Strategic Plan Summary

Strategic Plan Summary

Penn State Behrend aspires to be a transformative college with an enrollment of more than 5,000 students and a reputation for high standards of academic excellence, translational research, and creative implementation of its strategies.

The Strategic Plan 2014/15–2018/19 (PDF Format) | (Word Format) (available to the Penn State community with WebAccess login) reflects the college’s vision for implementation of an open-laboratory strategy that enables thinking across interdisciplinary, cultural, and geographic boundaries; swift translation of ideas into action; leveraging of funding resources; and innovation through engagement and collaboration with student, faculty, staff, business, industry, and community partners.

This five-year plan is intended to leverage Penn State Behrend’s numerous strengths while aggressively confronting the challenges faced. The college’s direction and progress are reflected in the proposed implementation of seven transformational strategies that relate to specific University-wide initiatives consistent with:

  • Penn State President Eric Barron’s major imperatives: excellence; student engagement; diversity/demographics; student career success and economic development; accessibility; and technology.
  • University Provost Nick Jones’ pillars of strategic planning: promoting health; securing our resources; transforming education; building our digital future; and valuing and exploring our cultures.
  • The college’s progress toward/responses to University-wide learning outcomes, strategic performance indicators, diversity efforts, Core Council recommendations, ethical behavior, sustainability, and budget planning.


Transformative Strategy 1:

Create distinctive, market-relevant, interdisciplinary programs to recruit and prepare enterprising students who possess practical experience as well as critical thinking and communication skills.

  • Maintain long-term growth by creating a mix of high-quality, innovative curricular options that will attract prospective students from the college’s key target markets.
  • Develop new (anticipated) programs: bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry; digital media arts and technology; environmental science; game design and development; interdisciplinary business and science; and polymer engineering and science; and master’s degrees in psychology and mechanical engineering.


Transformative Strategy 2:

Increase engaged scholarship, community partnerships, and basic and applied sponsored research, emphasizing the “open-lab” concept to create relevant student learning; to solve business, industry, and community challenges; and to extend the University’s land-grant mission.

  • Increase the college’s research impact and funding, pursuing an open-laboratory strategy that engages industry collaborators in applied research focused on digital media and arts, advanced materials and manufacturing, and data analytics and security, while advancing students’ educational experience through engaged scholarship.
  • Build on the college’s knowledge and technology base to catalyze the advanced technology transformation of the regional economic base.
  • Foster unique outreach programs building on the college’s history of engagement, reflected in such efforts as Pennsylvania Sea Grant, K-12 STEM outreach, College for Kids, and the Young People’s Chorus of Erie.


Transformative Strategy 3:

Expand recruiting of key student audiences and create diverse pathways to higher education that capture students otherwise “lost” to the University.

  • Target increases in enrollment of out-of-state, international, honors, first-choice, transfer, and female student populations, while also pursuing additional transfer and articulation agreements at the college and high school levels.
  • Implement a high school career pathway initiative featuring three technical/academic tracks–healthcare, technology, and business—and a series of interconnected, theme-based, stackable modules that include non-credit and credit coursework.


Transformative Strategy 4:

Lead a coordinated effort to retain more students from targeted populations enrolled at the college and within the university’s western campuses.

  • Partner with the University’s western campuses on retention of students within this subset of campuses, particularly, those who may be lost to the University in the 2 +2 transition.
  • Enhance strategies that retain a greater number of students in Behrend majors, increase retention of the college’s growing international student population, and identify and assist students at risk of leaving the college.


Transformative Strategy 5:

Develop learning environments and facilities that focus on core themes while integrating multiple disciplines and partnerships.

  • Continue to create a world-class, inspiring learning environment and campus infrastructure.
  • Complete strategic construction projects, including the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center and a Digital Media Arts and Technology Center, in support of program and enrollment growth.
  • Encourage the growth of thematic-based curricular opportunities to enhance learning across related courses and increase relevance of the general education curriculum.


Transformative Strategy 6:

Increase the impact of philanthropy on the support of scholarships and other strategic initiatives of the college.

  • Align community members and college advisers with a shared vision for the direction of Penn State Behrend through strategic committees that support major college initiatives.
  • Cultivate new donors with significant potential to support the college’s foremost initiatives.


Transformative Strategy 7:

Strengthen the college’s core competencies and impact on the campus community, regional economy, and University through strategic collaborations with key organizations.

  • Combine the college’s strengths with other units of the University (e.g., World Campus, research centers, and western campuses), to expand the reach and impact of the University.
  • Collaborate with regional organizations to become a transformational partner to advance the region’s economic, social, and intellectual development.