Rutgers University Board of Governors Adopts Strategic Plan

Rutgers University Board of Governors Adopts Strategic Plan

Ambitious, comprehensive plan to set the university’s direction for the next five years

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The Rutgers Board of Governors today approved the university’s five-year strategic plan – a bold and comprehensive blueprint that will propel Rutgers to the ranks of the nation’s premier public universities.

The strategic plan outlines ambitious aspirations for Rutgers’ future, touching on virtually all aspects of the university – from faculty excellence and the student experience to infrastructure improvements and more aggressive alumni fundraising. The plan also contains a frank assessment of Rutgers’ strengths and weaknesses relative to the university’s peer institutions.

“Rutgers is at a unique moment in time. This strategic plan will enable us to capitalize on this moment and achieve our ultimate goal – to be broadly recognized as one of the nation’s leading public universities,” said Rutgers University President Robert Barchi.

“As we prepare to celebrate Rutgers’ 250th anniversary in 2016, our strategic plan recognizes the university’s many strengths and acknowledges the challenges that we face,” President Barchi added. “We have, in the months ahead, a unique opportunity for change, an opportunity to raise the quality and excellence of the entire university for the benefit of all those we serve – in the classroom, laboratory and studio; in government; in business; and in our communities. This time, more than any other, requires objective analysis, introspective self-reflection and thoughtful, consultative planning.”

The strategic plan follows a series of successes under President Barchi’s leadership, including: the integration of Rutgers with most of the schools, centers, institutes and patient care units that made up the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Rutgers’ entry into the Big Ten and its academic counterpart, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation; and the university’s most comprehensive capital construction program in 50 years, funded in large part by the statewide bond act approved by New Jersey voters in 2012.

“In an era of fiscal constraint and increased demand on higher education, this strategic plan will enable Rutgers to set the right priorities and leverage our resources most effectively,” said Board of Governors Chair Gerald C. Harvey. “The board supports President Barchi’s vision and leadership, and commends the thousands of Rutgers faculty, students, staff and alumni who participated in this collaborative and comprehensive process.”

The strategic plan recognizes the foundational elements that are the basis of Rutgers’ future growth and success. Those foundational elements, such as a strong core and prominence in the science and humanities and the presence of a diverse yet cohesive culture, are coupled with integrating themes that underscore Rutgers’ unique academic strengths and potential and set a direction and context for our strategic priorities.

Building on these critical foundational elements, the plan then lays out strategic priorities that include:

  • Envision tomorrow's university
  • Build faculty excellence
  • Transform the student experience
  • Enhance our prominence

Some highlights of these priorities include:

  • Seeking to expand tenure-track faculty in selected disciplines by a net increase of 150 new appointments over the next five years. 
  • Strengthening graduate programs, while committing to a “rigorous and ongoing” review of these programs. “In an environment of constrained resources we cannot simply add new programs on top of existing ones,” the plan states. 
  • Creating new and cultivating existing first-year honors colleges in Camden, Newark and New Brunswick “tailored to the specific strengths and vision of each campus.” 
  • Conducting a detailed and immediate analysis of the use of new information technology platforms in the delivery of educational programs.
  • Implementing improvements to student programs – from first-year housing assignments to career counseling. Improvements to the student experience will include enhancements to student advising, housing, transportation and logistics.

Finally, the plan presents five integrating academic themes designed to cut across disciplines, coordinate initiatives in the plan and set the stage for new curricular priorities across the university. Those themes include improving health and wellness individually, locally and globally; using innovation, engineering and technology to enhance sustainability; educating and empowering individuals to become effective leaders in a changing world; and other themes.

The strategic plan also emphasizes greater investment in a range of metrics to evaluate the university’s progress, both qualitatively and quantitatively. In the coming weeks, President Barchi will announce a series of priority initiatives to begin implementing key elements of the strategic plan.

The strategic plan can be found at

Using this plan as a guide, the university’s campuses in New Brunswick, Camden and Newark and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) will develop their own strategic plans. The university’s central administration will work with each chancellor during this process to ensure that these plans will be in broad alignment with the plan adopted today by the Board of Governors.

Rutgers University’s last strategic plan was adopted in 1995.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities. The university serves more than 65,000 students on campuses, centers, institutes and other locations throughout the state.