From Transformation to Transformative Force
For more than a decade, The Rensselaer Plan has guided the transformation of the Institute into a top-tier technological research university with global reach and global impact. Now, with its goals achieved and with collaboration across the Rensselaer community, The Plan has been refreshed to chart yet another ambitious course—for Rensselaer to accelerate its momentum as a transformative force in anticipation of the 2024 bicentennial.
The Rensselaer Plan 2024 focuses on creating a complete student experience, leading the way in innovation and education, and extending the Institute’s impact on humanity through forward-looking research initiatives.
Because it begins from a new position of strength, the refreshed Plan sets its sights ever higher, envisioning a Rensselaer that makes world-changing scientific discoveries, technological innovations, and significant contributions to commerce, the arts and culture, and public policy. The refreshed Plan also reflects a university-wide consensus on where Rensselaer should be when it marks its second century—and the actions and commitment required to achieve that objective.
Work on the refreshed Plan began during the 2011-12 academic year, with discussions about the strategic priorities that should guide Institute efforts in the coming years. From the beginning, much of the focus was on a set of global challenges that Rensselaer is uniquely positioned to address through its research prominence.
Last summer, President Jackson established the interdisciplinary Reassessment Leadership Committee (ReaLCom.2.0) to take the discussion to the entire Rensselaer community. Members included: Committee Chair Prabhat Hajela, provost; Vice Chair Jonathan Dordick, vice president for research; Vice Chair Timothy Sams, vice president for student life; Evan Douglis, dean of architecture; David Rosowsky, dean of engineering; Mary Simoni, dean of humanities, arts, and social sciences; Thomas Begley, dean, Lally School of Management and Technology; Laurie Leshin, dean of science; Lester Gerhardt, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering and chair, Faculty Senate; Isom Herron, professor of mathematical sciences and president, Faculty Senate; Shekhar Garde, professor and head, chemical and biological engineering (CBE); James Hendler, Constellation professor and head, computer science; Cynthia Collins, assistant professor, CBE; Ed Staats, manager, design and construction, administration; Nikki Gallant, undergraduate student; and Joe Perchiacca, graduate student.
In undergraduate education—expanding curricular offerings, creating the next revolution in teaching and learning, providing new opportunities for research and international experiences, launching a research-focused Honors Program, and developing an ever-more-engaging and transformative student experience through the student education-centered Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS) program.
In graduate education—extending CLASS to graduate students; increasing the resident graduate student population to 2,500, including 1,600 Ph.D. students; growing interdisciplinary, research-based graduate programs; focusing graduate education and research on global challenges; developing advanced professional programs that leverage interdisciplinary research; and creating new technology-enabled learning environments.
In research—more than doubling the size of the research enterprise, from $100 million to $250 million; launching two new research umbrellas, “Beyond the Internet: Digital Meets Reality” and “Infrastructural Resilience, Sustainability, and Stewardship”; continuing faculty expansion with a target size of 500 tenured and tenure-track faculty; and expanding cross-sector research partnerships.
In the communities of Rensselaer—increasing ethnic, gender, intellectual, and geographic diversity; strengthening connections with alumni/alumnae and increasing their involvement in advancing the Institute; fostering an innovative ecosystem to bring ideas from the classroom and laboratory to the marketplace; and seeking additional collaborations at the local, regional, national, and global levels.
In enabling change—targeting $150 million in annual philanthropic support, doubling the endowment, and maintaining a robust infrastructure to support academic, research, and administrative activities.
In charting a course for the future, The Rensselaer Plan 2024 acknowledges the transformation of the past decade and pays tribute to the proud history of the Institute. Even more important, the refreshed Plan secures the legacy of the nation’s oldest technological university. When the commitments of The Rensselaer Plan 2024 are fulfilled, Rensselaer—its students, faculty, and alumni and alumnae—will be positioned to reach beyond the Institute borders with significant and lasting global influence. Rensselaer will emerge as a transformative force, fully prepared to “change the world.”