February 3, 2016

Princeton University Unveils Strategic Planning Framework

Princeton University’s Board of Trustees has adopted a strategic planning framework that includes expanding the student body, building a new residential college, reinstating a transfer admissions program, and attracting more students from low-income families, among other initiatives.

The framework was adopted after two years of deliberations. “We believe the framework provides a clear reaffirmation of Princeton’s mission and its defining characteristics, and a compelling blueprint for building on and enhancing Princeton’s capacity to achieve the highest possible standards of teaching and research,” said Kathryn A. Hall, the chair of the board. “We look forward to working with President Eisgruber and other members of the University community to achieve the goals and priorities that we have articulated.”

The mission of the framework document is to reaffirm the University’s mission as a “residential research university committed to an expansive vision of the liberal arts” that encompasses the arts and humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and engineering and the applied sciences.” Incorporated into it is a mission statement and a set of defining characteristics and aspirations; the mission statement calls upon the University to continue to advance “learning through scholarship, research, and teaching of unsurpassed quality, with an emphasis on undergraduate and doctoral education that is distinctive among the world’s great universities, and with a pervasive commitment to serve the nation and the world.”

Among the priorities are ensuring that all students on financial aid can attend without requiring loans, providing stipends to attract the best graduate students, and “stewarding and developing” buildings and grounds to preserve the University’s character and advance its educational and research mission. A plan for 125 more undergraduates per class, leading to a total of more than 500 on top of the existing 5,200, will be put into action, along with the construction of a seventh residential college.

Investment in new facilities to support programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and expansion of the computer science faculty in the fields of statistics and machine learning, are also part of the framework. It points out that “to execute its mission successfully, Princeton must have the resources needed to attract talented faculty members who are leaders in their fields and students from a broad range of backgrounds and circumstances, and enable them to develop and use their abilities fully.”

The document also says that the University must be “able to grow its financial aid budget to ensure that every student it admits can afford to attend, while it must also be able to increase research and scholarly expenditures to ensure that faculty members have access to the equipment and archives that their work requires.” The framework concludes that Princeton should be “a liberal arts university for the 21st century” and must honor its commitment “to serve the nation and the world.”