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Dear Members of the Tufts Community,

This is a decisive moment for Tufts University. We face an array of challenges in a rapidly changing higher education landscape—political, financial, organizational, technological, and demographic—that require careful consideration and thoughtful responses.

President Monaco has decided that the best way to confront those challenges is by developing a university-wide strategic plan. He has asked me to lead this initiative.

A strategic planning process is an opportunity for all of us, as a community, to rediscover Tufts University and its role in the world and then to develop a blueprint to achieve our shared goals in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and service to society.

We must ensure that Tufts remains true to the mission and values that distinguish this extraordinary institution while pursuing new ways of doing what we do best.

The strategic plan will define both an aspirational future for Tufts and the resources required to take us there. It will emerge from broad consultation across the university community. We will mine the best ideas from everyone who is invested in defining a way forward for Tufts. The strategic plan will not be an end point, but an evolving document that will undergo annual review and revision as needs and priorities shift.

After a decade of stability in the offices of the President and Provost, the university has new leaders in both roles. It is important that we all listen and learn together. This road map forward will allow President Monaco, myself, the school deans, and others to make decisions guided by a collective understanding of our goals and not what we, as individuals, think is right for Tufts.

We cannot afford to ignore existing and emerging opportunities to address such pressing issues as affordability, access, diversity, sustainability, and technological change.

We are indeed fortunate that Tufts has a unique combination of schools and areas of expertise that convey special strategic advantages. Even in the diverse and highly competitive niche of research institutions where it resides, Tufts stands out for its complementary ensemble of academic programs. A strategic plan will help guide our priority setting and capital investments to ensure that we are making the most of our enormous potential for cross-school collaborations.

At the same time, we must ground our pursuit of new directions in teaching, scholarship, research, and service in a sustainable financial model that protects the university for the long term. A strategic plan will help us achieve that balance between innovation and prudence.

The year ahead promises to be an exhilarating one. I invite all of you to join President Monaco and me in envisioning the way forward for Tufts.

David Harris
Provost and Senior Vice President

October 2012