Creating Tulane's Future: A Distinguished University as Distinctive as New Orleans


Draft: August 2000


Executive Summary

This document - "Creating Tulane's Future: A Distinguished University as Distinctive as New Orleans" - provides a framework for focusing the university-wide strategic planning efforts undertaken by the Tulane University community since the summer of 1998. It presents an integrated set of recommendations that tie together the planning work of the past year: the institution-wide mission statement, vision statement, environmental scan, SWOT analysis and theme reports; the school and college SWOT analyses; as well as discussions held at a number of summer planning retreats and University Senate meetings.. These recommendations will provide guidance for both university-wide and school or college specific initiatives.

The document  includes specific initiatives, priorities and goals that will help us build the future we want for Tulane. How do we define this future? First, we want to be known as one of the most distinguished and respected universities anywhere. Second, we want to be a leader in setting the agenda for higher education. Third, we want to be an institution committed to serving the public. Fourth, we want to be a university community with shared aspirations, values, and goals. And finally, we want to be one of the best-led and managed universities anywhere. The unifying theme of this vision is enhanced quality. We want to be recognized as among the very best institutions in higher education in every way. In order to achieve this, we must individually and collectively strive for enhanced quality in all that we do.

Content Areas
The recommendations are organized around four major areas, each with several sub-areas. These include:

  • People
    -Compensation and rewards

  • Education and Research
    -Philosophy of Education
    -Philosophy of Research
    -Interaction between Levels and Across Schools and Colleges
    -Concentrations of Interest and Expertise

  • Community
    -Community Engagement
    -International Engagement
    -Esprit de Corps
  • Resources and Leadership
    -Technology and Knowledge Resources
    -Financial Resources
    -Leadership, Management and Governance

These areas are presented in order of their importance in ensuring the realization of our vision for Tulane's future. First, we must address our initiatives around people -- we must become a place where the very best people want to be. Until we have the ability to attract and retain excellent people, we will be unable to make significant improvements to our educational and research endeavors, to strengthen the very heart of the institution.

Then, we must address our educational and research activities. The document presents priorities and goals that will allow us to strengthen our educational programs, improve our research productivity, and increase our distinctiveness and quality through interaction between units and identification of crosscutting areas of interest and expertise.

We must also address our community relationships. The document presents priorities and goals for improving the three primary communities in which we exist: the internal community represented by our campuses, the local and regional community, and the international community. It also includes an overarching initiative on esprit de corps, with priorities and goals focused on improving pride, tradition, identity, image and participation in the university.

The final set of initiatives address resources and leadership -- technology and knowledge resources, financial resources, and leadership, management and governance issues. These are the tools we will need to build to allow for continued growth and improvement.

The Documents
The strategic plan contains three parts: this Executive Summary, the Ten Year Plan, and the Action Plan.  The Ten Year Plan describes the full set of initiatives and priorities for implementation over the time frame to 2010.   It articulates a unified institutional direction in a way that will not limit creativity at the school, college and unit levels as they devise and implement action plans to realize these goals.  The Ten Year Plan is currently under review and discussion by members of the Tulane community.

The Action Plan articulates a set of specific activities to be accomplished in the immediate future.  The items in the Action Plan were selected from among the initiatives in the Ten Year Plan for two reasons.   First, they are critical to achieving our fundamental goals of enhancing academic quality and profile and improving our financial position.  And second, they are steps that may be reasonably achieved within the bounds of our current and short-term resources.  The Action Plan includes action items for each of the initiatives outlined in the document -- People, Education and Research, Community, and Resources and Leadership -- and specifies the responsible party, key participant groups and time frame for accomplishing each item.  The Action Plan was approved by the University Senate on November 1, 1999.

Where will we be if we achieve our priorities and goals in each of these areas? First, Tulane will be firmly positioned as an AAU and Carnegie I institution. Second, we will be considered among the top 25 universities in the country on every relevant educational and research ranking. Third, our financial position will put us among the top 40 universities in the country, in any measure of financial health. And, finally, we will be well on our way to achieving our vision for Tulane's future.

Link to full report (login with Tulane ID and password to read)

Link to Action Plan (login with Tulane ID and password to read)



Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000