January 20, 2023
To: The Rensselaer Community
From: Martin Schmidt '81, Ph.D., President
Re: Rensselaer Forward Update
In my November Town Hall, I outlined a process to develop our next strategic plan, Rensselaer Forward. Our plan, which will guide us for 10 years following our upcoming bicentennial in 2024, will address foundational issues across all portfolios: operational excellence and capital renewal. The plan will have significant impact on our future as one university and it is important to me that we capture ideas from the Rensselaer community and create an opportunity for collaborative engagement. This note is to inform you of next steps, and invite you to add your thoughts and ideas as we develop this plan.
As we begin the strategic planning process, you have my commitment to develop Rensselaer Forward with you through a robust and inclusive process. As a first step, we will form five working groups that will develop ideas and recommendations in each area. We are currently organizing the groups around these five themes:
- Education: This committee will embrace Rensselaer’s rich history of pedagogical innovation and advance personalized learning and 21st century competencies such as collaboration, creativity, persistence, and design thinking.
- Research: The goal is to generate an action plan that positions the Institute to advance excellence across the entire research enterprise at RPI and to provide the framework for the new research initiatives of tomorrow.
- Translation: To translate our discoveries and innovations to the world, we need to do
everything possible to help faculty, students, and alumni carry their ideas into the marketplace. RPI already plays an important role in generating new intellectual property and we have the opportunity to do even more to achieve a strong return on investment.
- Regional Engagement: We need to deliberately amplify the strengths of this region in a way that lifts all boats. We will work closely with regional partners to realize these opportunities and to advance the Capital Region as an innovation hub.
- Welcoming and Inclusive Community: We need to be one Rensselaer in spirit and practice. We may have vastly different backgrounds and lived experiences, but we cannot allow this to divide us when there is so much potential ahead as a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
Each working group will include participants from across RPI including faculty, students, and staff. We will also welcome input and feedback from outside of our campus and will facilitate engagement from alumni, parents, and representation from the regional community and industry. Working groups will begin meeting in February and will provide reports on their findings and recommendations by the end of this academic year, which I will then share with the community. Following, we will integrate these reports into a comprehensive plan with a goal to complete the Rensselaer Forward plan by December 2023.
Your input throughout the process is very important to us and will go a long way to help us realize our vision. I encourage you to share your ideas for Rensselaer Forward through RPI’s new Idea Bank. It features a section for each area of focus. When you explore the bank, you will be able to view ideas and like or comment on those that have been shared by others in our community. The ideas submitted to the bank will be provided to the working groups to aid in their work. I would like to thank the team under the Vice President for Information Services and Technology and Chief Information Officer for their work on this new tool.
Each day, Lyn and I continue to be inspired by our students, faculty, and staff, and we see the far-reaching impact of the work that goes on at RPI. Our rich legacy of educating future leaders and innovators has brought us to where are today. We have a vibrant future ahead, and now is the time for us to come together to define our next decade. I look forward to working with you as we carry Rensselaer Forward into its third century.