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June 25, 2015

Goals outlined in planning process

Strategic goals have been defined and working groups established as the University’s strategic planning process moves forward.

In his June 19 report to the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher outlined five goals that will help frame the University’s direction over the next five years.

The administration has sought input from the University community over much of the past year to identify Pitt’s strengths and areas for improvement and to define values and strategic priorities. “We have solicited input from every part of the Pitt family that we can identify. We’ve heard from hundreds and thousands of voices in our planning efforts and we will continue to do this as we move forward,” the chancellor said.

“Building on the foundation of the strategic priorities that were established by this board, our mission and our planning framework, which we discussed at the last meeting (see March 5 University Times), we have now added strategic goals and supporting initiatives for those goals that will advance our vision of what this University can be,” the chancellor said.

“We will define our success by our progress toward these goals,” he said.

“Currently we have established working groups that have been tasked to create an implementation plan in the next several months. Over the next year, this implementation plan will be our roadmap for the work that we do and it will establish the metrics that we will use to measure our progress.”

Gallagher enumerated Pitt’s five strategic goals:

• We aspire to be a University that prepares students to live lives of impact through a holistic and individualized approach to learning that engages them inside and outside the classroom.

“We are going to be defined by our students’ success,” the chancellor said.

•  We aspire to be a University that advances the frontiers of knowledge and makes a positive impact on the world by integrating the strengths across disciplines and focusing on areas of great societal need.

• We aspire to be a University that strengthens our communities, from the Pitt community to our region and the world around us, by expanding engagement, enriching connections and embracing a global perspective.

• We aspire to be a University that supports success through a foundation of strong internal culture, a robust capacity to partner, outstanding infrastructure and effective operations.

• We aspire to be a University that embodies diversity and inclusion as core values that enrich learning, scholarship and the communities we serve.

“We are now actively planning on how we will implement these goals by mapping actions within all of our schools, our regional campuses, research centers and our operational units and defining how we will measure our progress,” Gallagher said. “I’m excited by this step and I think it will be an area of activity that we will work together on going forward.”


Gallagher elaborated on next steps in a press conference that followed the board meeting:

“What the strategic plan does at this point is it sets the North Star for the University: It explains the type of University we are aspiring to be,” he said.

“That has to be supported by concrete actions. In the plan already is a set of strategic initiatives: They talk about things we’re going to try to improve in each of those areas. Now what we have to do is map that into all of the organizations that support it. So every school, every operating unit, is now developing implementation plans that look at who’s doing what, what are the deadlines, and how are we going to measure our progress.”

The implementation plans will be brought to the board when it meets in October, he said.

Board of Trustees chair Eva Tansky Blum added that the board plans to map its committee work directly to the strategic plan “so we’re all marching in the same direction here.”


Leaders have been named, but the five working groups — each aligning with one of the goals — are still being populated, David DeJong, vice provost for academic planning and resources management, told the University Times. The groups will be small — each with an upper limit of about eight members from across the University — and broadly consultative, he said.

Juan Manfredi, vice provost for undergraduate studies, will head the working group on advancing educational excellence; Mark Redfern, vice provost for research, will head the working group on research; Rebecca Bagley, vice chancellor for economic partnerships, will lead the group on strengthening communities; Stephen Wisniewski, associate vice provost for planning, will lead the group on foundational strength, and Pamela W. Connelly, associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, will lead the working group on embracing diversity.

The working groups will develop action plans to be presented to leaders in such forums as the Council of Deans and the chancellor’s extended leadership team, as well as to the Board of Trustees.

Much of the action is expected to take place in the units themselves. Individuals within unit-level planning and budget committees will be advancing this institutional plan, DeJong said.

He urged members of the University community to review the plan and contribute their own comments.

DeJong said town hall sessions will be held once the fall term begins. For now, “because it’s summer and the full campus community isn’t here, it’s more of a soft rollout,” he said.

“The goals are set now. The initiatives that support the goals are also set,” he said. “There is opportunity to benefit from continuing input. The initiatives remain on the broad side.”

The strategic plan, “The Plan for Pitt: Making a Difference Together, Academic Years 2016-2020,” can be viewed at

“The whole plan is downloadable,” he said, adding that the community input form on the impact web page remains open for comments.

—Kimberly K. Barlow