President Snyder updates campus community at State of the University address

President Barbara R. SnyderPresident Barbara R. Snyder thanked the Case Western Reserve community for enabling “so many improbable gains so quickly” during her seventh State of the University address Friday, but emphasized that continued engagement is essential if the institution is to maintain its momentum.

“You have made us what we are today,” she said. “And over the next five years you will take this university to new levels of imagination and influence.”

The president’s remarks came as the university nears completion of its next five-year strategic plan. Titled Think Beyond the Possible, the plan for 2013-2018 establishes five overarching themes:

  • Advance interdisciplinary initiatives that align our expertise with the world’s most pressing needs;
  • Enhance learning through innovations in teaching, course design, advising and research;
  • Prepare students for leadership through an unparalleled campus experience;
  • Increase opportunities to bring breakthroughs to the market and encourage entrepreneurial thinking;
  • Engage and inspire faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders, and provide opportunities for growth and recognition.

President Snyder applauded the dozens of faculty, staff, students and alumni who participated in the yearlong planning process that Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III has led. At the same time, she emphasized that many of the most important elements of the university’s progresss depended on community participation in university implementation teams as well as the school and college planning groups.

“Based on where we were as a university [in 2007] and where we are today,” Snyder said, “I am confident that you can, indeed, achieve just about anything.”

In particular, President Snyder expressed gratitude to the university community for enabling dramatic improvements in admissions (for example, 150 percent growth in applications over the past five years) and fundraising (as of Sept. 30, the university has received commitments totaling more than 90 percent of the capital campaign’s $1 billion goal—three years before the campaign’s scheduled end). She also highlighted new academic programs, such as the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences’ online degree offerings. And she emphasized the importance of collaboration, citing such achievements as a rapid malaria detection device, an interdisciplinary breakthrough involving the sections of the brain involved in empathy and analysis, and the Systems Biology and Bioinformatics degree program “involving faculty from a dozen departments across four of the university’s schools.”

“We each bring unique knowledge and expertise to this campus,” Snyder said. “When we draw on those diverse strengths, the results often exceed anything we could have done alone.”

The full text of the speech can be found on the president’s website.