By Fadi Deek | Provost | Guest Writer
With assistance from the Office of Strategic Initiatives
Note from the Editor in Chief: This Q & A was produced by NJIT’s Office of Strategic Communications address strategic planning, improvements on the NJIT campus, and goals for the future.
NJIT is nearing the end of the five-year strategic planning period known as 2020 Vision. How many of our goals have we achieved?
I’m pleased to say that we’ve already accomplished about 80% of what we set out to do in the 2020 Vision, and we’re all especially proud of the strides we’ve made in two key areas: improving the learning environment–and outcomes–for students, and expanding research opportunities for both faculty and students.
More and more of our students are graduating on time, and many of them with “milestone experiences” under their belts–immersion in research, co-ops, internships, community service and even entrepreneurial ventures. A growing number are fielding multiple job offers.
As for our faculty, their success in securing external funding at the national and state level, as well as from industry, has risen dramatically–from $63 million in 2014 to $106 million this past year.
All in all, our good news seems to be getting out. Freshman applications have nearly doubled.
What do these improvements mean for the campus community?
The goal is to create exciting opportunities for our students while they’re here and when they graduate. We’ve also earned some important recognition that strengthens our reputation in ways, we hope, that increase pride in the university and enhance the value of NJIT degrees on the job market. That we are rated number one in the country for our students’ upward economic mobility is critical to us.
Our recent designation as an R1 (top tier) research institution under the Carnegie Classification® is another key accomplishment. We’re one of just three universities in the state, with Rutgers and Princeton, to meet the criteria for “very high research activity,” and this helps us attract enterprising scholars and even more research dollars that we can all put toward solving important and interesting problems. This has already happened.
Along with Rutgers (as the lead) and Princeton, we recently received a $29 million grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program of the National Institutes of Health to speed the pace at which promising research is converted into patient care and treatment.
What’s left to do?
As we begin working in earnest on our new five-year strategic plan, NJIT 2025, we’re planning to turn even more of our attention to the daily experiences of our students and faculty and to work very hard on doing what it takes to promote theirsuccess. Our new facilities, from the Life Sciences and Engineering building, to CKB, to the WEC, to the Makerspace, have been great additions.
But we know there is much more to do. We’ve heard it from you loud and clear: you want better equipped classrooms with the sort of technology you take for granted in other areas of your life. More intimate and flexible learning spaces. More staff. And yes, new paint on the walls. That’s why we’re devoting an entire priority in the new strategic plan to resources.
What does this entail? We’re not just talking about physical improvements, but digital, fiscal and, most importantly, human resources as well.
As we embark upon NJIT 2025, what’s different about this planning round?
In a word, process. We’ve spent the last several months on a listening tour, gathering feedback from our students, faculty, staff, board of trustees and alumni in retreats, surveys, interviews and focus groups. Nearly 200 community members, divided among five committees–each focused on a specific priority–have begun the process of deliberating over these results, and will soon begin drafting recommendations.We have a better roadmap than we did the last time–it’s based on community feedback and not the administration’s directives.
How can you participate going forward?
First of all, I want to thank everyone who provided us feedback in so many forms. Students in particular–your response was tremendous! But it’s not too late to weigh in.
Everyone on campus should know someone on the five “priority” committees: prominence, students, faculty, research, and resources. Either talk to them or write to me directly. Our plan for the future should reflect the diverse perspectives that make up NJIT as an institution and as a community.