President Barbara R. Snyder detailed dozens of faculty and staff accomplishments during her sixth State of the University Address Friday, but she made clear she didn’t simply want to celebrate gains. She expects Case Western Reserve to build on them, in a big way.
After five years that saw the university fix finances, re-engage alumni and execute its first strategic plan in nearly two decades, President Snyder called upon the campus community to consider a simple yet essential question: What’s next?
“I ask you today to reflect on where you want our university to be—and where we need to be—in five years and in 14 years, our 200th birthday,” she told the audience at Ford Auditorium.
The speech came eight days after Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III announced the launch of a new strategic planning effort to chart the university’s goals from 2013 to 2018. In her remarks, Snyder emphasized the significance of the moment: At a time when higher education faces rapid and even disruptive change, Case Western Reserve has positioned itself to turn such challenges into opportunities.
“Technology will allow us to engage students in new and meaningful ways on a global scale,” she said. “International partnerships will foster new research collaborations and academic programming.”
The president applauded the forward-thinking efforts of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, which will launch the university’s first online-degree program next semester. She also noted that other schools on campus, including the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, are exploring similar options.
In highlighting these and other accomplishments, President Snyder continued to emphasize a consistent theme: the power of partnership. When she described Case Western Reserve’s growing international programs, for example, she pointed to new collaborations with London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. When cheering a $30 million grant in advanced manufacturing, she noted that the Case School of Engineering played a leading role in the consortium of universities, nonprofit and private sector organizations that prevailed amid heated national competition. And when calling out key faculty accomplishments, she touted a team involving four departments, three schools and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center that found a method to target chemotherapy more effectively.
“These represent just a fraction of the amazing discoveries being made each and every day on our campus,” President Snyder said.
The upcoming strategic planning initiative will involve faculty, staff, students, alumni and other supporters. The process will involve several planning committees and include review of broad global trends as well as consideration of specific expectations of those on campus. As with the previous effort, the campus community will receive regular updates about the plan and will have repeated opportunities to offer their ideas and feedback.
Said President Snyder, “You will help set our course.”