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The Global Strategic Planning Process is Underway

Dear Members of the Northwestern Community,

As Northwestern continues to make globalization a University priority, I am pleased to share with you specific efforts underway to accelerate that work. To date, more than 200 Northwestern faculty, staff, students and alumni have engaged in the strategic planning process led by Annelise Riles, executive director of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs and associate provost for global affairs, that will result in the Northwestern Global Strategic Plan.

The plan will articulate university-wide priorities and set a course for action and impact. We are not starting from scratch, but rather building on a decade of extensive work across the University, amplifying our remarkable achievements and stellar global reputation in numerous fields. We intend for this process to provide us with shared goals and a clear strategy for our next phase of growth. Our progress in the global arena aligns with our goals across all of the University’s strategic priorities. We are eager to get your continued engagement in these endeavors.

One of the top priorities of the University is to elevate Northwestern’s global academic eminence and impact. The world is facing urgent challenges – from climate change and migration to global health and national security — and universities such as ours can and must reach beyond borders to help find solutions.

Concurrently, the Buffett-led process also includes:

  • Connecting with many of Northwestern’s global stakeholders and tapping into our many excellent programs;
  • Optimizing plans for the internationalization of teaching and enhanced research at Northwestern;
  • Overseeing the University’s central international education programs and services;
  • Leading our strategy, in coordination with the Office of International Relations (IR), surrounding the development and activation of global partnerships.

Through the global strategic planning process, one of the emerging conversations focuses on fostering interdisciplinary solutions to the 17 key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We also must prepare every graduating student to lead in a complex, interconnected and rapidly changing global environment.

As part of the University’s evolving global strategy, a new governance structure is being created. We now have a Global Council with representation from across the schools and IR to provide interdisciplinary input to help define key priorities for globalization and the roles each unit can play in achieving our collective global mission. Northwestern Buffett also has created a Faculty Advisory Council that elevates the voices of our faculty in the discussion of Northwestern’s globalization.

The world needs universities to make ambitious commitments to address global problems. At Northwestern, we are excited to play our part. If you would like to engage with the global strategic planning process, I encourage you to visit the Northwestern Global Strategic Planning website here and reach out to Annelise’s team by sending questions and comments to Meghan Ozaroski (