Developing a Vision and Strategy for Rutgers’ Future

December 6, 2012

Members of the Rutgers Community:

At the beginning of the academic year, I informed you of my intention to develop—with your input—a universitywide strategy that outlines a coherent vision and a plan for moving Rutgers forward.  The time is right to begin that process. In the past month, we have achieved several major milestones:  our governing boards’ approval of Rutgers’ integration with UMDNJ, voter approval of a long-awaited bond act for higher education construction, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights’ entry into the Big Ten Conference, and the university’s admission to the prestigious Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the academic consortium of Big Ten schools. Let’s capitalize on this momentum.

This week we are launching a strategic planning process to develop clear plans and goals for our future, and in this first, information-gathering phase, we need to hear from everyone—faculty, students, staff, alumni, board members, donors, policymakers, and others with a stake in Rutgers’ success. Each of you can offer valuable perspectives on Rutgers' aspirations.  In order to capture such a wide variety of opinions and ideas, we will use multiple methods, such as surveys, a dedicated website, and group meetings. We will also use the website and other channels, such as e-mail, to keep you informed of our progress.

Other aspects of the process will include analysis of our capabilities and challenges, a review of trends in higher education, and benchmarking of our programs against the nation’s most highly respected research universities. To direct these efforts, I have assembled a small steering committee that includes the chancellors of our Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick campuses and will be arranging several coordinating councils and advisory groups to assist in this important work. 

It is my intention to have, by June, an interim report outlining a long-term vision that reflects the ambitions and aspirations of the broader Rutgers community. After an additional round of vetting and refinement, we will issue a finalized vision and strategy in the fall 2013 semester. From there, individual units will develop their own strategic plans to lock into the universitywide strategy. Equally important, we will use the strategic plan as the basis for a new facilities master plan.

Combining multiple perspectives into a coherent, universitywide solution is an enormous task that requires expertise and objectivity. To that end, we conducted a competitive search process for an external consulting partner and, after careful consideration, have chosen the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). A leading advisor in this field, BCG comes with deep experience in helping top American academic institutions adopt new strategies and create lasting change in their organizations. The firm will help us ensure that different voices and perspectives within the broader Rutgers community are heard in our planning process. Over the coming months, BCG will be reaching out to various stakeholder groups to solicit their ideas and opinions on the future of Rutgers.
I strongly encourage you to be engaged in the strategic planning effort. Together, we can create a future of unparalleled success for Rutgers.

Robert L. Barchi
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey