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* The Rensselaer Plan The Rensselaer Plan
The Rensselaer Plan
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1. The Goal

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Rensselaer pursues this goal: To achieve greater prominence in the 21st century as a top-tier world-class technological research university with global reach and global impact.

Education and research are inextricably linked in world-class universities.

Excellence in education inspired the founders of Rensselaer, and innovative pedagogy remains a core value of the Institute. To provide leading-edge education, we must be leaders in key research fields, for the creation of the new knowledge is critical to a stimulating learning environment for our students. Cutting-edge research enables us to make our students partners in discovery and open their minds to inquiry. The Institute will, therefore, assign added emphasis to research and scholarship as a key constituent of excellence in education.

A research university is a community of learners.

Research potentiates education, bringing it to full flower. To paraphrase Dr. Paul Gray, President Emeritus and Chairman Emeritus of MIT, a research university is a community of learners — some young, some older — engaged together in creating, disseminating, and applying knowledge, using existing knowledge, skills, and judgment. Research, therefore, is about learning. At the same time, education can be defined as bringing students to the point of self-sufficiency, that is, learning how to proceed when no one knows the answer. Education, therefore, is about research.

Research and education drive reputation.

As it gains greater prominence as a world-class technological research university, Rensselaer will enhance its ability to achieve several interrelated goals — attracting highly talented students and well-respected faculty and staff, expanding geographic reach, and increasing financial support from private and public sources.

Strategic focus is essential to achieving our goal.

Rensselaer will build on its distinctive strengths in interdisciplinary inquiry, interactive learning, and technological entrepreneurship to:

  • Enhance national leadership in innovative learning and teaching by providing outstanding and distinctive EDUCATION for resident undergraduates and graduate students, and for working professionals. Educational programs will incorporate interactive pedagogies, provide an engaging student experience, and create lifetime connections with Rensselaer.

  • Dramatically expand the RESEARCH ENTERPRISE, including associated graduate education, by (i) creating new Institutewide initiatives in two research arenas closely aligned with societal and global priorities: information technology and biotechnology; (ii) building on and enhancing existing core research strengths; and (iii) supporting additional critical priorities in areas that offer opportunities for research leadership.

  • Increase SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP across education, research, technology commercialization, new venture creation, and regional economic development.

  • Achieve true intellectual, geographic, gender, and ethnic DIVERSITY in our students, faculty, and staff in order to draw upon the best talent available, and to prepare our students to work and lead in a global economy.

  • Draw vitality from, and add vitality to our diverse COMMUNITIES on campus, among alumni and friends, and in the city, region, state, nation, and around the globe.

  • Redesign and invigorate ENABLING ACTIVITIES to focus Rensselaer’s people, administrative processes, information infrastructure, physical facilities, and financial resources on the realization of strategic goals.

Three fundamental markers will drive our actions:
Excellence, Leadership, and Community.


Excellence is the mantra and the metric. Leadership suggests we participate in shaping the agenda and discourse in areas related to our mission and plans. Community compels us to be one Rensselaer as we develop and maintain essential roles and partnerships within local, state, national, and international communities.

As we build toward the goal, we insist on excellence, leadership, and community in every aspect of the Institute: in each core enterprise — resident undergraduate education, research and graduate education, education for working professionals, and scientific and technological entrepreneurship; in each academic and administrative unit; and most importantly, in the people of Rensselaer — its faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends.

Finally, we will drive “new” resources — be they substantial new resources or savings from effective use of existing resources — to areas of the highest priority. Under The Rensselaer Plan, discretionary, incentive, and new resources will be directed to identified priorities in research, pedagogy, and other core activities.

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