Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 13, September 14, 2012

Process Under Way To Refresh The Rensselaer Plan

By any measure, The Rensselaer Plan has guided Rensselaer effectively as the Institute has been transformed into a leading university in the 21st century, while achieving new levels of intellectual balance and institutional diversity. Now, as the university approaches its 200th birthday in 2024, significant efforts are under way to update and refresh the plan.

According to President Shirley Ann Jackson, the fundamental framework of the plan remains as valid as it was in 2000, and it will be used as the underpinning of the updated plan.

“Over the course of the past year, there have been discussions within portfolios, within the Cabinet and Deans Council, and with the Board of Trustees about the strategic priorities that should guide our activities and efforts in the coming years,” President Jackson said. “A major part of those discussions has revolved around a set of Global Challenges that Rensselaer is uniquely positioned to address through its research prominence.

“A refresh of the Plan gives us the opportunity to position Rensselaer for its 200th anniversary in 2024. We should take stock of where we are as a major technological research university, and we should project where we should be at the time of the Institute’s 200th birthday.”

An Institute wide discussion and review process is currently under way to refresh The Rensselaer Plan. The updated document not only will guide leadership and the overall campus community in setting its priorities and organizing its activities, it will also serve as the basis for the next major capital campaign.

President Jackson has appointed a team to write the plan refresh: Provost Prabhat Hajela, Student Life Vice President Timothy Sams, Strategic Communications and External Relations Vice President William Walker, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Virginia Gregg, Vice President for Information Services and Technology and Chief Information Officer John Kolb, and Vice President for Research Jonathan Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

This group already has begun to examine the existing plan document and, while keeping the overall structure intact, revise the language. To do so, the committee is taking into account discussions and conclusions from the recent President’s Leadership retreat, as well as discussions with different portfolios, deliberations by the Board of Trustees, and campus-wide forums to be held during the fall term.

President Jackson has also appointed members of the Reassessment Leadership Committee (RealCom 2.0), which will conduct a series of open sessions for discussions among members of the university community. The following individuals make up RealCom 2.0: Prabhat Hajela, Provost (Chair); Jonathan Dordick, Vice President for Research (Vice Chair); Timothy Sams, Vice President for Student Life (Vice Chair); Evan Douglis, Dean of Architecture; David Rosowsky, Dean of Engineering; Mary Simoni, Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Thomas Begley, Dean of the Lally School of Management and Technology; Laurie Leshin, Dean of Science; Lester Gerhardt, Professor of ECSE and Chair, Faculty Senate; Isom Herron, Professor of Mathematical Sciences and President, Faculty Senate; Shekhar Garde, Professor and Head, Chemical and Biological Engineering; James Hendler, Professor and Head, Computer Science; Cynthia Collins, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering; Ed Staats, Administration; Nikki Gallant, Undergraduate Student Member; Joe Perchiacca, Graduate Student Member.

This group will organize and lead open public sessions for faculty, staff, and students, in discussions guided by questions about where Rensselaer should be at the time of its 200th anniversary.

The campus community is encouraged to participate in this process. Register in advance for one of the four scheduled sessions through The Rensselaer Plan update website at All four sessions will be held in the auditorium of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies.

The schedule for the sessions is as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 3 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 9 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 10 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 11 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

  • A session for alumni and alumnae participation has been scheduled during Reunion & Homecoming weekend as part of the annual State of the Institute presentation, and members of the campus community are encouraged to attend as well. President Jackson will moderate a panel discussion featuring members of RealCom 2.0 and audience participation. That session is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday, October 5, in the Concert Hall of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.

    “The process we have launched will play a key role in setting the direction for Rensselaer in the years to come,” said President Jackson. “I encourage active participation in these discussions, and I look forward to receiving the many creative ideas you have for addressing the Global Challenges we will face in the future.”


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    Inside Rensselaer
    Volume 6, Number 13, September 14, 2012
    ©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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