Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The vision for our university and the goals outlined in “Strategic Directions for Seattle University 2020-2025: A Jesuit University of Distinction for a Time of Change” present in a clear and compelling manner the values, aspirations and commitments of our university. As my predecessor Father Steve said of the Strategic Directions, “They show us … what we intend our Jesuit education and formation of students to be, how we will relate to and be enriched by our wider community, how our colleagueship as educators will enable this future and what choices we need to make.”
Our Strategic Directions were developed with the voice and contributions of the entire university community and were adopted by the Board of Trustees. The beginning of my term as Seattle University’s 22nd president—the first lay person to occupy this position—and the return of the Seattle University community from this unprecedented COVID disruption, present an opportune moment to revisit and, where appropriate, to update the original Strategic Directions documents as we return to campus and turn toward achieving our goals.
As we collectively assess the lessons learned from the experience of the past year and a half—from our forced experiment in hybrid and online learning to our national reckoning with racial injustice—we read these Strategic Directions goals with changed eyes. In “Reigniting our Strategic Directions 2022-2027,” we have attempted to integrate the original vision of the Strategic Directions with the experiences we have shared since adopting the first version. Perhaps most significant among those is the articulation of the ambitious goals of the LIFT SU initiative, our action plan for racial equity and anti-racism.
Yet this revised document is just the beginning. To the goals we have identified and articulated, we now must add concrete steps to move them forward toward achievement. In the coming months, we will collectively engage in that process.
The purpose of strategic planning is to harness the collective will and wisdom of a community to help it achieve its deepest aspirations. As we continue the ongoing Strategic Directions process, I encourage you all—students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends—to participate fully and share your valuable voices and perspectives.
Eduardo M. Peñalver
Guided by and in support of our mission, Reigniting Our Strategic Directions articulates the important work Seattle University must do over the next five years to further our mission and to advance the long-term vision for the university:
Seattle University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.
To be one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world, educating with excellence at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.
Each goal in Reigniting Our Strategic Directions has been carefully enhanced in collaboration with our Seattle University community to foster mission-aligned growth and bring focus to expanding our commitment to students, faculty, staff and alumni. As we examine the university and move forward, the foundation and goals will serve as our guide on the path that allows us not only to imagine but to shape a Seattle University that is recognized for its excellence, purpose and impact.
Seattle University’s Jesuit and Catholic character is the very foundation of its mission and identity. From our commitment to educating the whole person to our dedication to inclusive excellence, it suffuses everything we do. Seattle University will discern how to continue to live out its Jesuit heritage in light of the transition to lay leadership for the first time in its 130-year history. We will explore organizational and programmatic changes to honor, sustain and enhance Seattle University’s Jesuit identity, ensuring it is represented at the highest level of the university’s leadership. Additionally, we will commit to institutional participation in Pope Francis’ Seven-Year Journey Toward Integral Ecology, through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and in community with other Catholic universities.
“We will comprehensively reimagine and revise our curriculum in order to deeply embed practices and qualities that make our education more distinctively Jesuit and empowering.”
“Seattle and the Puget Sound region offer extraordinary opportunities to the university and its students. We will leverage and build upon this location and our connections."
“We are building a campus environment that engages, enlivens and educates all students—one that values and celebrates the diverse identities that comprise our community.”
“Because diversity, equity and inclusion are integral to our Jesuit and Catholic character, our values and to the excellent education we provide, we will strengthen our institutional DEI structures to ensure progress with impact.”
“We will build the strategic, institutional and financial capacity that undergirds the success of these strategic directions.”
Moving forward, we will continue implementing the goals of our strategic plan with a renewed purpose that aligns with our mission and vision, empowering working groups to implement key initiatives while providing regular progress reports to the community. Seattle University students, faculty and staff may explore the working groups and initiatives on our internal Reigniting Our Strategic Directions website.