Stevens President Nariman Farvardin has unveiled the university’s bold and ambitious ten-year strategic plan, an agenda designed to exploit Stevens’ technology-centric capabilities to address the most challenging problems of our time.
Entitled, “The Future. Ours to Create,” the plan charts the course for an institution that will grow in size, increase in selectivity, and focus strategically in education and research domains that tackle complex, societal challenges involving technology solutions for which Stevens has distinctive capacity and expertise.
“The strategic plan reflects our shared commitment that Stevens will play a leading role in solving the most pressing and complex global challenges of the 21st century,” said Farvardin. “It envisions a bold but achievable future that increases our impact by drawing on the distinctive characteristics that comprise Stevens – our technology-centric orientation, our unparalleled access to New York City, our agility, our collaborative culture, and the very significant contributions our faculty and alumni have made across a wide range of fields over the past 140 years.”
The strategic plan was developed by a committee of campus leaders appointed by President Farvardin and included direct input from more than 500 members of the Stevens community, including faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni and friends. It identifies five key strategic priorities that will be the focus of Stevens for the next ten years: becoming a wholly student-centric university; committing to excellence in all university activities; collaborating internally and externally on education and research; placing technology at the core of all university activities; and improving the university’s prestige.
In direct alignment with these strategic priorities, some of the major goals and actions to be achieved by 2022 include:
- Growing the student population. Stevens aims to grow undergraduate enrollment to approximately 4,000 students, up from approximately 2,500 today. The undergraduate student body will exemplify a higher academic profile and be more diverse with respect to gender, ethnicity, geography and course of study. Stevens will also increase the size of its full-time graduate student population by 30 percent while enhancing selectivity and diversity.
- Revitalizing educational programs. The strategic plan calls for undergraduate curriculum changes to focus on interdisciplinary research, critical thinking, community service, K-12 STEM mentoring and international experience. Stevens also plans to expand its portfolio of academic choices, construct a new University Center, open a Digital Learning Laboratory focused on technology-enhanced learning, and double the number of off-campus and corporate graduate partnerships.
- Growing the research enterprise. Stevens will add at least three national centers, deploy policies that enable faculty to conduct and publish high quality research, introduce initiatives to better support faculty in the pursuit of entrepreneurial activities, and open an Innovation & Design Laboratory (IDL) which drives the interaction between faculty, students, and resident innovators and entrepreneurs.
- Enhancing interdisciplinary education and research. Targeted sectors include areas of the greatest societal need, including sustainable energy, healthcare and medicine, defense and security, finance and STEM education.
In what Farvardin called “a phenomenal year,” Stevens has recently achieved key milestones and made momentous progress in a number of areas, building excellent momentum for the upcoming expansion.
In 2012, Stevens welcomed the largest and most academically talented class of undergraduates in university history, including a record 32 percent women in the entering class, as well as a graduate student cohort that is 33 percent larger than last year. In addition, Stevens increased its first-year retention rate for returning sophomores to more than 94 percent, a new record for the university.
Other significant recent initiatives include: the launch of the Hanlon Financial Systems Lab, a state-of-the-art financial research and teaching facility; the upcoming President’s Distinguished Lecture Series, featuring thought leaders in science and technology; the introduction of a slate of new academic programs which will pave the way for the infusion of many talented to new students; and the hiring of Gregory Prastacos, the new dean of the Howe School of Technology Management, as well as a cadre of strong and energetic new faculty and staff members in key positions.
The university’s recent successes have earned Stevens recognition in national college rankings including Bloomberg Businessweek’s list of top universities for student return on investment (23rd overall) and an advance of 13 spots in U.S. News & World Report’s list of best national universities (75th overall).
Finally, building off a highly successful fundraising year in which Stevens raised $13.8 million in gifts and pledges, a 189 percent increase over last year, Farvardin has announced the receipt of a record-setting $10 million gift from alumnus Greg Gianforte ’83, founder of RightNow Technologies which he sold to Oracle last year for more than $1.5 billion.
The gift will fund the construction of an academic building that will enable interdisciplinary research. With the university’s expected growth, the gift will provide critical space and is the first step in the campus transformation.
“The entire Stevens community believes that the distinctive technological education Stevens provides will not only shape the future, but will have a transformative impact on our national and global society,” Farvardin said. “Through this plan, Stevens will emerge as an influential leader in education, research, and in developing solutions to the complex problems of the 21st century.”