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Provost's Introduction of Strategic Planning Process

November 6, 2009

Dear Members of the Northwestern Community:

The Highest Order of Excellence has provided a planning framework for the University over a period of 15 years. A product of a University-wide visioning committee and planning groups, this framework outlined strategies for Northwestern to strengthen its interdisciplinary culture. It also provided a vision for supporting faculty work and student learning through innovative programs and policies, and by creating a more robust institutional infrastructure.

The vision set forth by the Highest Order of Excellence looked toward the year 2010. Therefore, it is now time to begin a new University-wide conversation to establish Northwestern's ambitions and strategies for the next decade.

This summer, I met with the school deans and vice presidents to initially identify priority areas to explore for the next strategic plan. A draft framework was developed, which outlined potential workgroups and their charge. A group of senior leaders from across the University then came together in October to review and further refine this draft framework.

You can review this draft planning framework on the strategic planning website We welcome your suggestions and comments as we work toward a final framework. Please submit your feedback to by December 1.

Once the framework is finalized, workgroups comprised of faculty, staff, students, and alumni will be created to address each of the areas. White papers developed by each workgroup will be integrated to form a comprehensive University strategic plan that will help guide us toward our goals over the next ten years.

We value and welcome your continual feedback. Please check the website for updates and direct all comments to

Daniel I. Linzer