Strategic planning: Committing the future of the University

Silvia Buonocore, Contributing Writer

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Like any school, the University has an extensive plan for its future success. The University’s “Committing to the Future, Strategic Planning for a Stronger Bucknell” mission is an updated version of “The Plan for Bucknell,” which was unveiled about a decade ago. While the University has kept the original five goals, or pillars, outlined by “The Plan for Bucknell,” the current mission aims to increase the focus and specificity of these goals.

The first pillar, “Strengthen the Academic Core,” is the top priority because the University needs to maintain high levels of excellence in order to beat out ever-rising competition with other universities. In terms of academics, the University prides itself on being a liberal arts school and producing well-rounded students. Important decisions for this pillar include focusing on students as individuals, upholding high educational standards by hiring excellent faculty and staff, and promoting a positive campus culture. Through these steps, the University hopes to maximize and expand its academic core.

The second pillar, “Deepen Residential Learning,” centers around the students’ daily lives. There is said to be a positive link between learning outcomes and living environments. Therefore, the University believes in blending learning with one’s residential space. A prime example of this is the residential learning program.

“The residential learning program is an amazing part of the residential experience at Bucknell,” Kofi Poku ’20 said. “As someone who has chosen to be a part of that program for three years of my college career, I feel that it truly set the foundation for my time here.” The University hopes to expand this program to promote a positive living environment that can foster learning and growth.

The third pillar, “Enhance Diversity,” is essential, as the University believes that a variety of perspectives allows students to learn from each other and adopt respect for each other. This type of learning can occur on campus, such as in the classroom, and off campus through internships or study abroad programs.

Bucknell allowed me to study abroad in Copenhagen, where I enrolled in a comparative program on global public health,” Erin Goldberg ’19 said. “The perspectives that I gained from Danish professors and being part of a broader conversation built upon classes I have taken at Bucknell and will continue to build as I incorporate them in my senior thesis.

The fourth pillar, “Build Bridges,” exemplifies the University’s goal to fit in with the community of Lewisburg and ultimately connect to the world. This can be as simple as reaching out and connecting with alumni or volunteering during a study abroad program. The University aims to build bridges by bringing in guest speakers, visiting scholars, and other resources that will connect students to their surrounding environment and push them out of the confines of campus.

The fifth and final pillar, “Secure our Financial Future,” refers to the University’s goal to ensure that it has the funds necessary to see these goals reached. Our annual operating budget currently stands at around $280 million; that is what it currently costs to run the University. (More than $50 million of that is dedicated each year to financial aid.) Revenue from the comprehensive fee covers an estimated 71 percent of our costs, with the remaining 29 percent covered by gifts, spendable endowment income and other sources,” University President John Bravman said.

“As you might suspect, the cost of running the University increases each year,” President Bravman said. “One of the ways we cover those costs and continue to strengthen the educational experience we offer our students is to increase the comprehensive fee. With respect to this pillar, one of President Bravman’s current priorities includes constraining tuition growth.

Therefore, there is much thought going into the decisions of the University with hopes to set priorities that will grow the original five pillars to fit current needs. For more details pertaining to these goals and the future direction of them one can visit https://www.bucknell.edu/strategicplanning.

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