Students work at easels in an art studio.

Thematic Priorities

This plan highlights five thematic priorities: Transforming Education, Enhancing Health, Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources, Advancing the Arts and Humanities, and Driving Digital Innovation.

These strategic areas of focus embody existing and emerging strengths and opportunities that were identified during Penn State’s planning process. Each represents a breadth and depth of expertise and interest across multiple Penn State units where the University is well positioned (with continued commitment and strategic investment of resources) for profound and measurable contributions. The themes intersect with unit plans and pull from the human capital, infrastructure, and programs they represent, but by focusing on synergistic energy and resources they will enable a previously unimagined Penn State impact.

These areas of focus are not intended to exclude or minimize the importance of the University’s many other endeavors and enterprises, including fundamental and applied research across a variety of disciplines, which remain at the core of our enterprise. Rather, for this particular strategic plan, they are areas of opportunity that we believe merit more attention and investment in the near term. They do not replace or diminish the importance of and investment in any other institutional priorities.

In addition, these thematic priorities are not prescriptive, but visionary. A strategic plan for an academic institution must serve as a consensus-driven beacon for future directions, but without the rigidity that can stifle innovation and the emergence of new and unimagined opportunities. In this plan, that vision is impact, and these themes provide paths to achieving it in selected areas where Penn State has expertise and assets. Interwoven with them are the foundations, which provide a scaffold on which they rest and a common framework for implementation.