Here’s the Plan (for Pitt): Q&A with Provost Ann E. Cudd


This month, we welcome Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd, who shares her thoughts on her office’s key efforts to support the Plan for Pitt, ways that faculty can remain engaged with the plan, and the pillar where she’s most excited to see growth.

Q: Tell us about a few initiatives coming out of your office that support Plan for Pitt objectives that you think are particularly exciting.

A: There are many — but I will just mention two. The Pitt Success Pell Match Program comes to mind immediately. That initiative — especially with the expansion of the Provost Academy, which is an enriching opportunity for students to get a head start on the learning environment at Pitt through an in-person, project-based academic experience — supports both the objective of creating an inclusive and equitable campus environment and the objective of extending networks and supports to help students graduate on time, secure meaningful employment, and realize early career success. 

The Pitt Success Pell Match Program is working in truly impressive and transformative ways to help ensure that an excellent Pitt education is accessible for admitted students and their families. We continue to be laser-focused on taking active steps to address financial obstacles so that our students can realize their professional and personal aspirations — and we now have the data to show that this program not only lowers barriers to access and improves retention, but also lessens the debt burden our students will face when they graduate. 

I am also very excited about the ways that the Office of the Provost’s Graduate Studies team continues to design strategies and programming to enhance graduate and professional offerings. We are working to coordinate marketing and admissions, enhancing career advising, and collecting data to optimize the graduate and professional student experience. This is an area where we have great opportunities for growth, and I look forward to seeing our continued progress.

Q: How do you think individual faculty can be most effectively involved in the Plan for Pitt?

A: We are so fortunate that, throughout the development of the Plan for Pitt, faculty across all campuses were engaged in the process and shared their perspectives and wisdom very generously. With the plan now in action, I would say that one of its strengths is the flexibility it provides to support outstanding ideas and priorities, not only of our faculty but also of the Pitt community as a whole. So, I encourage faculty to keep exploring, discovering and participating in the new and continuing opportunities for collaboration and connection with, and investment in, teaching, research and community engagement. Every Pitt faculty member’s scholarship contributes to the success of the Plan for Pitt. 

Q: Where (which pillar) are you most looking forward to seeing growth for the University in the next five years?

A: That is a very interesting question, because in many ways, the three pillars of the plan — Our People, Our Programs and Our Purpose — are all inextricably linked, and my expectation is that we will see synergistic growth in every area. I look forward to what I think will be very dynamic progress.

But if I must pick one pillar right at this moment, I would choose Our People. I say this because every member of the Pitt community has always contributed to the whole — to our progress, to our culture and to our growth. By enhancing the presence of diverse perspectives and becoming ever more inclusive, our people will create, innovate and realize our University’s future accomplishments.

Do you have questions about the Plan for Pitt or suggestions for implementation? Reach out to

Melissa Schild is assistant vice chancellor for strategic planning and performance and leads the University’s strategic planning efforts.