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Ten-year strategic plan released

Meghanne Downes | Friday, November 14, 2003

Those affiliated with Notre Dame will see both structural and conceptual changes over the next ten years as the University embarks on its next strategic plan to enrich the academic, student, spiritual and residential life on campus.

“Notre Dame 2010: Fulfilling the Promise” follows the recently completed, “Colloquy for the Year 2000” and is Notre Dame’s fourth strategic plan in as many decades.

“Fulfilling the Promise” emphasizes the need for Notre Dame to enrich its research and academic programs by attracting scholars, expanding undergraduate programming and strengthening graduate and doctoral programs.

The plan refers to Notre Dame’s financial base, capacity for growth and quality of its staff as indicators that this is the optimal time for the University to accomplish these goals.

Academically, the University wants to strengthen and develop its programs. The administration stresses a need for balance between access to and within the undergraduate colleges. One example of this need for balance is in the Mendoza College of Business’s acknowledgement that there is an overabundance of students enrolled in the college. Another example is the constraint in the curriculum in the School of Architecture. This balance and academic programming enrichment and expansion will be accomplished by diversifying, innovating and integrating the teaching and learning process and developing departmental programs.

Notre Dame’s commitment to developing its research base will be complemented by increasing the number of distinguished faculty and setting a goal of raising $100 million in external research funding.

Though Notre Dame is known predominantly as an undergraduate institution, the plan outlines goals to improve doctoral programs so that at least 25 percent are ranked nationally in the top quartile.

Noting that the Univserity has much ground to cover considering diversity, the plan makes a commitment to attract underrepresented students and faculty and to expand ethnic academic programs, specifically African American studies; international research institutes; and international programs in China, India and Africa.

Importance is placed on integrating academic, residential and student life to diversify and expand learning. Possibilities for accomplishing this focus on creating an environment that encourages academic expansion in residence halls.

Multiple campus and residential facilities are featured in the plan as a way to achieve this integration.

The plan emphasizes the need for Notre Dame to develop its Catholic intellectual life and become the premier center of Catholic intellectual life.

“When most of the great universities in the world are utterly secular in their missions, there seems to be a special need for an institution where religious faith seeking understanding can provide a common frame of reference for the diverse areas of learning and a sense of moral obligation in the relationship between theoretical reflection and practical application,” the report said.

This will be accomplished partly through enhancing Catholic scholarship, applying values of the Church to reflection on contemporary issues and strengthening foundational and applied ethics. Retreats, increased ministry in dorms, service and hiring faculty and staff that foster Catholic teachings are also intended to expand the Catholic foundation.

The strategic plan carries over into athletics as well as Notre Dame continues to focus on recruiting coaches and athletes who value integrity, academics and spirituality. Expansion of scholarship allocations and facilities are intended to foster this focus.

Though the University halted construction last year due to the decrease in the endowment, the plan states that structural and conceptual proposals can be accomplished through prudent fiscal polices, stewardship and capital planning.