emerge and evolve during University-wide implementation. We expect these metrics to interact between the unit level plans and the institutional plan. Implementation ultimately will require understanding how specific efforts across departments, colleges, and other units align with the overarching strategies articulated herein. The strategic plan will be implemented through the work of the budget units, the strategic plan seed grants, signature initiatives, and the work of the strategic planning committees.

This plan begins with a reaffirmation of Penn State’s mission as the Commonwealth’s land-grant University. Core institutional values are stated, followed by an articulation of foundations that will support the plan’s implementation. Five thematic priorities follow—emerging strategic areas of emphasis where Penn State has identified significant opportunities to achieve enduring, positive impacts, but not to the exclusion or minimization of other important endeavors. Supporting elements identify areas in which operational attention will be required to achieve the plan’s vision.