Reigniting Our Strategic Directions 2022-2027

A Jesuit University of Distinction for a Time of Change
President Peñalver stands inside the new Sinegal Center overlooking the chapel

President Peñalver introduces Reigniting Our Strategic Directions.

The Future of Seattle University

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.

With gratitude,
Eduardo M. Peñalver

biology student looks through scope

Our Mission & Vision

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.

Jesuit IHS icon

Foundation Remaining Anchored in our Jesuit and Catholic Character

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.”

Goal 1 Reimagine and Revise our Curriculum

  • As a comprehensive university in the humanistic and liberal arts tradition, we are preparing our students to respond to the great challenges facing our society, including sustainability and climate change, racial injustice and widening economic inequity, and rapid technological change and its societal and economic impacts.
  • Reimagine and revise our curriculum with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches and employing Ignatian pedagogy that responds to the changing needs of students, aligns with the mission and ensures academic quality.
  • Build our national leadership in community-engaged learning and provide opportunities to significantly advance and distinguish ourselves in professional formation and career preparation.
  • Develop and enhance the partnerships, infrastructure and funding to provide students with a range of experiential opportunities that contribute to career success.
  • Demonstrate our academic excellence nationally through faculty scholarship and creative work, honors and distinctions earned by students and by seeking to host a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

“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."

Goal 2 Strengthen Professional Formation for All

  • Ensure that Seattle, a global hub for technology, philanthropy, health care, creativity and innovation, becomes a natural extension and integrated part of the student experience.
  • Develop and enhance the partnerships and infrastructure that provide all students with a range of experiential learning and professional formation opportunities.
  • Supporting our alumni in their lives and careers, we will more fully integrate them into university activities and campus life.
  • Institutionalizing the Advance Grant initiative, Seattle University will model a new standard within higher education for faculty work and recognition.
  • We will enhance the opportunities for staff to grow professionally, focusing on internal pathways for growth and advancement.
  • Fully integrate the Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. Center for Community Engagement/Youth Initiative into the ongoing professional formation of our students, faculty and staff.
  • Become a site of civic energy and engagement in ways that inspire and contribute to a vibrant local community.

“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.”

Goal 3 Enhance the Student Experience

  • Develop activities, programs and engagement opportunities that bring joy, school pride and human connection to learning.
  • Nurture student persistence and deepen learning by more fully linking curricular and co-curricular opportunities.
  • Strengthen our advising, learning assistance, spiritual discernment, wellness and mental health services.
  • Create meaningful campus events and traditions that cultivate students’ sense of belonging and encourage a lifelong relationship with the university.
  • Build greater opportunities for leadership and service and provide intentional moments of discernment on the strengths and core truths that bring each person meaning and purpose.
  • Bring Seattle University to students wherever they are, increasing access to services, support and programs, and moving further into hybrid and online education.

“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.”

Goal 4 Promote Inclusive Excellence

  • Fully implement the LIFT SU initiative: recruitment and retention of BIPOC students, faculty and staff, bias prevention and campus climate care, narrative through art and symbols, and build capacity and invest in infrastructure.
  • Prioritize inclusive recruitment, hiring and retention practices and provide a range of programs and learning opportunities that help all faculty and staff thrive in a diverse environment.
  • Mature our shared governance to ensure our best institutional decision-making and build trust and collaborative relationships.
  • Strive to offer our distinctive and high-quality Jesuit education in ways that are financially attainable for more students and thus foster economic diversity.
  • Engage alumni in our campus community's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, creating connections and a network with and through our alumni to help our students find opportunities and success.

“We will build the strategic, institutional and financial capacity that undergirds the success of these strategic directions.”

Goal 5 Reposition For Growth

  • Serving diverse populations of students in many degree programs, we will develop the operational capacity and integration needed to manage the full complexity of a comprehensive university in the 21st century.
  • Develop multi-year enrollment, tuition and aid strategies, and financial plans that provide affordability and access for students to an excellent education while assuring the university’s financial viability.
  • Foster high performance, accountability and capacity to change, assign clear responsibility for this work, track and report on our progress toward our goals.
  • Evaluate and address the university’s capital needs, defined broadly to include physical spaces, supportive infrastructure and human capital.
  • Engage in a comprehensive review of key administrative functions to understand the current organization and seek new, more efficient and effective ways to organize and deliver these functions to the university community.

Next Steps Reigniting Our 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.