In 2009 key stakeholders in the Illinois Institute of Technology community developed a strategic plan aptly called “Many Voices, One Vision.” Five years later the university updated that plan from which many exciting initiatives flowed, including the launch of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship and an increased emphasis on student success.
Over the last 10 months the University Steering Committee and, more recently, a University Strategic Planning Committee, comprising key staff members, academic deans, faculty, students, trustees, and alumni, have all provided input and feedback on a new strategic plan advancing the university in its next phase of growth and development. This plan faithfully adheres to Illinois Tech’s legacy and commitments, including an internationally recognized and preeminent stature in architecture, business, design, engineering, science, mathematics, technology, psychology, and law; to our Bauhaus spirit of innovation and creativity; to our vital partnership with the great global city of Chicago; to our global partnerships; to our commitment to students from all backgrounds; and to our cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and education that builds on our strengths and emphasizes both theory and practice.
We affirm and recognize that Illinois Tech graduates must manifest disciplinary excellence; maintain the highest values; practice innovation, creativity, and leadership; and lead cross-disciplinary project teams with excellence in communication. We must challenge ourselves to become an increasingly agile academic culture that collaborates across all disciplines, that emphasizes excellence and innovation, that celebrates diversity and practices inclusion, and that brings respect and dignity to our work.
Four key university-wide priorities have been identified as areas of focus over the next five years:
- Grow and develop both our undergraduate and graduate student bodies with an emphasis on student success, both during the students’ time at Illinois Tech and after graduation in their professional careers
- Fully realize our identity as the premier technology-focused university in Chicago and one of the five premier technology-focused universities in the nation
- Strengthen our finances to enable strategic investments in our faculty, facilities, and educational and research programs
- Become a leading university in the development and delivery of our educational and research programs
Each of these priorities is linked to specific SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals with measurable five-year milestones. While ambitious, these goals are achievable and necessary for Illinois Tech to fully realize its promise. This document focuses on the strategy and SMART goals, while the follow-up to the plan requires specific implementation by faculty, staff, and student participants. Implementation will require the ideas, efforts, and commitment of our full faculty and staff, as well as input and feedback from our students.
For the plan to ultimately succeed, all stakeholders of the university must come together and play an important role in its realization:
- The Board of Trustees will hold senior administration accountable for the execution of the plan and achievement of its milestones.
- The plan must be specific, achievable, and flexible. As new opportunities present themselves and roadblocks to progress occur, the Illinois Tech community must be able to rapidly execute and communicate adjustments to the plan.
- The president and provost will strategically allocate resources to ensure that staff and faculty have what is needed to achieve our strategic priorities. This will require that precious resources are only expended on those needs most central to achieving our strategic plan.
- The faculty, department chairs, deans, and academic staff and leadership will be responsible for achieving our curricular, educational, and research goals, and for developing our distinctive educational experience, which will enable and drive enrollment growth and student success.
- The faculty and staff will be responsible for strengthening and further developing our institution’s core values of innovation and excellence, for fostering diversity and encouraging inclusion, for further developing our core curriculum to enable distinctiveness, and for instilling respect and agility as core values.
- The Board of Trustees, advancement staff, university leadership, and other stakeholders will develop and drive a comprehensive campaign and plan to enhance and preserve our physical resources and infrastructure, to drive endowment growth, and to fund strategic priorities.
- The deans, with their faculty, will develop college-specific and school-specific plans to align the work of their units with the priorities and goals in this strategic plan.
- Our alumni will act as advocates for the university, working directly with our students, and providing volunteer and philanthropic support to advance our strategic priorities.
Our ambitious goals will require the collaboration and earnest participation of the entire Illinois Tech community both within their units and across unit boundaries. Each goal will be assigned a leader; the contributing units and staff needed to accomplish each goal will also be identified. These leaders and the contributing units will be assessed on their performance by a University Strategic Plan Steering Committee. The successful execution of the strategic plan will rely heavily on not only our implementation process, but also frequent and timely assessment combined with constant action and attention to the accomplishment of our SMART goals. Indeed, the implementation and assessment plans are as, if not more, important than the goals themselves. The specific metrics and timelines found in this plan will be used to guide our actions and any revisions as circumstances dictate. The Strategic Plan Assessment Team, which consists of faculty, staff, and students, will play an important role in providing an objective and timely assessment of progress on our goals and milestones. The university’s senior leadership and Board of Trustees will receive regular reports on the progress made in our board reports.
Our strategic plan, when successfully executed, will enable dramatic and sustained growth and development of our university and financial vitality. It is a plan full of ambition, optimism, and confidence. This plan belongs to everyone who supports and believes in Illinois Institute of Technology. We have a proud history and an even brighter future. Our plan will enable us to boldly own our identity as the premier technology-focused university in Chicago and one of the top technology-focused universities in the nation.