Building Pathways to The Future

Yeshiva University Unveils New Strategic Plan

In collaboration with faculty, students, administrators, alumni and lay leadership, Yeshiva University recently completed a comprehensive strategic plan that will guide the institution for the next four years as it expands its role at the heart of modern Orthodoxy and as a renowned center of higher education.

Titled “Pathways to Our Future: The Strategic Plan for Yeshiva University,” the document, viewable at yu.edu/strategic-plan, includes an updated mission statement and vision for the University and clearly sets out its guiding values and principles. With a sustainable business model as its base, the plan also lists five strategic imperatives: enhancing student success and wellbeing; advancing faculty development and excellence in teaching and research; building enrollment and academic offerings through mission and market-driven programming; improving the transparency, accountability and implementation of University operations; and expanding community partnership, engagement and impact.

Each imperative is followed by a series of measurable actions YU plans to take toward each goal and a timeline in which to accomplish those actions.

“Strategic planning is an essential tool in academic affairs, facilitating our work, promoting academic values throughout the university’s endeavors, and helping us fulfill our aspirations,” said Dr. Selma Botman, provost and vice president of academic affairs at YU. “It deploys our intellectual capital in service of the university’s goal of managing its resources with prudence and wisdom.”

“The development of this plan included a grassroots effort that involved representatives from every school, faculty, students, lay leaders, deans, and professionals,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “There’s something empowering about coming to this guiding document with that kind of buy-in from all segments of the community. This is also the first time that our strategic plan will be accessible online, enabling all to view it and be a part of it.”

Every aspect of the plan, from the topics it addresses to its structure, is the product of careful attention. “Even the order of the imperatives is key,” said Rabbi Dr. Joshua Joseph, senior vice president at YU and chair of the strategic planning committee. “This is a university that will always put the success and wellbeing of our students first.”

The plan outlines several new initiatives to further that cause, including the establishment of a one-stop student services center that will house services typically handled by the registrar, student finance, academic advising, the Career Center and student housing, among others. It also includes plans to update dormitories and food services across campuses by Fall 2017 and enhance campus spaces with student artwork.

Another important component of the plan is to increase enrollment by creating mission and market-driven programs that will appeal to both YU’s traditional and non-traditional students. “The Mordecai D. and Monique C. Katz School of Graduate and Professional Studies is offering and will be rolling out additional exciting new programs in the next two to three years,” said Rabbi Joseph.

That will include eight new master’s degrees and two new graduate certificates, as well as an associate degree in management and the potential for associates programs in other fields as student need and market trends indicate. Some of these programs—such as master’s degrees in marketing and speech-language pathology—have already been launched. The plan also proposes to develop new cross-school degree opportunities.

Among many other new projects, other highlights of the strategic plan include the creation of a new Center for Teaching Innovation; a redesigned Speaker’s Bureau, University website and intranet; and the possibility of hosting a communal event to celebrate YU’s establishment and bring the University together with local neighborhood residents in a celebration of education, arts and culture, tentatively called “Washington Heights Day.”

“In a world where so much is shifting—the world of higher education, the world of Jewish education and the world in general—having a guiding operational document that reminds us of our focus and day-to-day priorities allows us to think proactively about what Yeshiva University needs to be doing next to fulfill its ongoing mission,” said President Joel. “This is a living, breathing plan, a specific yet aspirational GPS for tomorrow.”